Thursday, January 31, 2013
I Don't Work Hard Enough To Be This Busy
Word around the campfire is that there is a recession on--we'll all have to make due with less, I guess, and that includes your regular dose of Mikeyisms.
Thinking back over the past week, I realize that I've been much busier than usual. It's not like I have a bunch of people pulling me in different directions, but I still try to load up my figurative plate with things to do, and sometimes, it gets to be too much. It's much tougher to make friends here in Nashville than it was out in Vegas where we were all strangers in a strange town, so I've been trying to put myself out there and keep busy. And to be honest, when I worked at the casino, I loved hanging out with my co-workers after my shift or on our nights off, but here, for the most part, I don't dig the job very much, and the people I work with I tend to keep at arm's length. I don't really socialize with them, and once you're an adult, it's pretty tough to make new friends outside of work.
However, I have a pretty good network around here, and the hippies have introduced me to most of their friends and we all get along well. Of course, it works in my favor because most of them are accomplished musicians, and a little bit of talent rubs off on me from time to time. I love to go to their self-described 'Geek Jams' and fumble my way through a few songs on the bass whenever I can. They rock the house while I play whole notes and count to four over and over again, trying to anticipate the chord changes.
It's a work in progress.
Of course y'all know that I love to hike, too. In fact, just this morning I did a three-and-a-half mile hike along the Honey Run Creek in White House. I did the exact same hike last summer, and I had to stop and rest a couple of times along the way. This morning, however, I powered right along and only paused to answer a text message and to snap this picture:
I had a pretty good pace going and it only took me about an hour and twenty minutes. This is a huge personal victory for me, especially when I think about how long it took the last time around. For those of you who sit in a cube all day, get up off the couch this weekend and try to walk three-and-a-half miles without stopping to rest. It's not as easy as it sounds when you're not in any kind of shape. And I don't mean on a treadmill, either--go out in the real world and experience some hills. Of course I'm a long way from hosting an episode of The Biggest Loser and cracking the whip on people with the same kind of body type as me, but it feels good to be able to motor right along.
Hell, if I were back in Vegas with any of you clowns, we could wander the Strip all day and I wouldn't have to pretend to tie my shoe in order to get a rest break...
Anyhow, besides hiking around on my own, I decided to join a couple of Meetup.com groups here in Nashville. There are a few hiking groups that I'm a part of--the Tennessee Backpacking meetup, the Middle Tennessee Hiking meetup, and even a writers group.
This past Saturday night, one of the hiking groups sponsored a Full Moon Hike down at Edwin Warner Park. I'd planned on doing the one they had in December, but as I recall there was a Christmas tree emergency at the hippies' house, and well, I was unable to attend. I wasn't going to miss it this time around.
It gets dark around 5:30 nowadays, and the hike was scheduled for 7:30 that evening. I got there a few minutes early and was surprised to find that about 50 people showed up. I made pleasant conversation and small talk with a few other attendees, but we were freezing our asses off. It had been really cold for a few days prior, and well, after dark in January, what did I expect?
The problem, however, is that hiking, for me, is a sport enjoyed much more either alone or in a very small tight-knit group. Trudging through the woods with a bunch of people with kids and flashlights and dogs and such ain't too enjoyable. And not only does everyone talk much louder than they need to, it's like an unspoken rule that everyone has to power-walk like they have to escape the zombie apocalypse, yet they are not allowed to run. So they set a ridiculous pace, with all of the wannabe alpha-males offering up 'advice' and unwanted instruction, while the hoard huffs and puffs it's way up the hill.
No fun. No fun at all.
And remember, this is the same Warner Park that I was talking about in an earlier post--it ain't very level. Once we got to the top of the first big hill, the herd took a turnoff to an overlook, and I just kept on truckin', trying to distance myself from the noise. I guess I got about a half mile ahead of them and managed to have a really enjoyable walk after that.
It was kind of eerie, a quiet night in the winter woods, with the full moon casting shadows on the ground from all of the leave-less trees. Of course your mind plays tricks on you, your senses are heightened, and every scampering squirrel or foraging turkey sounds like Bigfoot is stalking you.
I loved every bit of it, kept my headlamp off, and embraced the experience. Before I knew it, I'd walked over four miles, could see my car back down the hill in the parking lot, and heard the caravan catching up from behind, everyone racing to the finish.
While the hike was great, I doubt I'll do that one with a group again. I like to go at my own pace, enjoy the scenery, and try to make as little noise as possible--that's when the magic happens. This was like a roving band of gypsies scaring off any wildlife as it plowed through the forest at maximum force.
So while I technically went to the 'meetup', it was a pretty solitary affair, and I'm going to think long and hard before doing another one.
Anyhow, I was pretty warm by the time I got back to the parking lot--it was a lot of exercise, and it wasn't even 9:30 yet. So I pointed the car towards east Nashville, looking for something a little more fun.
Scottie and the geeks had rented out an authentic old-school rehearsal hall down near Five Points for several hours, and were hosting another jam session. While not an official band, they love to get together and play on the weekends, and it's lot of fun. The rehearsal space is pretty big, right in the middle of everything, but it's as old-school and run down as you can imagine. One can only speculate at the stories that must've taken place in there over the years.
And while it wasn't quite as bad as something out of Trainspotting, I was definitely uneasy about touching any of the furniture in the place... But it had power, a huge stage, plenty of mismatched chairs, and even flushing toilets (so I was told). The guys had set up their gear and were wailing away by the time I got there, so I hit the convenience store across the alley for a sixer of Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan ale and settled down to enjoy the private show, like an aging groupie with no place else to go.
A few minutes later my sister Amy and her friend Cory showed up, so the size of the audience immediately tripled. We had a great time laughing, taking pictures, and singing along, and at one point I even helped out with Wagon Wheel and Hotel California, two of the easier songs on the set list.
Unfortunately, I was worn out. That four mile walk in the woods and hills of Warner Park had kicked my ass, and I still had a thirty mile drive back to my bed. I think I called it a night around twelve, completely exhausted.
Sunday was a blur. I remember being sore, drinking a pot of coffee, and lying on the couch. That's about it.
On Monday, I had a full day at work--it was nice to be 'good busy' instead of 'annoying busy'. You know what I mean--it was nice to do my own work and not have to worry about fixing other peoples messes, which is almost unheard of on a Monday, right?
That night I was scheduled to go to a writers group meet up out in Bellevue, but I got there and found out it was canceled. I was cool with that since I wasn't presenting anything, but it was a bummer to drive out there for nothing. So I headed back over to the hippies house for the evening, where we played games, listened to music, and just hung out for a bit. Instead of driving home forty-some-odd miles, I just spent the night there before heading back to the office in the morning.
I guess that explains my absence from the keyboard this past week, doesn't it?
So I'm making up for it now. I've had a fairly productive day so far, and while the spaghetti sauce is simmering away in the crock pot, the dishwasher and washing machine are running, and I rest my feet from my mornings adventures, here I sit, pecking away at the keyboard, looking for inspiration. The two bottles of Yuengling may have helped, because all of the sudden I've got this big long post written.
Posted by Hurricane Mikey at 3:55 PM