It's not just raining today, it's pouring and that's different.
It woke me, that pouring. Alerted me, Something's up. In a bad way.
And it was true. Too.
When you're little, young, you've got all channels open without static and noise. You're clear.
The antennas of lack of age keep you, them, spinning in perfect reception. To anything.
Any anything. Every-Thing.
And then, if lucky -maybe Blessed, or even cursed- you find It. ...or does It find You?...
because everything made sense before I heard It, and somehow, yet fucking incredibly Some How, It made more than perfect sense after It found /Me/ found It.
And then, that day, I knew I had Tribe.
Tribe being, You are not wrong, It can be done a different way and you are not alien for hearing It this different way.
And finding Tribe is a Big Day when you are little, young, eggshell fragile, different -but somehow not, and trying to make sense of the It in Art in the It of You.
Thank You for It,
Thank You for Sound,
Thank You for Music because the Music Thanks You,
Thank You, Paul Motian.
These days you can get bad news --or good news for that matter [but it usually isn't]-- in the blink of an eye. Could be the phone [but not often], could be via email but mostly it's through the pipeline of either Facebook or Twitter. It's all speed-of-sound that feeds the glutinous appetite of a world that, Knew about it Yesterday .
In the thick Army-issue wool blanket of endless updates ranging from the mundane to the, well, mundane hardly anything can snap you out of the stupor of short-attention-span theatre brought to you by the So-The-Fuck-What? attitude that is social networking. But just every so often something does. And it did for me the other day.
Hurl is closing shop. And Hurl is the proprietor of Cars R Coffins. And Cars R Coffins, besides living a half life as a t-shirt, sticker or patch on the ass, toptube or messenger bag of some Fixie ne'er-do-well, was a coffee shop.
But to marginalize or reduce something that shone so bright to me as mere coffee shop is akin to a headstone of a loved one reading, They was Loved. It's not enough. It's not enough because CRC was a Hang [yep, uppercase that H] and a Scene luxe.
Coffee shops serve coffee and the patrons have to make it into something more, something significant, something that is by proxy jive, boring and elitist not to mention uninviting as a convention by Secret Handshake Only. And while CRC's regulars did not do that, and in fact made it a hub for friendship bordering on pure family, I would strongly opine that it still wouldn't have amounted to much more than --a little different-- if it had not been for its founder.
CRC was, is and always will be a big deal to me and my family.
Outside of Bob Brown, the only person we knew at the time of our relocation from the NYC area to the Twin Cities, the first person I actually pressed palms with was Hurl, and it took place within the confines of Cars R Coffins itself.
A move that was exhausting in all ways. Half our shit stuffed into a spur-of-the-moment, holy-shit-we-almost-flipped-the-truck [because the idiot guys we hired to load it overloaded it] rental garage in the middle of Nowhere Pennsylvania [our car included too] that left us reeling when we first arrived in the Land of 10 Bijillion Lakes.
Bob takes me into CRC to, Meet this guy... and so I can get two coffees, one for me and one for my still sleeping wife back in Bob's house in Saint Paul, and a juice for -also sleeping- Chloe.
A guy stands behind the counter and says hi to Bob and then Bob looks at him, me, and back to him.
Hey Hurl. This is the Large Fella, Scott Cutshall.
Hand out, my hand out too. Hi nice to meet you, I've read your blog I think. He's looking nearly as splonked as me.
And that was that.
A few days later...
Our first bike ride, the day after we moved into our first place in St. Paul [before we found a better located place in Minneapolis], was to CRC for coffee for Amy and me, and another fruit juice for Chloe. And we never stopped going. Nearly everyday in fact.
Chloe got her first, Big Girl, bike there [a Schwinn Corvette]. And even though she basically couldn't straddle it, It came from Hurl I can handle it, she would say time and time again after falling over nearly each time she had to stop at an intersection.
These days she rides a Surly Long Haul Trucker [which Hurl helped procure for her] and after having topped out at 4,912 for mileage in 2010 still says she owes it all to, Hurl.
Riding through the long and deep winter that year I worked out a doable loop from our house in the Seward neighborhood. The halfway point was always CRC. Bike in rack, inside for a coffee and some words, swap chemical warmers, and go.
My interview for the Star Tribune newspaper [which first outed my story to the press and people, and for occasionally better but mostly worse] took place at Hurl's coffee and sticker haven.
Eventually Amy and me wanted to have some folks by. Once we felt like we had the house set up enough to not put forth the notion we were slobbing vagabonds who posed as decent humans we planned a Pizza Night where I would scratch make a dozen or so pizzas and entertain some of our new & closest friends. Looking back, it's interesting to note that besides Bob Brown every person there was from having first met them at CRC... including both Hurl and his sig other, Kelly.
Hurl and me have much in common it seems. He'd rightfully disagree but I would argue that what we share is a fairly astute brain in a world of people who we have to, said nicely, suffer with a smirk on our faces. So much in fact I wanted him to be a subject for a long-planned but short-lived series of interviews I intended to conduct called, People I Find Interesting [or PIFI for short]... he participated, Hurl & The CRC PIFI Interview.
Nearing the end of our stay in Minneapolis, after having set into motion the plan to leave for a rainy, damp, gray life in Portland, Oregon, the last place, on our final night in Minneapolis, all three of us stopped before we left town was, yep, CRC. In a darkened parking lot behind the building that had become our home away from home we hugged, laughed, and tried our best to not let Hurl & Co. see what was welling up in our eyes and down our faces.
I visited this past summer. A trip to see Bob and everyone and to attend the FreeRide... and I went to CRC twice during that short trip. And it was good...
...and felt like home,
but here's the crux and juice of it all for me:
I'll miss knowing that if and when we ever return to Minneapolis CRC will not be there as destination/hang/haven or clique for me -and us- on our rides. And that's a gray thing. It's gray because only ever so seldom does your world collide so perfectly with someone or something elses and you can't take that kind of thing for granted. I know I don't, didn't and never have.
No, Minneapolis will never be three numbers for us...
It's January 1st, it's a new year, it's 2011... so what.
It's just a day.
It's, if one checks the calendar, a Saturday.
It's, if one does the math on varying amounts of Daylight Savings Time over the years [since Man, himself, enacted such things], technically not even January 1st, not 2011, nor even a Saturday [that's a guess though... and I am too tired to spend the time figuring out how to figure that one out & double check my suspicion--I asked Amy about this, she looked at me sort of cross-eyed and said, "Jesus, Scott, I have no idea... don't ask me questions like that after I worked 13 hours of Call at the hospital"... so, again, I am not so sure].
Sure, I can dig why folks look to days like today for new beginnings and the like, but truthfully, they never work... and I assume they never work because this day, today, would happen regardless of my, your or any ones involvement in it. Today, like all other days, doesn't really give a shit what you do with it... it's going to start [and end] whether you change or not. Days are like this. January 1st -also- does not care what you impose on it because it's just a man-made date like all the rest of the days of the year. **Note: what the fuck is a year anyway?**
Now, how about January 1st as a new & clean slate from which to work?
That one is better to my mind.
Wiping off the proverbial chalkboard is a nice idea: start fresh, reconnoiter the confusing equation[s], take a new/better look at how to get shit right. That seems sound & rational.
But! ...the rub is always the same: these things always begin with a thought, and while thoughts are good, thoughts are usually the easiest part of change.
Put another way: change is work, work is earned, whereas a day is not.
Years ago I read somewhere that humans can change almost anything... for 3 days to 3 weeks, after that though it's "99% fail or bail" [okay, I am full of shit--it's my theory]. And it's true, change is easy [I've found] when one of two similar things go down...
1. Nothing pushes back against that Change [thus challenging it/you/the momentum of it]
2. It's new & fresh [those first 48 hours... or, once the crest has been summited: past 3 weeks].
Said another way: How easy is getting up early when one doesn't need to [for work -money- versus for changing -improving- Self]?, or How easy is it to not drink booze when alone versus at a party where all are imbibing?, or riding ones bike everyday regardless of weather, with no friends, and with no actual destination [work/errands]?, or working on their anger when not being challenged into a situation of anger?... it's like I tell Chloe often, "To change is hard, but to take stock of the progress of your change, well you've got to throw yourself into the worse case scenario of what it is you're trying to affect that change within & upon"... and a great but endless, wonderful but hard-ass, road to change it is. Add age/years to what it is you're trying to change, and man oh man, it's like climbing K2 naked in a total whiteout without any sherpas nearby.
Obviously, we can elect to change at any hour of any day within any month... but tradition typically elects that day to begin on the first day of the new year. And as a sidebar to the nebulous idea of Change & Resolutions: another I tell myself often [so much so, I don't really ever say it to myself per se, having made it more into a part of me that's just there, inside me, as fact], and from time to time, my daughter: 'I don't really care about what anyone intends to do as much as I care about what they are doing'. Said differently, speaking of ones resolution disempowers it greatly. If it's important, and change is always important, then it really stays strong, pure & crystalline when it's kept inside versus Twittering or FaceBooking it out to 15 thousand people.
I, being I, find that things that most like, what I call The Popular, repulse me... so therefore I would never, personally as a point of being profoundly "Scott", never go the easiest, typical, predictable route: i.e. I'd never change a damn thing on New Year's. No, it's too base, not worth my time and frankly if I've got something big to undo and redo, I ain't having it tagged in with a zillion other people trying to change up their shit too. No way, Jose. Change is big, it's epic, it needs protecting... it cannot be exposed, similar to an infant, until it is strong, reliably mobile, and able to withstand the punishments of the outside world. Anything less than that is unfair to the act of Change... really, anything less is bullshit, jive & just more words to fill up a world already overfilled with hollow words.
For me, I picked Thanksgiving Day for change... and not for the reasons most might think either [I won't go into why other than to leave it with... personal metaphor].
I'll shutup after this:
The other reason people falter is this, Tradition & Traditions [at least I know I did for years because of it].
If the one day that many out their voice on what it is they are about to embark on to change, and it's also a tradition to say it that particular day, and that day is also widely accepted as the day to do such, well, 2+2... [it's the same -as above- with booze/parties, food/holidays & for the angry person: quelling that anger when not in an angered situation, etc... there is no real test for the testing of it, it gets canceled out].
So, what are my resolutions for '011?
I have none, and even if I did...
I wouldn't tell.
But I don't have any [at least on this day, for chrissake].