Last night at band practice, I was attempting to be helpful in disassembling the equipment. See, we had to break down because there was a funeral this morning, and we're a little, er, short staffed this weekend with 2 singers at work camp* this week. We had to reassemble everything this afternoon for the church service tonight.
(*Extra special thanks to everyone who, in the last week, upon hearing that Luke was at "work camp," assumed that Craig and I shipped him off on a cattle train to do manual, brainless labor, that he's starving to death, under an oppressive dictatorship at the helm of a heartless psychopath in favor of the Aryan nation. Truth be told? He's on a church mission trip, assisting an impoverished community, Centralia IL, where he learned to paint houses, shared God's word, built character, made new friendships, sounded really happy on the phone yesterday and will be joyfully re-united with his Mom AND his electronics tomorrow.* Below: he's finished working, attended a wedding this morning, and will spend the rest of the weekend touring St. Louis. He's on the far right in a striped poloesque shirt. See, still alive!)
I received further evidence of my sprout's well-being late this afternoon, via a picture an adult on his trip texted me. While distorted, and I questioned if my son had a black eye at first, he appears to be smiling and no, he didn't get those big, green eyes from Craig. They're pure Mom. (You're welcome, Luke.)
I wasn't prepared for how much I'd miss Luke this week. (Ugh, especially when I sleepwalked into my mom's room at 1am looking for him last night.) Say what you will about him being a mama's boy, or whatever, but that young man is half of my soul. True enough, schedule maintenance, therapy, fixing him food, tending to his needs, reminding him to bathe, shifting him between my house and Craig's on the Grandmas schedule--all of that's tiresome. The freedom was nice and I had school to concentrate on this week to finish, but maybe by Day 3, I was getting choked up, not having heard from him. Not necessarily worried about his well-being, for he was in good hands, but missing the daily snippets of Us fiercely. Our vibe will ALWAYS be offbeat, non-traditional, and while I'm stern, I'm VERY flexible. Dad, take it easy on the poor kid.
His need for greater independence and all of what's part of turning him from a little boy into a young man is unchartered territory for me. It seems like all of my friends have teenage daughters, or grown daughters, young boys (like SuperJuls) or, like in Christa's case, a boy toddler. I don't identify and am not really friends with the other moms in Luke's class, except for a couple of them, though I stay on the perimeter of all of that and am the resident, I guess, self-proclaimed freak. (For example, at first it embarrassed Luke that I was inked and pierced more, and he was conservatively skittish about me appearing in front of his friends and their parents. He's way mellowed on all that since.)
Tonight in church, we prayed for the work campers' safe return tomorrow, and I was choked up. Our church celebrated its 109th anniversary this week, Pastor Dave acknowledging how many of us were baptized, confirmed, married, or otherwise have volunteered at St. Paul, or sent our kids to the school. That choked me up, thinking back to my grandparents who were ALWAYS there volunteering for something. How my mom was raised to and continues to volunteer there. How I joined the band and volunteer in that way, which I generally love, and have for the last 6 years. How Luke is the 3rd generation to attend the school. But peril is threatening to tear apart my band right now, which I attribute to a significant maladaptive pattern of personality clashes and ego battles that I admitted to Pastor, I aided in egging on with one of the young singers recently, and for which I was heartily sorry.
In six years, that was the first time I'd broken down at band practice, even when I was drinking!, as I'm largely unaffected by, let's call it, the "female drama" of the band betwixt the singers, and, as you know, frequently pull the Ringo and just do what I'm told. Being one of only 2 musicians left in the band, though, I have to take the initiative of a little bit of musical direction, and was helping sort out our closing song for tonight, which was a clusterfuck. Unhappy with my timing and fills on one of the songs, that's when I chucked it into the fuck it bucket and moved over to the djembe, because if there IS something I know how to do, it's improvise on hand drums.
It was getting the singers in-key that was the challenge, one an alto and one a soprano. Meanwhile, the guitarist was trying to start out the song by harmonizing, and he's either a tenor or a baritone, which threw everyone off. It was as if the devil incarnate had seeped into the sanctuary and helped fuck the whole shebang up. It took over half an hour of me sitting with Chloe, one of the singers, chain smoking and crying outside after practice to compose myself enough to drive home. That shouldn't happen in a church band. Chloe's my bud, and very mature for 19 years old, unlike one of our other singers, said spewing, attitude-laden crier in the corner who refused to play nicely.
This is what practice is usually like, when all 4 female singers are present (I stay out of trouble):
And I'm the reigning and sole bipolar in the band!
Alas, today was a new day.
Guy Friend is busily preparing for his week of Controlled Boredom, wifey picking up the grownup kiddos at their summer camp jobs today, though he found time to phone me yesterday, en route to the library. (No, at the time, I hadn't realized what Kate later pointed out about borrowing books from the library--the chances that previous readers pick their noses while they're reading books. She cited that Guy Friend, as a doctor, can afford to buy books, and own them, so now I'm, consequently, icked out about the idea of going to the library, and hoping Guy Friend doesn't secretly pick his nose while he's reading, though he's known to habitually scratch it, which might be allergy-related, but either that or he rubs his fingers down the bridge of his nose, past his nostrils, and then plays with his mustache.)
Guy Friend and I talked about my utter disappointment in achieving a B in Abnormal Psych, as we were fist-pumping (or hand-grabbing, I don't remember what, it was right after the kiss) the idea of me getting an A the other night. I told him yesterday that if anything exciting or earth-shattering happened while he was away, that I'd leave him a voicemail or a text, though cell reception in the bowels (read: Land of Pleasantville) of where he's vacationing is spotty. I was supposed to meet with one of the grad schools yesterday, Adler, which got pushed to Monday, at which time I'll have to reveal that my undergrad graduating GPA was less than stellar, my post-grad studies thus far have been above-average, and that while I desperately want to get into this school, I'm still toying with ditching psych altogether and going for an advanced degree in writing (go ahead, open the "Um, you're really not a very good writer with delusions of grandeur" floodgates).
In the course of our conversation, Guy Friend asked me to interpret Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" for him. "It's a typical Annie song," he remarked, in as much as it's multi-layered, complicated, could mean a variety of different things in separate contexts and has been known to tear up both the emotionally macho and sensitive male species. He guessed correctly that it was about living in and appreciating the NOW, to which I said, "Yes, because you don't know if there's a future." While we all hope to grow old and wretched together, nothing's set in stone, which, if you want to get technical, flows us right back to Best Male Friend correctly guessing that my PTSD was latent for decades (only to be activated by Chris' abuse) after losing my father when he was 42. By the way, Chris:
I'm sorry that Best Male Friend thinks the kiss between Guy Friend and I was "yucky," and the Friend Collective, while expressing glee at me finally getting what I'd wanted (however lame that might be) for so long, is totally rooting for Best Male Friend in the Championship Smackdown of Winning Annie's Heart. Everyone seems to think it's an obvious given, though neither man is theoretically "available" and no one *gets* what remote passion I have for Guy Friend when compared to Best Male Friend, who is literally, like a male version of a Much More Gorgeous and Talented Me With All the Same Bad Habits.
You know how, sometimes, your empathy for a person extends such that you feel downright embarrassed FOR them? For example, when someone walks back to a restaurant table with toilet paper dragging from his shoe, or an open fly, stuff like that. Going back a blog or two, I said that Guy Friend was wearing the John Lennon "Peace and Harmony" tie I gave him last Christmas (while I told him in the car that I *really* should've given him the John/Yoko tiny naked caricatures tie, but sided on conservatism) the night we went out? THAT tie is tasteful. Hip. Very nice. (Do I still have doubts that Mrs. GF picked that out for him to go with his yellow shirt? "Here, honey, you're going out with your single, punky gal pal who's shitpickles for you. Why not wear the special tie she bought you, and here, put this CD on in the car of music she gave you for your birthday?" SOMEHOW I DON'T HEAR THAT CONVERSATION.) Anyway, in the hyper-unlikely, totally doubtful, fantasies-that-only-happen-in-movies-with-Richard-Gere-in-them world that would be "Guy Friend Enacts His Midlife Crisis, Commits a Cardinal Sin and Goes Single," while I already love him, and generally accept him as-is (most days), I think I'd have to have a pre-dating agreement similar to a pre-nuptial agreement, but leaving out the nuptials, since, as I've previously mentioned, I've turned vehemently anti-marriage. In the Lennon tie, he looked hawt. He chucked it into the back seat after allowing me to admire that he was wearing it, which turned out to be a good idea, since he'd go on to spritz hot sauce on his shirt over the course of dinner. Hey, chickie babies, at least it wasn't lipstick on his collar (not that I even *wear* lipstick.
In said agreement, while I'd promise fidelity (hey, first time for everything) and renounce sleeping in beds with other (likewise unavailable) men, I would ask Guy Friend to cease-and-desist wearing ties that corresponded seasonally, e.g. jack-o-lanterns around Halloween, his team of turkey ties (which are the WORST and he's got like 5 different ones) around Thanksgiving, I'd allow ONE tie the WEEK of Christmas that was related to the birth of Christ, but he'd have to donate the rest of the holiday-centric ties to a warped charity. I brought up my disdain for Guy Friend's tie collection, and asked Best Male Friend today if I was being too superficial in my tie arrangement idea. He advised me to "just let it go." So I listened to him.
On my way HOME from church, I received a text from Guy Friend saying he'd heard "Do You Realize?" on HIS way TO church tonight and said "you two are soulmates." This was right after I'd texted him Luke's eyeball picture and reiterated that Luke got his eyes from me, not Craig. I am still unclear as to if Guy Friend meant that Best Male Friend and I are soulmates or if Luke and I were. In any event, I texted him back that we're ALL soulmates in one sense or another in this crazy world, that love was everywhere, and that that comes from God (which the Lips would dispute that much). If Guy Friend heard THAT song in the car, he had to have been listening to a CD I made for him, because the song's not part of any radio station's general playlist. I then texted a nonplussed Best Male Friend about it and haven't heard anything back yet, but he was traveling today.
I can safely say that last night was the first impulse I've had to drink in a long ass time. And I meant it. I handled it though, with Chloe, not calling my sponsor, who I'm sure would've likewise talked me through it as I chain-smoked. No, I didn't drink. But I really, really wanted to. That's how stressed out I was about my band:
I do sincerely hope Guy Friend enjoys his time with 2 of his daughters (wifey? Yeah, could care less.) this week, him leaving tomorrow. I advised him to listen to the new George Harrison rarities/outtakes CD I'd given him the other night, as it would be great traveling music. Plus, it'll remind him of me, which is always a good thing:
What's lacking on my blog lately, except for the inclusion in commentary by the woman whose pseudonym is "Monk," is the legions of minions, like I had at the medical practice.
Got to talk to Kate today, who, amid serious physical challenges as of late, and is back in NY to see doctor and have scans, was very upbeat and sounded great today. Then again,, any time spent with your best friend in the world is bound to put a smile on your sullen face.
We're also very much like this. I pee on the phone w/Kate frequently. Our conversations and laughter is more than my bladder can bear:
M'kay, ya'll, time for me to hit the hay. Early hair cut tomorrow. Luke is supposed to come between 1-2 pm. My arms will be outstretched, even if he finds if embarrassing. And band will get better once we all clear the air and have a sit-down about the negative attitudes that are tearing up our cohesion.. Pastor Dave's on it. Had a lengthy discussion via text w/him after church and we're on the same page. That's a very good thing.
Pastor Dave's taught me a lot in the least year. What has he learned from me? According to Chloe, his niece who lives with him, somehow he's picked up this bad habit of calling everything a "douchebag." But he uses it with regard to inanimate objects, like actual bags. I had to correct him via text that douchebags are people. He's not fond of the word "fuck," but I also told him that barring that, an interchangeable term would be "douchetarrd." His next plan is for the congregation to read the entire Bible in the next year. I told him if I can handle 700 pages of psych in 7 weeks, I can probably get through the Bible in a year. Bring it on, mofos.