Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Bartender and the Boy on Tour

I will now regale you with anecdotes from our first three months…the only ones we had together before we were married.

Lots of people go to bars looking for love. I went looking for enough of a paycheck to sustain me while I poured all my energy into art exhibit which left me with no funds whatsoever. Fortunately for me, I found the love that no one ever seems to. This sort of love is obviously much more valuable than wealth, though it can be enjoyed more fully with an adequate amount of it.

I would say it was like any other night, but it was my last tending bar at Bickett Gallery. I arrived after a long photoshoot of my work, which necessitated shooting as it was screenprinted on skin. No going home for a shower or a bite to eat. Just straight to work. As I was setting up, the bands arrived... I will now leave out some vaguely important and rather interesting tidbits for the very reasons which make them interesting in the first place and just leave you to wonder. Please use this opportunity to make up your own wild and fantastic version of events. ...thanks to him, I screenprinted myself onto my future husband's forearm.

There were other interesting characters as well. The drunken door guy, ordered to stick around and make sure nothing happened to me as I closed up alone on a deserted street in the dead of night. Perhaps that would have been helpful if he weren’t drunk. Or if he had questioned the two men who stuck around when he finally left. Which brings me to the next interesting character: Moustache Man. As I recall that night now, I honestly can’t remember him in it. I just know that he was there. We joked about it. We told our friends about it. We would see him around town and jab each other and nod in his direction and exchange knowing smirks. Obviously, we don’t know his name, but this small, aging photographer often showed up at bars. I’m not sure I ever saw him actually take any pictures, but the camera was always swinging from his neck. On this particular night, he accompanied us to the dumpster.

Mike, like many an appreciative musician, gave me a copy of his CD after the show. I, as always, listened to it later before placing it on the shelf next to the others. In fact, I have never picked it up again. Recently, I was at home listening to the ipod on shuffle when I heard someone who sounded like Mike singing a song I did not recognize. It was indeed my husband. A song from this album that he gave me the night we met, this album that would come to cause so much grief between us; his first gift to me. He explained that the white-out tree drawings were a poor copy of his previously screen-printed album covers. I, with the purest intentions, offered to have a screen burned and sent to him…only because I knew the difficulties of getting a screen made once you leave the resources of a university. Since there were screens in the dumpster that Bickett shared with Aardvark Screenprinting, I suggested we try to find a decent one that he could use for his album cover. There we were: a penniless artist, a penniless musician, and a mysterious moustached man perusing a dumpster by streetlight. But there were no screens to be had.

We found instead many many similarities. That’s all we found really, for a good month. Similarities. We kept talking and they kept coming up. We had similar pasts. We had similar tastes in food. We had similar philosophies of life- why we are here, what is worth working for, why we should never date… Not all of that came up the first night. The moon did, though. We saw it rise, big and bright over the trees. And as the sun, too, began to rise, the two of us, exhausted from a happily sleepless night, said goodbye. I exchanged my phone number for a kiss on my hand and a babbled hope that this night would change the course of our lives.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chapter One

As you may have heard Mike say on the Kickstarter for the Mike & Eileen album, I am planning to write my own version of our story. I have started that quest several times over the years with little success, save some cathartic moments. So, I want to use this blog to put some thoughts in writing, get feedback, and figure out exactly what this rememory looks likes. Here’s to me writing and you telling me what you think…what you really think.

First, I want to make it clear while what we did may seem noble to some, its roots were the best kind of "selfish." But my understanding of selfishness is probably not your idea of selfishness. None of us lives in a vacuum. What is good for me must, by the very nature of goodness, be good for others as well. In my darkest moments during our first year, I must admit that my motivation was not to do what was best for my husband or our families or our friends. My motivation was to do what was best for me. What was best for me?

1. devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
2. characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself: selfish motives.

I believe that confusion comes when we are unable to discern what is truly in our own interest. If we confuse our laziness with our self-interest, there will no doubt be problems, not just for others, but for ourselves as well. If we imagine that escaping a bad marriage will benefit us more than getting down to the hard work of becoming a better person and enabling our spouse to become a better person, I believe we are sadly mistaken. It was difficult to learn how to take care of each other, just as it is difficult to learn how to take care of ourselves.
Overcoming difficulty enriches us. Laziness depraves us.

As long as our perspective is broad and clear, we cannot do harm to others when we do what is best for us. To do what is truly best for one is to do what is truly best for all.