"Rob, give Meg a cigarette." "Yes, Rob, Give Meg a cigarette" I repeat like a robot. Of course, I don't smoke, but I do join the bands' "smoking circle". They stand outside the venues or gas stations we stop at along the road, sharing smokes and conversation. I want to bond with the boys! I want to feel included. Give me a cigarette, and I'll just hold it in my hand un-lit, soak in the afternoon sun, and talk about how tour is going.
Did you ever see that episode of "Friends" where Rachael starts smoking at her new job so she can be more involved in the day-to-day? Same situation. My headaches before I sleep became much worse due to all the second hand smoke. Because I ran out of tylenol, I was forced to return to the old routine of standing about fourteen paces away from the smokers' circle while straining to hear the conversation, and then shouting my input toward their grey curly cues decorating the air.
After five hours in the van of my being the sole participator of games to play within the confines of a van bench (which I ingeniously invented myself): "corpse", "sleeping beauty", and "road kill", I decided I needed to find an alternate way to pass the time. My solution: a chic-lit novel. I'm embarrassed to share the title with you…all right. It's called "A Summer Affair". Please don't laugh at me. The second-hand book store didn't have the first title I had my heart set on, "The 72nd Edition of Quantum Physics and Space Engineering", so I had to go with my second choice.
There is a character in this juicy novel called Max West, who is supposed to be on par, celebrity status-wise, with say, a Justin Beiber character of today, except in his late thirties. She describes his crazy lifestyle of traveling all over the world in a jet plane, being booked every single day of the year several months in advance. He charges over six figures for each performance. He is in and out of rehab, drowning in drugs, women, and loneliness.
Well, where are my drugs and women and loneliness? I'm in a band. Did I miss the board meeting, therefore missing the chance to allocate said number of racey women and booze in our band's general direction?
We ended up with a band full of eco-friendly vegetarians who iron our suitcases full jeans and dresses each night. We leave every parking lot cleaner than we find it, and we leave little notes at houses that accommodate our crew, "Dear ______, thank you SO much for allowing us into your home for the night. The vegetarian chile you made us was simply exquisite, and we hope to someday rescue a tour dog just like your little Rufus! Sincerely, The Band!" And there are never women crawling all over the band backstage. There are just two: Dia and myself. In fact, we are all dedicated to our significant others in our treasured monogamous relationships.
You know, I'm kind of glad that there is an "in-between" world for a musician I can live and work in. Five star hotels every night and a baby puppy in every green room would be nice, don't get me wrong, but I like my life-style to be a little more low-key. That's just me! I'm living the dream, but in a very REAL way. I don't have to trade in my health and happiness for sex, and drugs, and loneliness. No thank you. I can perform for seven-thousand people, opening up for a band who receives regular radio air-play, and still come home and visit my family for Thanksgiving dinner and help my little sister with her math homework.
P.S. How do you even spell chick-lit?