Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Having children is like crossing this line and joining most of the world in a club so universal that nothing I can say about the experience or what I am thinking or feeling does any real justice to anything, or adds newly discovered profound stuff. But I can’t help but notice certain things that have already changed quite a bit since Willow was born, and they were changing anyways so I can’t blame her completely.
Here is the first biggie: you will lose a lot of your friends, but not because anyone did anything. I have noticed that a lot of people who don’t have children, will no longer hang out with you if you have children. Dale Crover says it is funny because “at the time where you need people the most they are nowhere to be found”, even adding that one of his wife’s good friends stopped talking to her altogether after her first child was born. There is some truth to what he says. It is kind of weird, and you will be so busy that you won’t notice it too much, but it happens. So soon you have to find some like minded couples who also have children to hang out with because God only knows you won’t be seeing your bar buddies or your music friends again anytime soon. Unless they too have children with someone down the road at some point in time and rest assured you will be seeing them soon.
That is the weirdest part. Having children means that you aren’t really going to hang out at bars and strip clubs anymore (It was a huge sacrifice for me, but that comes later in about seven years). Instead, you are going to center your universe around this tiny little bald helpless person who cries a lot. Or you should. I try. That doesn’t mean that I always do the right thing because I am still the same jerk I was beforehand. The clouds didn’t part when I saw Willow’s face and everything magically fell into place but I think I have adjusted okay for the most part. I think that actual greatness is going to come a little bit later once I can grow a little more into the father role. You see, I don’t have milk giving boobies and it is like Carole’s boobs are chained to Willow’s mouth. They belong to her, and no one else.
She is carrying the main load here with Willow. Plus if you think about it hormonally, what does the whole birthing process do to any woman? You get big, your body changes, you go through all of these things, then you actually give birth. It looks like it hurts. A lot. No man will ever go through that. And then even after all of that, there is no break, your body is spent, you have no sleep, and you want to kill the father of your child at times because of the hormones, because we are sitting around doing nothing, and not having boobs to help out. Plus we say dumb things like, “Is there anything I can do? Do you need anything?”
It is joyous but it is hard at times though; sometimes I don’t feel like doing anything either. Now that I am a parent and father with Carole, it makes me wonder how ANYONE could stay together with children no matter what. Relationships are tough and ever-changing and they are twice as tough with children. I can see why people run away and leave their families. I can see why people flip out and lose their minds. For every child that grows up to be James Hetfeild and is able to take their father abandonment and make millions of dollars, there are plenty of others with the same issues that aren’t so lucky. You have to fight hard to be selfish, you know you can’t do that crap anymore, you lose all of your strip club bros and instead of having fun and serving your needs, you change lots of diapers instead and drop everything when the baby cries.
And in the process, my universe has been shrunken down to five, maybe six locations. Honestly, that is it. In one day, I cover a lot of ground with these five possible destinations.
What are they? Glad you asked:
THE GAS STATION DOWN THE STREET FROM MY HOUSE: I try and center my chartered trips around getting gas at the Handee Hugo’s down the street from where I live. One might be able to refer to this place as the “filling station”. Sadly, I am a frequent visitor of the gas station down the street but hey pal that’s life, and I try and deal with it. Gas is expensive everywhere else, anyways.
THE SONIC DRIVE THROUGH DOWN THE STREET FROM MY HOUSE: Conveniently located right next to the Harris Teeter that I also frequent, the Sonic Drive Through is a popular smash for the entire family: crappy yet satisfying corn dogs and Egg and Cheese Breakfast Burritos for Noble (just handy for leaving the house late for school/wanting to kill/missing breakfast altogether moments), Lime Aids for the rest of us. Bags of ice are also on sale there, which we do buy. I am here at least twice a week. Even though I have never stopped there to actually eat, it is also like a filling station.
PROJECT ENLIGHTENMENT: Noble’s school. He goes to a great school and the other kids and their parents are all great too. We have met some nice people there. Most of them have brought us food after the baby came which was really nice of them. The only drawback to this is from a selfish standpoint, I wish it was longer than three hours a day. Which you know…sort of sucks.
CUP A JOE: For better or worse, after all of these years I still like to hang out at this coffee place in Raleigh, and nowhere else. Still the only place you can go for coffee that offers a panoramic view of all types of weirdos; brain damaged hippies clash head to head with agro punk stereotypes while you will enjoy watching the curious “nubile girl who hugs everybody” types parading by. Plus the coffee is still decent, cheap and I can get a lot of work done if I get “in the zone”. Thought about bringing the baby there but it is too early to expose to something like that. I’ll wait. Some people that come in with children are sneered at by some of the sullen regulars.
WHOLE FOODS MARKET, KILDARE FARM CARY NC: For a change, I am going to keep my mouth shut tight about where I work. Yes, it is a job. David Menconi, a locaI music writer did a nice write up on me for my last book but had to mention where I worked in the article by name and I sort of felt violated (nothing against David, mind you). Anyways, I spend a good about of time here, what else has to be said? Everyone needs to make money to pay the bills. I am trying out for a signmaking position is the store. Wish me luck. Next.
DOUBLE NEGATIVE PRACTICE ROOM, CAPITAL BLVD, RALEIGH: The mecca. The home away from home. The chance to blow off steam, act like a jackass, play some music and get fucked up kind of. What can be more perfect than still playing this band in your mid forties? Playing means more now than it ever has.
My only other social outlets that I have time for are either computer driven or Double Negative gig driven…yeah I know. But now I really have an excuse. It is great to see people though. Going out to play a show is like going on vacation these days. I feel like I am in the Bahamas when DN played at Slim’s in downtown Raleigh recently as I chatted with fellow father Ian Shannon or talked about Sixteen Horsepower with Mary Lovell Hall or when I drove Ethan Smith home after the show. Seriously.
The only thing I need to work on is taking the revolving door out of that doghouse. I am in and out of that thing just a little bit too much recently. I have done something admittingly stupid shit that if I had thought about for more than two seconds, things would have been different. For example:
If you let a five year old ride in the front passenger seat to school because you are too lazy to fix van seats and lock them into place, you might as well strap him to the roof of your car with yarn and hold on tight. Plus, there is the chance the five year old will get mad at you and then rat you out to a very angry mom. Not that I am speaking from personal experience, mind you. I think I managed to have spent the last week doing nothing that could be considered life threatening or dangerous to my children so that is almost a milestone.
So, to end this:
Life sure is different. And time has really crawled by. Last year, for a variety of reasons was the slowest year of my life, and it wasn’t even just Willow coming. Quit one job, found another, went on tour with the Melvins for two weeks, did a lot of Double Negative shows including flying to Chicago and going to Europe, being perpetually broke, the usual up and down mood swings etc etc….a lot was going on. Since Willow has come along, everything still seems really slow. I mean slooooow. It really has seemed that way.
However, she will not be a baby for a long time, so I want to remember her nursing my nose and other cutey pie things like that.
Posted by brian walsby at 2:49 PM