ManicRobThrill

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Anyone keeping track of time?

No, I'm not being funny - this isn't a time for humor.  I know it's Wednesday, April 1st.  I've been practicing the shelter-in-place/safe distance rule since March 13th, when I came home from the office and began working at home.  I can live with being isolated - it isn't a sacrifice; it's necessary.  As the instructions say, only go out for fresh air or necessities:  check.  I can live with - and actually savor - the peace and quiet.  I'm trying to make the most out of it.

But no, I'm definitely not happy nor reveling; after five people were let go yesterday, my company also reduced our salaries by 25% through June and that is not a good thing.  Yes, I'm glad I still have a job but no, it makes things very difficult.  Am I smart enough to sit down and map out what I need to do to get through these next three months - yes.  I can't allow myself to be swallowed by negative thoughts and irrational fears.  Planning is the wisest thing I can do.  I'm saving $300-plus dollars over the next three months by not buying a subway MetroCard.  That's money saved right there.  Not having to go out to get lunch at work is $100 a week saved.  And so on.  I know what I have to do to get through this.

My point?  We all have something we need to do to keep on pushing forward and get through the pandemic.  I know I will.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Spinning out of control

The city (and the world) is in a state of turmoil and panic; fear has spread rampantly to go along with this virus/flu that's been making the rounds.  I'm now on "work from home" orders as so many other people are and it's discombobulating and off-putting.  I have been diligent and common sense driven - and even though "social distance" (I hate these fucking buzzwords) is helpful, it's also wise to do the basics all the time - get a yearly flu shot; wash your hands; get ample rest; take vitamins, etc. 

This weekend was beautiful, weather-wise; a glimpse of the spring that is due to arrive by the end of this week.  As of this morning, schools are shut in New York City until mid-April (by orders of the governor, not the criminally-inept mayor - let's be clear about this); bars and restaurants are to close for seating tonight and hopefully we will see an overall lowering to the curve of this "pandemic".  Having gone out Saturday certainly showed me how people can act in a "proper" fashion during such an upending crisis.  Traffic was light - but it was already noon when we were driving; Target was not packed; toilet paper was available with the very wise "one package per customer, please" - cleaning products and all the usual groceries we buy were purchased - simply because we needed to replenish our standard supply.  We went out for lunch at Chili's and the restaurant was busy - not packed - and people were glad to be in a more social setting; a lot of smiles, if anything.  Even the brief run to Stop & Shop wasn't what I expected -  again, we were able to get exactly what we needed - all of what is regularly bought by us - and there weren't outrageous lines or fights, etc.  Maybe we we lucky; maybe we timed it right - I don't know.

What I do know is:  this is strange, but it's not something we can't get through on the whole.  9/11 was worse because it was unexpected and we were thrown into something we weren't previously used to.  This is an illness; we've been given warning and instructions on - if anything - how to prevent it and, more importantly, how collectively, we can bring the curve down.  Patience and acclimating one's self to these new circumstances is paramount - and if people do things the "right way" and follow simple directions, I think this could end faster and without greater damage.

I remain optimistic.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Empty February

It's probably not a secret that I don't like February.  I never have; it's the darkest, bleakest, most grating month of the winter - considering it's the shortest month of the year, it's slightly ironic. But I don't like it.  And I've grown to detest it even more since 2015, when I received the news of my ex-girlfriend's death.  Now I just hate it because I'm reminded of it.  Adding insult to injury, I had forgotten that the last time she and I ever spoke to one another was on Valentine's Day, 1994.  

It was a wet, grey day - we had been going through a protracted split since Christmas '93, but there were moments in the last weeks of January that hinted of a slow/possible reconciliation.  Yet, I knew it couldn't be - otherwise, we'd only continue hurting one another and being unhappy - not just together, but with ourselves. So when we had that two-hour "what are you doing?" conversation, I knew there had to be a cap on it.  I'd sent her a dozen roses, which I'd never done, just to make myself feel better, since it was the first time in 8 years that I was alone on Valentine's Day.  And when it was time to go, I said something to her that I'd never said before. Before we hung up the phone, I said "goodbye, Susan - take care of yourself." And I knew.

Now it's five years that she's gone and I wish she was still here, enjoying her life.  I didn't know her at all, anymore - but I just wish she was still here.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Everything new is old again...

So here we are at the start of a new decade; I'm happy to have rung in the new year on a very quiet, calm and relaxed note.  I don't go to parties; I don't like to go out on New Year's Eve - I don't drink, so there's no hangover and it feels good to start things off with a very clear head.  After I finish this, I'm on my way to the gym - not because it's any kind of "resolution" (I do not subscribe to those), but because it's a "free" day (I'll do the same tomorrow and maybe through the weekend as well), since I don't go back to work until Monday.  I want to be able to say that this time away from the office was well-spent, which it has been, all in all.  If I pick up a guitar within these next two days, I will have accomplished all that I set out to do within this time off.  It was a low bar set, granted, but I wanted to do things that made sense, didn't waste time and achieved certain goals.

So here I am - five days from 55; I've noticed for the first time, my hair is starting to thin a little...  oh well.  Can't do anything about it.  It's nature and the passing of the years.

I can only hope that this year is a lot less fraught with tension, anger and suspicion.  I'm certainly in the right mindset, but that doesn't account for everyone else.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Another year; another milestone...

It's now past the 15 year mark since I started doing this blog; amazing.  I know it isn't what it was, but it's still a comforting friend that I like to spend time with when I can.  At the same time, I'm glad that life and I, as an individual, have progressed and grown/matured over those 15 years - with the advent, rise and subsequent overtaking of social media, I'm afraid the same can't be said for so many people who are older and (I thought) far wiser than I. I tend now to simply stay away for the fact that things like Facebook, etc. don't enhance or bring pleasure to my life.  If I'm on Facebook, it's to post my writing or the podcast link, etc.  No more engagement with anyone - not even about music.

But here I am, on a Friday December morning, on the first day of my break from work.  It's cold but sunny - how it ought to be.  Coffee should be a quick rescue and then it's time to get myself into Manhattan to stick with December tradition (started in 2010) - haircut and then dinner at Caffe Reggio with my favorite person in the world.

Like this blog beginning in '04, a tradition.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Giving thanks (as always)

It's that time; tomorrow is that day - my one and only favorite holiday; the one I keep near and dear and hold sacred.  There's no agenda; no gifts, etc. - just the joy of quiet; spending it with people you love and care about.  A good meal; warm conversation and a chance to actually reflect on things.  Thanksgiving is about mental/spiritual cataloguing for me.

This year has been one of many ups-and-downs for some of my friends; it's been fraught with frustration, uncertainty and sadness.  For some, it seems the clouds are lifting; for others, the road is getting a little clearer, but they haven't reached their destination.  For them, I wish calm, clarity, peace and ultimately, joy on their way.  I know they'll get to where they need to be - I have faith in them, but mostly, a lot of love and respect.

I'm thankful for everything.  And everyone who is part of my life and my heart.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Time momentarily stood still...

I had the opportunity a few months ago to get together with some old friends.  These were the people I spent five-plus years with in the Atlantic Records art department.  Several weren't there and I wish they were; it would have made the night complete - I acutely felt their absences.  Hopefully, there will be more of these gatherings in the not-distant future; the last time I was with some of the group, it was 2010.  I couldn't join them in 2016, as I was away that week.  But it made me stop and think about several things:  even though it's eighteen years since we left (and 23, since I first came aboard), I love these people just as much now as I did then; I certainly appreciate them even more than I did when we were all together - that department was as much of a "family" as you could want/hope for.  And we left that job together; collectively, as a family.

What struck me so hard was that some of us hadn't seen one another in over 20 years and yet, somehow, we managed to pick up where we'd left off; others, we just fell right back into our old conversational patterns.  An amazing thing to me, as I'm usually inclined to think there may be some discomfort or self-consciousness - after all, with so many years having passed, what are we going to talk about?  I left there at 36; I'm 54 now - certainly, we're not the same people we were then?  No, we aren't - and none of us are in the "professional" music business any longer.  But we're together in the here and now and it's easy to pick up where we'd left off because we're older, calmer, care enough to share where our lives have taken us and at the core, there's still a endless amount of warmth and affection to bring us back to where we belonged.

I was thinking about this is as I'd started writing this piece the day after, but somehow forgot to complete it.  As I was scrolling through my Facebook profile page, I came across the photos of that night and realized I hadn't given this wonderful moment its due.  So with apologies and a lot of love, I'm doing so now.  Certainly, it's another one of those moments in life when you can think about a particular moment and the emotions can be wonderfully overwhelming.