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Prompt 069: No Free Evenings
69. Some people like actors, restaurant servers, and customer service representatives have to work almost every evening. What would it be like if you never had your evenings free? How would your mornings and afternoons change and why?
I remember a time when one of the bands I was in played a weekend in a touristy town on the eastern shore of the US. Through his day job contacts, our band leader had arranged for two shows over two nights, in two different clubs. I think this was late Summer...? Early Autumn? Anyhow, the bassist of the companion band owned a few rental properties down there, including an apartment above a restaurant (that she also owned). We would play a show at a lesbian bar round the corner from there, and the following night we'd play at a basement bar on the boardwalk at another nearby tourist trap. The shows were okay, the other band was fun, and we had the days free until we had to make ready for the next gig.
I still remember distinctly joining my bandmate for a Bloody Mary at like 9:15am. I was able to take two of them before we headed back to the apartment. I texted the woman I was dating at the time, who was at work that day. I still remember reflecting that it was the first time I had a buzz before 10:30 in the morning. "I could get used to this. Drinking before lunch." Her reply was a bit salty, as she was at her day job at the time of our exchange, and apparently it was already a rough day for her.
It seemed to me that what I was living while on vacation was a "life of leisure." It certainly seemed that way to me. I had a chance to hang out with people who did this kind of thing all the time. The bassist landowner "managed a restaurant." It seemed like a pretty easy job. One night after the show we kind of just wandered into the restaurant where she and her drummer were drinking. We had a few drinks, someone knocked over a Buddha statue that was decorating the place, and she mumbled something to the tune of, "I'm not gonna get upset over it. The Buddha wouldn't want me to." Maybe she was right. The drummer later posed for a photo with another of our band members, while wearing the remains of the terracotta Buddha's face over his own.
It seemed to me that's all their life was. Just hopping from one joint to another, drinking for breakfast, slopping round from place to place, singing foul-mouthed tunes and punk covers (I was the vocalist), breaking statuary and smashing the shit out of drums, sleeping on a cheap mattress between times. The bills just kinda took care of themselves. And in the summertime I could throw a burger into the air and it would fall down to hit a gorgeous woman on her sculpted, bronzed ass.
For that instant I was texting back and forth with the woman I was seeing at the time, I was nearly roped into it. I felt intoxicated not so much by the alcohol as the broader scope of hedonism. It was the same way when we played for a week in Vegas for some television show. Day drinking for free as long as I kept playing nickel slots and video blackjack.
There are entire swathes of humanity that live this life for decades at a time. You finally just say, "Up yours!" to the regular life, and start living life for personal enjoyment. You don't even have to be good at what you do, just persistent. You'll either die with a smile on your face (and likely shit on your soul), or your big break comes along in the guise of some rich asshole who thinks you're "quirky" or "interesting," or "you...yeah, you got potential. I wanna see you grow."
Personally, I could have seen myself taking a year off from my day job back then (my late 20's - early 30's), jumping into the performer lifestyle. Just to see how far I could take it. I'd never been into "illegal" drugs, and I probably would have experimented with hallucinogens or psychedelics. I've always wondered what kind of experience I'd have with MDMA. Alcohol is boring, and I'd likely have dropped the habit sooner. Worked out a lot more and made a name for myself as a vegan sex god on stage (and off?) or whatever.
Let me shift into full-on daydream... Probably would have moved to the west coast to make it big or sign a record deal. Rebuilt a warehouse shell into an indoor skate park with a yoga studio and underground hash bar. Oh! But this next part isn't just a daydream. It's a plot that I'd schemed perhaps a decade ago, just after my band days were about done. It seems realistic and doable, while still fitting in with this daydream of a lifestyle I've cooked up for myself.
After the band had broken up or we had our sunset tour and final show a la The Band, I would retire to Amsterdam. I would live in a small apartment above a marijuana cafe, making money and paying my rent as a baker of pot pastries. Hell, I could move to Denver and do that now, if I didn't give a good goddamn.
Now all my old bandmates are married and have kids. So it goes.