Music

Photo from the days when I used to hang with the band.

Photo from the days when I used to hang with the band.

I’ve been depressed today. Not quite sure why, it just kind of hit. I first noticed it when some of the guys at work suggested a last minute outing for beer after work with the group. I’m usually the one organizing these sort of things, but I just didn’t feel like today. I went for a short while, but left when the majority of the group showed up. A friend in Chile e-mailed me last week to let me know that her husband had a seizure and it turned out that he had a medium sized tumor in his head and was going for surgery early this week. It’s been on my mind, and I’ve constantly been checking my e-mail for any news. I think the surgery was today, but I’m not sure. Anyhow, this probably has played some part in my depression today, but again I’m not sure.

The weekend went well. I took my daughter swimming which I really enjoyed. It almost didn’t happen though. There is a small wealthy town surrounded by our much larger and urban city. My wife heard that this town had a nice heated public pool about 5 minutes away from our hosue and had planned on us all going. My younger daughter was being quite fussy so I offered to just take my older daughter. We showed up and I asked how much non-residents were. I knew that it was more expensive for non-residents but I was flabbergasted when I was told that non-resident adults were charged $30 and non-resident kids $7. I was so shocked that I actually exclaimed “$30!?” out loud and made some comment about having to see if I had enough money. I was actually going to leave, which would have been sad for my daughter, but the guy was nice and gave me the resident rate of $15. (Seriously, $15?)

So I sucked it up and paid the $22 for my daughter and I to go swimming. I was able to put that aside and actually had a good time. The small pool was pretty warm, and for a long time we mostly had it to ourselves. I enjoyed playing with her and seeing her having so much fun. The pool was only three and a half feet deep, but I got her to go down the bottom and retrieve an object for the first time, and I even got her to put her face in the water without holding her nose for short periods. It made me wish that we lived in a warmer climate so that she could get more pool time. I think she is like me in that she really loves the water(now if I could get her to be comfortable in the cold ocean I’d be set). I’ve found that I really enjoy the opportunities to do an activity alone with her. I’m not good at the daily stuff around the house, but actual activities outdoors I tend to really like.

I also spent a lot of time over the weekend, starting on Friday night, watching a live stream of the Coachella festival (hooked up the computer to the TV and stereo). It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a concert, so being able to see these bands play live, even if it was on the TV, was fantastic. I gained new found appreciation for some bands I was already familiar with and liked (Café Tacvba, Blur, Red Hot Chili Peppers) and discovered some new music as well. I stayed up way too late for 3 nights in a row, but it was very much worth it.

Despite enjoying the music so much, I also found missing being around live music. When I was in graduate school a friend of mine from high school was in a fairly successful band in the same city I was studying in. Besides the small club gigs, they also got to open for major acts at big venues. During that period I used to go his shows a lot. I was kind of the unofficial photographer for the band so I often got backstage passes. Seeing the bands on TV/computer made me miss that period in my life. It reminded me of the excitement of live music and everything involved in touring and playing. I spent about 5 days at one point with the band on a mini-tour. Not that I needed an excuse (it was just the band members in their van), but I went along as the photographer. I still remember that week as one of the top 2 or 3 weeks in my life. It had been a long time since I had just spent time in a car with friends, or actually just spending so much time with friends in general (I considered the rest of the band friends). The time in the van on the highways, the small parties and BBQs at friends’ houses, setting up for shows and taking everything down, it was all great. I realize that this can get tiring if you are doing it all the time, but for those 5 days I had the time of my life.

Besides missing that time in my life, I also admired the musicians I saw on TV for being so good at something. Part of me had the normal reaction of wishing I could play music in front of thousands of fans, but I more regretted letting most of my musical training lapse( I was never a great player, but I enjoyed it) and I more generally lamented feeling like I’m not REALLY good at anything. This has been a problematic theme for me at work, but this week it has felt more general. I just honestly feel that I am not good at anything. It’s not to say that am terrible at everything, but rather I don’t have any skills that I can point to say “I’m really good at this”. This is also probably getting me down as well.

I remember one of my philosophy professors in Australia (an American ex-pat, probably depressive) telling the class a story about being on some bluffs overlooking the sea on the east coast with his wife (he pointed out to us that they had divorced) and being depressed because he had just read “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” and felt that unlike the protagonist, if he suddenly found himself in the past he would have no useful skills, for example making matches. I haven’t read the book but I completely understand that sentiment and I think that the memory has stayed with me for these past 17 years for that reason. I feel as if I have a bunch of small disparate skills that I’m okay at, but that in the real world (life or job-wise) I’m pretty useless.

Update Okay, I posted this about 10 minutes ago, then browsing the web(rather than going to sleep) ran across this, maybe someone is trying to send me a message?