Wow! Reading the end of that entry from December 12 seems really odd now. I’m like, who is that girl with no confidence?! I mean, I am not saying I am totally confident now, but that sounds crazy. I think sometimes when I spend so much time alone for a long time, I start to separate from reality. I think, wow, everything must be wrong with me because no one is hanging out with me, and I keep avoiding people because I think that’s what they want, and then it makes me feel even worse.
So, Home for the Holidays was weird, I don’t know. I wrote like over 30 pages of journal entries in this little notebook I’d brought with me. I can’t remember what I was expecting when I got there, but I miss that one day backstage. I think things will never happen like that again and it was very special. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to talk to them and their friends that way again. It’s not natural. But when you go backstage, they all just assume that you belong there and they treat you like a peer. I’m not sure why. I have lots of friends of friends who get to go backstage, but I’m not going to suck up to them or anything just because I might get to the band through them. That’s not who I am. At least not anymore. A few years ago I would have done stuff like that, but now I won’t.
Anyway, overall it was pretty good. I don’t feel like a total loser anymore. The social aspect was no better than I expected, but as good as I could have hoped for. Nothing catastrophic happened. I could have taken more risks (what else is new?) but I am happy with what I accomplished. The band recognizes me as a genuine fan, which feels good because they totally LOVE their fans. Some of the people I was with got old quickly, but I probably won’t see them again for several months now, so it's okay.
I mostly learned a lot about myself. Being immersed in a Bouncing Souls world for four days in Asbury Park is just so meditative for me. I’m not sure if it’s Asbury Park, the Bouncing Souls, or just music in general, but something special happens. I don’t think it happens to everyone. Most of the kids in the hotel just do it because it’s fun, and they watch the shows, go to the after parties, and party in the lobby. But everything about the whole week and the place is so beautiful to me, and I just want to soak it in as much as possible. I only wished I could have had more time, a lot more time.
The first morning was probably the best though. I woke up at 7:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I ate some oatmeal in the lobby and then I stayed outside for hours at a time, taking indoor breaks when I couldn’t take the cold anymore. I wrote in my notebook some of the time, and other times I just watched the ocean or the people. I LOVE the sound of the waves, it’s just so perfect. Ugh. I wish I could be there all the time. I wrote about my experiences at the shows, my new friendships, my interactions with the band, but I also wrote about my subjective experience, my emotions and the things I was learning about myself. And let me tell you, I learned more in those five days than I learned in the past fucking two years. It is such a beautiful, pure, raw, encouraging environment that it gives you this perfect sense of clarity about who you are and what you love. And I’m trying to hold onto it, because it’s one of those sensations that just disappear as soon as you get back into the rat racetrack. It’s as if you got abducted by aliens and you did all these amazing things on Mars, but they erased your memory so you only have these little bits that you’re not even sure if they really happened. And you’re like, man, I wish I could just live on Mars, but I’m only fucking human. Fuck. Maybe something like that, I don’t know. But that’s how I feel. Like, maybe I don’t necessarily belong in such a perfect environment, but I’d give anything to be there all the time. And for what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure I could fake it till I make it.
I thought a lot about why I love punk so much, why does it make me feel like it’s this perfect thing that can solve every problem in me, in society? And why do I feel like it’s not a viable lifestyle for me, when it works for other people and I don’t even appreciate any luxury or fancy entertainment whatsoever? And I’m a total collectivist anarchist. It would appear to me that I’d fit right in if I weren’t so fucking scared. So why am I? And when I spend 20 minutes talking to people who I think are “too cool” for me, they always end up being like, “You’re such an awesome person” and stuff like that. Is that fake? I don’t know, I don’t know what’s going on.
Anyway, music just soothes me and it’s the only thing that does that. I feel like most people are the same, though. The only thing that sets a musician apart from the public is their willingness to put in tons of practice time to get awesome, and maybe I don’t have that. But maybe I do, too. I was just so happy. I was happy by myself, I was happy with the crowds, I was happy all the time. And there, in that easy environment, I am a laid back, caring, interesting, confident person. But I am none of those things at home. It’s not because I don’t want to be, but because I am not strong enough. I feel like, if I could spend more of my time in that place, I could gain confidence and maybe then I could be anywhere and keep those same strengths.
For some reason, I always feel like I relate so much better to the actual musicians than to the fans. I feel like I am creative, intelligent, steadfast, and unique, and I could be the person who inspires people, not just staring in awe and trying to live vicariously through those who inspire. But maybe that’s just an illusion of grandeur and I’m just like everyone else. But I mean, it’s possible I’m right, because someone has to be that awesome person up there, and why not me? I seem to impress and inspire people whenever I put effort into my life. I fuck up a lot too, but I’m good at the things that matter in my opinion. So anyway, I care about the band way more than the fans, and that’s probably where I went wrong, because in the process, the group as a whole (with me excluded) gets to hang out with them while I am off in my corner.
It wasn’t SO bad. I mean, obviously I wasn’t going to drink, and I wanted to go to sleep pretty early. But I kept going for walks or going up to the room when everyone hung out in the lobby because I felt awkward. And I would watch the bands alone at the after party instead of sitting down with everyone else. I probably could have made some new close friends, but I didn’t let myself. Sometimes I’m like, what is the point of having close friends if I’ll never have deep conversations with them, which is the main reason I enjoy having friends, and I have better conversations with myself anyway? (It's true.) But I mean, if I’m going to meet such people anywhere, I’m pretty sure it’d be at a Bouncing Souls show.
Some positives from their “crew,” though. The best part was playing The Game of Things that someone had brought. We wrote a lot of dirty stuff and things about the Bouncing Souls. I was actually pretty good at the game because in most cases I was able to tell by people’s expressions during the readings which one was theirs. I am also pretty funny when I try. I came up with some creative and meaningful ones, and also some pretty dirty and silly ones like, “Things that jiggle: a Jello sculpture of Bryan Kienlen.” Anyway, I think that kind of broke the ice because I didn’t know anyone. I got to learn their names, I learned who was really dirty and who was too clean. And we kind of bonded over the shared laughs. So that was one of my favorite parts of the week, we played the game twice for hours at a time.
The other part is that I did get to have a couple of heart to hearts during all the time I hung out in the hotel room and in the lobby and Souls fans were in and out. Much of the talk was about music, which was cool. But just in general, the environment in the hotel was such that you could just go up to anyone with a band shirt on and strike up a conversation, and you know that they will be nice and the conversation will be awesome. I did it quite a few times and I probably don’t even remember all their names! And for most people, that’s normal, but for me it was quite an accomplishment and I am proud of myself. Or grateful for Asbury Park.
I didn’t get to interact with the band much, really, but I also didn’t have much to say. I just always want more, but they’ll probably be alive for at least a couple more decades, so let’s relax a little bit. The best thing that happened was on the second day. I felt awkward and lonely during another crew conversation, so I started playing Greensleeves (the only song I know how to play) on the lobby piano, but I kept screwing it up and having to start over. Everyone was probably really annoyed, but it was calming me so I kept doing it. Anyway, Greg popped up out of nowhere in his winter coat and said, “Hey, what are you doing?” in his curious, quiet way. I got embarrassed that he’d been listening and said, “Just messing around, I don’t really know how to play…” He said he could teach me something, and it was this arpeggio (1, 3, 5, 6, 5). At first I was playing in the wrong key, so he moved my hands to the right spot, but then he said, "Well, actually you can play it anywhere…” Then he saw that his family was ready to leave, so he kind of walked away as soon as he had come, with a little wave and smile. Ugh. I fucking love that guy. Platonically.
That night, I had a super awkward conversation with Pete about his performance on "Just Like Heaven." I really only said one sentence, but it was awkward because I forgot the name of the song until after he'd already answered me. Then I think we like awkwardly touched or shook hands or something. I don’t know, it was weird. But it made me feel good that I did it.
Then at the meet & greet (just before the last show), I was sick, but I really wanted to talk to them. Pete was offering everyone pretzels, but they were all declining until Kiera. He was like, “Yes! Finally a taker! None of these people want pretzels. It’s like un-American!” So then I took one too, and a few more, but it was okay because everyone kept turning them down and Pete started freaking out because he had no water. haha. Then the line wasn’t moving because Bryan was talking to Kate, and Pete was just standing there patiently, waiting for the next person to be able to approach him. So I was like, may as well ask for a hug then. He was like, “Sure, I love hugs!” and then I squeezed him and he said, “I needed that.” Not quite as good as the “Fuck yeah" I once got from him, but still pretty awesome. Bryan was boasting to everyone that Joan Jett was coming over his house in half an hour to smoke pot. Then Greg signed my poster and then it was awkward, so he was like, “So, how is the Berkeley treating you?” and I was like, “Oh, it’s really fun, lots of people just playing games and stuff.” He nodded, then it was awkward again, so I started rambling like, “Thanks for playing the piano with me the other day, you really made my day.” And he was like, “I’m glad, maybe one day we can have a piano lesson,” which was odd because I don’t think we ever will. It was so awkward.
Oh yeah, I also requested to all four of them individually that they close with "For All the Unheard." They said okay, but they never did it. When I asked Pete about it, he got all confused for a moment, and then he was like, “Oh, I’M sorry! I totally forgot about that!” He looked like he felt super bad, so I was like, “Nah, it’s okay. I had a good time anyway. Great four shows.” And then he patted me on the back, and then I hugged him. Again. Then we said goodbye, and that was the end of my interactions with the band.
Anywho, it is actually 12:49 am now and I am still sick and pretty tired, so I suppose I will go to bed now. Good night!