Yesterday, I had the first full day off since Robin left. Upon waking I knew I was going to be dealing with soul-crushing boredom at some point in the day. I didn't have much money to my name (payday isn't until tomorrow) and I knew the rest of my friends were busy with their respective responsibilities of work and studying and what not. I had been awake since 7am, and I hit the wall at about noon. I had already crammed enough productivity into the day for me to be content with.
About noon, I was staring at the ceiling, smoking a cigarette. Not even thinking about much, just sort of trying to inspire myself to do something. I had already drank most of a pot of coffee, blogged for the day, and read my new AVOW book. Inspiration was not coming easy. A few nights before, Robin and I had had a couple friends over and, as you have probably guessed by now, stayed up late drinking and listening to music and talking. My friend Mike had mentioned Small Brown Bike to me and told me they were great. I had never really gotten into them for one reason or another. He played a song for me and, in my drunken stupor, it really did sound like a more technical HWM. "Yeah, man. This is GOOD", I so eloquently said. The topics and music shifted after that and I thought nothing of it.
So, while staring at the ceiling, I was reminded of this night for one reason or another and decided to give the band a good listen. I streamed their newest album (they had been broken up since 2003, and their new album "Fell & Found" came out last year) and liked what I heard. I then acquired the rest of their stuff. I remember hearing their song "Sleeping Weather" a while back, and I dug it enough, so I listenend to the album that it came from called "Dead Reckoning".
And, I swear to you, when the opening riff of "Like A Future With No Friend" tore through my speakers, everything became brighter, clearer. I had got my second wind. I put some more coffee on and picked up all the trash that had accumulated around our apartment, cleaned up the counters. I took the four bags of trash out and, again, it was gorgeous weather. It had just got done raining, and everything was calm and grey. Spring was in the air. I breathed in deep my first breath of fresh air since the day before. It was an instantaneous head-rush and I felt slightly drunk.
After throwing the trash in the huge bins outside, I returned to my apartment and promptly took off my pants and shoes. Sitting around in my long-johns with a flannel on is how I operate most of the time. I opened all the windows in the apartment and let the afternoon swirl in. I lit up a cigarette and cranked up the speakers. The music had such a beautiful ferocity that I was completely overcome with it. The songs pulsed and roiled, like a ship lost at sea in a storm. The captain screams at the sky daring it, taunting it to rain down harder. The album continuously swelled to white-knuckle peaks and came crashing down in a hoarse-throated glory.
I felt lost in the music, like the afformentioned captain wrecked at sea. I was consumed by the songs and sat there chain-smoking and drinking coffee. Taking it all in. I was happy and hungry, breathing deep the smell of the city and the sleeping weather. I could have been sleeping but, because I wasn't, it felt like time was suspended for the duration of the album. Even the smoke seemed to linger until it was over. The songs continued roaring.
Safe to say, I was completely sold on the band in those moments. How could have I gone so many years always seeing and hearing their name, without ever giving them a fair chance? Had a fair chance been given, I might have wound up not liking them and forever writing them off. But, since a good listen was never given, hearing their music yesterday afternoon was nothing but a new experience for me. This happened for a reason. I've unknowingly been waiting for a band like this to come along for quite a while now.
After that timeless experience with "Dead Reckoning", I did revert back to boredom, but it was under different circumstances. I was happy to be doing nothing, walking circles around my apartment and trying not to miss Robin too much. I listened to more of their music and played with the rats. I was content in the fact I had zero obligations.
Later that night, Robin began texting me and we kept it going for quite a while. She was drinking with her best friend in Peoria, Illinois and was pretty drunk. I had been a couple of beers in and we sat texting and drinking while Small Brown Bike's "Our Own Wars" blared through my speakers. The only thing keeping me company was the clicking of beer cans on the coffee table and the burn of paper and tobacco. She may not have been around last night, but being able to stay in contact with her kept a smile on my face. I was wrapped in a blanket, missing her like hell. "Our Own Wars" kept me warm for the night.