For a while now I’ve wanted to write more personal writing pieces, but never quite gotten there. Every blog I’ve tried to make has either felt forced, or neglected. Monthly is my best answer to that problem. In an effort to weed out over-posting for the sake of content creation, and posting one thing every 5 months and looking like a person who’s neglected a website, I’ve created a blog that this year will get exactly 12 entries. One for each month. I don’t really know exactly what it’s going to be about, except that I’ll probably be in it.
January might be my favorite month. I know in a couple months once the cherry blossoms start showing their faces, entrenching Portland with what I can only describe as “the smell of spring”, I might sing a different tune, but pound for pound January might be my favorite. I think maybe a couple years back I would’ve thrown August out there as a hot contender, but the winter grows on you. On one side you have the holidays. Cheer, franticism, the one two punch that is Thanksgiving and XMAS. And on the other side there’s February/March; arguably the bleakest months in PDX’s calendar. It’s cruel, but I do shoot a sideways glance at people who move here is summer, experience some of winter and proclaim, “Oh hey! This isn’t so bad”, only to get to March and discover that seasonal affective disorder isn’t just a rainy fall. It’s an onslaught of grey persisting so far into the early summer, that by the end half of the NW populous is personifying the sky into some crotchety old man who knows the sun is shining, but continues to keep the blinds/clouds shut out of spite. In between that though, that’s the sweet spot. The metaphorical and literal heart of winter. Don’t get me wrong, were definitely in the iris of this storm, and I can see a column of grey surrounding us, but for right now I feel fine embracing the cold winter days where I have to wear 3 coats, but whatever, because it’s sunny. Or those rain drenched days I’m not even sure I like that much, but that seem to make sense in the winter months.
The first part of the month was busy as it always is. My birthday is 1/7, so even after NYE clamor dies down, there’s always a subtle excitement that continues in my head, and the heads of Nicolas Cage, Jeremy Renner, and Blue Ivy Carter who were also born on January 7th; 1964, 1971, 2012, respectively. It’s a little sad, actually. Last year when I turned 25 I had what I would consider my first legitimate adult birthday. I went to work for 12 hours, (the second week of the year is the second busiest week all year at my job), I went home, ate some ravioli, and about halfway through cooking it realized that this was going to be a quiet night, which it was. 24 I got drunk as all hell because my birthday was on a Saturday in 2012 and karaoke is also a thing that exists. But the 7th was on a Monday in 2013, and the world, including the 1000 or so students/customers I worked with that day were all business. It was somber, but it made sense. I suppose this is just a long way of saying that this year I treated myself, which means I put on a tie and took the bus to work as a gift to myself. I’ve come to the conclusion that birthday’s are makings of your own stability and what you put into them, so if that means that during my work shift where I continually ask people to sign and date their name I casually announce, “Oh you’d like to know the date? Why it’s the 7th: A Fantastic Day”, and they ask “Why is that?”, then I’m going to announce it’s because 26 years ago, 1000 miles from here I became a living breathing thing. I think 3 people out of a 100 asked why, but they were supportive once they found out.
I went to Seattle around the end of the month. I didn’t anticipate that, but over the holidays when I was visiting I managed to make it out to a couple of mics and a local producer saw/remembered me and asked if I could be on a show in late January. Fellow comedy person/co-worker/2nd podcast guest, Brian Nickerson accompanied me on that trip. That was fantastic. If there’s one thing I’m learning, it’s that comedy, along with almost anything is best when accompanied by solid company. I haven’t travelled much, but when I have and when I’ve been alone I’ve felt the weight of solitude. I think in the past couple year I’ve certainly come to terms with my solitude and can appreciate being by myself, but there’s always been friends and acquaintances in my peripheral. When you’re out and about in a completely foreign city? That, I think, is true alone-ness. Headlining comedians playing cities with good clubs, who have a fan base? Technically, they are living the dream. And yet, time after time, podcast after podcast, you hear of a crushing loneliness that exists when it’s just you in a city where you have no friends that you really know. All the way out in Bloomington, IN, or Austin, TX, or whatever. I totally get bringing a friend, and it’s also fortunate that Brian is super funny and an agreeable traveller.
Seattle is simply a different scene than the place I left nearly 8 years ago for college. Seattle, or more specifically Shoreline, WA, used to be “the past”. Decay. Whatever you want to call it. I had my scruples, and once I discovered that my friends from high school weren’t as invested as I was to continue relationships we had, those scruples grew into full on resentment. This last year especially though, I’ve discovered that cities are essentially people, and people change a grow. I’ve met so many cool comics and bookers and just great people up there that Seattle’s transformed into a kind of comedy summer cottage. I don’t go consistently enough to call myself a comic working out of there, but every once a while I make a point of heading up the I-5 corridor just make sure the metaphorical grass is cut, and the rat traps tended to. I’m grounded enough to know that even though my metaphors are going to be ‘nice’, they’re still fixer-uppers. It was a good time and I hope to do it again.