07 June 2012

A Weekend Of Extraordinary Circumstance

Robin and I have been following the beat to a different drum over the last couple of weeks. Weariness from work and overall frustration from financial circumstances have become just as commonplace as anything else. It's something we take in stride as we embrace infinite moments we've not only created for ourselves but found amongst beer-soaked days and nights.

Currently, it's as if we are residing on the underbelly of simple living. Slightly scummy habits with no expectations from anyone except each other, we thrive where others may find boredom. Coughing on the way to work, always craving one more hour of sleep with each other. The soundtrack is that of tongue-in-cheek bands fueled by too much booze and the darker side of life. These songs segue nicely into early afternoons fueled by another pot of coffee, smokey sunlight and blankets piled upon the futon. The biggest decisions of the day are what we want to eat for dinner and what horror movies we will make ourselves stay awake for. It's become a steady diet of vices, music and finding happiness in the little things.

Those who try and create perfect moments constantly are living a fruitless life. Granted, there is a chance often enough to make your own happen, but striving always to make them is silly. The last couple weeks have not only given us certain opportunities to create our own moments out of nothing, but the passage of time and circumstance has fallen into place so perfectly that it's as if the universe was giving us a high-five.

Three years ago, me and some of my boys took a road-trip to Chicago for the Lawrence Arms 10th anniversary show at The Metro. It's something that has been written about time and time again since. It was a two-hour set, 31 songs picked by the fans. Michull, Meadows, Jacobo, Shamoo and myself were all sorts of Chicago-drunk and the entire show felt like a dream by the time it was over. It was literally the best show I have ever seen. Robin was there, too, with a group of friends. This was only a couple of months before we became an official couple. We smoked a cigarette together after the show, still reeling from the show and the booze leaving our system.

It was said that the show was going to be filmed for a commemorative DVD documenting the entire show. Fans waiting in line were interviewed and everyone at the show knew it would go down in history on a live DVD. A year later, two years later and the DVD was still nonexistent. Safe to say, most fans lost hope of it ever seeing the light of day. And then, only a few months ago, it was officially announced that the DVD was done and preorders were being taken. It seemed too good to be true. The best part was that it actually wasn't.

A couple of weeks ago, the DVD arrived in the mail. Robin and I could do nothing but just stare at it while holding it in our hands. We planned on having a party to watch the DVD, get hammered and invite all our friends over. Plans were made quickly and a night was set up. Friends we hadn't seen in a while were able to come over, eat some food and have a few drinks. Lairen, although she hadn't been at the show, sat there watching with a smile on her face. She knew the story, she knew the importance of this show. Those of us that were there gave our own commentary as the band played. Some memories were pleasantly remembered, and others were happily lost in the booze and the passage of time.

As the DVD continued to play, our voices got a little louder and the booze fueled silly conversations and arguments. Cigarette smoke hung in the air and cans of beer were cracked continuously. After what only seemed like minutes, the night became late and some of the Camaraderie had to retire for the evening. Drunken hugs were given and we continued watching the DVD with hungry eyes. We kept up the pace the music had set for us and drank late into the night. We awoke the next morning, the night before a little hazy.

Upon waking, Robin and I were officially on our weekend after both of us logged seven days in a row at work. We decided it best to go on a bender, which is exactly what we did. After a hangover breakfast of poached eggs and toasted, we began making beer cocktails. Drinks consisting of half juice and half beer eventually became whole tallboys with a splash of juice. As we wiled away the afternoon, we became decently buzzed. We were getting into prime form for the show that evening. Tim Barry was playing at the Hawthorne Lounge with Kevin Seconds. It was a show we were not going to stay sober for.

Talk to any of us, and we can tell you the importance of Tim Barry's music. It's one part campfire anthems, one part late, drunken nights and one part call-to-arms. It had been almost four years since I had seen him last play. Robin had never had the opportunity to see him. By the time Lairen showed up with Shamoo and Jared, Robin and I were slightly drunk. We asked Jared if he was going to the show and he responded simply that he didn't have the money to go, but he was down to hang out for a while. In our mental state, Robin and I found this appalling. "You're fucking going", we both said. "You work tomorrow?," I asked. "No, dude. I don't have shit to do tomorrow," he bluntly responded. "Fine. You're going, we're buying your ticket right now," Robin chimed in.

We weren't not going to allow Jared to miss this show. Michull, Jared and I are like the pioneers of Tim Barry's music. You can't help but think of the three of us when hearing "The Church Of Level Track" or "Avoiding Catatonic Surrender". Call me cocky, but it's true. This show would mark the first time ever that all of the boys would get to see Tim Barry play live. It's been several years in the making. After buying his ticket, Jared cracked a beer with big, stupid smile on his face. Lairen was our designated driver and getting silly-drunk was the plan for the other four of us.

We left for the show, snagged some crappy food at a Fred Meyer nearby the venue and made our way into the Hawthorne. We attempted to enter the show only to find out that our will-call tickets were not on the list. Turns out, we went to the wrong side of the venue. Unknowingly, we tried getting into a bullshit nu-metal show playing in the Theater. We were relieved to find that we went to the wrong door guy. We got into the Lounge without incident and Michull and Maggie met us there. We began pounding beers and shit-talking the opening act. The smoking patio entrance was like a revolving door for the whole lot of us. It was the ragtag group of us scattered between the warm, wooden walls of the venue and the cold, rainy streets of Portland. Upon hearing Kevin Seconds' trademark voice, Robin and I stubbed out our cigarettes and bolted in the door.

I've been listening to 7 Seconds longer than most bands, and I had never had the opportunity to see their front-man play solo. I was beyond excited. His set was short and sweet, perfect in its simplicity. We proudly stood at the front of the crowd, toasting beers to him after every song. Worn out as he was from his stint at Punk Rock Bowling, you could tell how happy he was to be playing for a small group of people that actually gave a shit. Seeing the songs played live breathed new life into his music. I wanted to give him a hug and tell him thank you.

We anxiously awaited Tim Barry's set, smoking and drinking as fast as we could. As soon as we heard his opening chords, we all headed for the entrance. He began his set playing in the middle of the crowd. That simple act showed the whole crowd that he was on our level, not some rockstar up on a pedestal. His continuous humility over the years is still surprising to me. To be honest, that's one of the most critical pieces of his music. He's no bullshit, no image. I bet if you asked him, he would tell you that he's just a guy playing a guitar. In doing so, however, he makes every other guy playing every other guitar look kind of stupid. He's a heartfelt, down-to-earth badass any way you look at it.

The Camaraderie was huddled together, belting out the songs and raising our beers high into the air. About halfway through his set, he played "This November". That song means the fucking world to me. It's my favorite for a reason. I screamed the entire song at the top of my lungs, feeling the booze course through me. Then, something wonderful happened. He played "The Church Of Level Track". THE campfire anthem for me and the boys. We grabbed for each other and, arm in arm, belted out the entire song. The smiles on our face were so broad it hurt. And then, shortly thereafter, he played "Avoiding Catatonic Surrender". This brought the entire Camaraderie into each others' arms. Exasperated from singing so loudly, I felt woozy after the songs. All of us were a little unsteady on our feet.

After his set, everything was slightly hazy. Lairen drove the drunken lot of us back to our side of town and we all feasted on crappy food at Shari's. There's something to be said about eating breakfast with most of your best friends at one a.m..

The next morning, hungover yet again, Robin and I drove to Mike and Heather's. We were all going into the Southeast for brunch. Michull and Maggie arrived, pleasantly surprising us. After waiting a ridiculous amount of time for our food and drinks, we finally hit our stride. We ate great food and drank bloody marys and mimosas. We spent a few hours sitting at a picnic table, under an umbrella and out of the rain while we talked and drank. It was a helluva way to spend a Saturday.

AFterwards, Robin and I headed back home and wiled away the afternoon on the futon. I was reeling from the last couple of days and I wanted some sleep. I passed out for a while and Robin played Sonic 2 (and didn't beat it). The cloudy skies showed through our window and the rain fell gently. Wrapped in blankets and with Robin by my side, the outside world ceased to exist. I had everything I wanted in that moment. My liver and lungs were a bit wrecked from the last few days and the happy memories of spending so much quality time with those closest to me lulled me into a peaceful nap.


  1. Not long enough, actually!

  2. I think my favorite part is that you insist on making a point of Robin not beating Sonic.

  3. Fuck the both of you (Dean and Lairen).


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