Sunday, February 3, 2013

Self Observational Sunday: Invasion of the Nostalgic Nostalgia

Sometimes I feel like I’m cursed to live in the past.

This isn’t to say that I never live the moment because I must certainly do; but I find myself constantly be overwhelmed by memories of high school, college and even a few years ago after college. These attacks come from random triggers when I least expect it. However in recent weeks there were two MAJOR ones.

I have anxiety issues. This is probably NOT shocking to anyone. I remember last summer my family rented a beach house in Ocean City, Maryland. No one but myself was able to go down for the first day so I spent the night alone down there reading Cider House Rules by John Irving and watching Simpsons episodes. It was definitely eerie being in a unknown house completely alone once it got dark out. I went upstairs to sleep and just as I was beginning to fall asleep (around midnight) the window slammed shut. I immediately leaped from my bed screaming and ran to the window. While I didn’t see anyone out there (because it wasn’t the fucking Twilight Zone) I was convinced someone had broken in and was going to kill me, so I did the only logical thing. Locked the bedroom door and stayed up watching movies until sunrise when I finally felt comfortable going to sleep again. The point of this story is that when I get a thought in my brain I can’t stop over thinking it and keeps me up all night.

In order to fight against this irrational anxiety and paranoia I’ve started going to bed listening to DVD commentary tracks. I find that forcing my brain to focus on something else (like a director discussing camera shots) offers enough distraction to allow me to fall asleep before my brain can create imaginary fears for me to battle. I’ve slowly been working my way through my DVD collection and am currently on the letter B (I own a lot of DVDs).

The movie I was listening to the commentary track of was Bloodsucking Freaks. As strange as this sounds but this film was one of the defining movies of my college years. It was in college that I became a Troma fan. I’d always enjoyed their films. I had seen Toxic Avenger 1-3 and that summer I had purchased Cannibal The Musical! after hearing praises for it over the years. But it was in college that I got a Netflix account and started receiving films like Tromeo & Juliet, Terror Firmer and Bloodsucking Freaks in my mailbox. Every time a film arrived a group of us would sit and watch the movie. Bloodsucking Freaks became this weird, disturbing film that we’d take to parties to watch people struggle to watch it. Most of these screenings took place in my grandmother’s basement. I loved that basement, it was the ultimate hangout spot. The only downside to it was that there wasn’t a door directly into the basement so people would have to come in through the garage.

I didn’t get much sleep that night. Not because of anxiety but because I was too busy being sucked into Eli Roth’s hilarious deadpan delivery in his outrageous commentary track. It made me miss the days in the basement, playing Super Soccer Shoot-out, staying up late watching movies, playing Risk. It was a time and an activity and a place that could only exist at the age of 18-22. It makes me realize I’m not satisfied.

You see, I complain that I haven’t changed much since I was 18. That I feel like the rest of the world as gotten married, gotten real jobs, had kids, own homes, etc and that I’m still working a dead end job and single. Yet when I actually have a real job or am in a sort of relationship I panic. I fear that the beautiful way of life I cherish will be destroyed by these things and I retreat. The dream life for me would be finding a job that makes me feel young and allows me to still waste time with my friends (which gets harder and harder with them actually growing up). This may seem like an impossible goal… but last Saturday I saw how impossible it wasn’t.

When I was in college I used to throw various concerts in the area under the promotion name Chords for a Cure. After college it sorta just stopped due to the busy-ness of the Real World. However the passion for it never went away. I missed throwing shows and befriending bands. I eventually decided it was time to bring it back and in December we threw our first show. It was a fun show with a decent turn out (about 40ish kids)… but last week we threw our 2nd show and it was like jumping in a time machine.

The nostalgia effect was mostly brought on by the fact that 3 of the bands playing were composed of members for 4 bands I used to book. Beyond that former members of their old bands all came out to the show to support them and Chords. Afterwards a group of 40 of us descended upon the local diner and reminisced on the old days. Something I noticed was that all these guys (for the most part) had given up the dream of being a rockstar on tour. Their band was a fun thing to do locally and nothing more. Why? Because they found jobs they loved. Be it teaching English, being a music teacher or a really anything they have interest in. Playing in a band is just a fun bonus.

I need to make the things I love a fun bonus to a great life; not just a reason to get through the week. This isn't just about me and my life... this is for everyone.

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