Thursday, December 5, 2013

Think Kit #5: Talkin' To Dudes 'Bout Life

Interviewing people is kinda weird. There, I said it. I don't talk on the phone much anymore, so conducting these interviews via email felt natural–I hope that's not indicative of the socially-fractured society we now live in. So it goes.

I chose to ask three dudes about their year. But since dudes don't generally dig too deep, I wanted to probe a little further...and get some sensory details about their experience. If we're talking memorable moments, nerve receptors had better be tingling, and I hoped their brain cells could recall, somewhere deep in the blizzard of everyday life, how each moment felt.

Apologies in advance for my paltry introductions. Here we go!

ALEX: Indianapolis brewing buddy, coffee connoisseur, basement painter, and all-around Cool Dad. That picture isn't Alex, but it is his bappir. Alas. May our next creation go more smoothly.

sound: confusion 
taste: spicy
smell: sweet
color: marigold
ONE: Sparging with a kitchen strainer the only batch of beer brewed this year, an ancient sumerian ale. This beer, albeit its eventually doom, taught me about ingenuity, Yats' IOU policy, and failure.

sound: distorted 
taste: dry
smell: sweaty
color: grey
TWO: The drive in which I called my boss and quit my job. There is nothing fun about this moment. This moment was a sobering minute in which the future, the past, and present collided. There are moments I feel I made this decision justly in pursuit of dreams.

sound: sharp
taste: earthy
smell: bright
color: pink
THREE: The hiss of the brakes of my sons bus for the first time. He was with his 2 year old sister looking at bugs underneath the some breaks in the sidewalk at our bus stop. With his back pack askew, the bus almost an hour late, his fingers caked in dirt, and his shorts grass stained he eagerly steps on the bus.

KYLE: South Bend motorcycle man, working class guitar-slinger, extremely-well-read beard-grower. We were in Portland this year at the same time and had beers across the country. I highly recommend you do this activity with Kyle.

sound: dylan
taste: bud
smell: skunk
color: red
ONE: I saw Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Morning Jacket with two of my best friends at Toyota Park in Chicago. When we got there, we were informed that something was wrong with our tickets and they directed us to a grim looking security guard in a red blazer. We were surprised when he told us that we had received free ticket upgrades. We spent the rest of the show, four feet from the stage, drinking cheap beer and inhaling second hand marijuana smoke as we got our balls rocked off.

sound: ghost songs
taste: apple moonshine
smell: end of summer
color: black
TWO: An old friend of mine, and one of the best young guitarist I've ever known, was found dead from a drug overdose in his apartment just before Labor Day. His funeral took place at his family farm in Michigan, on a beautiful day, and hundreds of people came to say goodbye. We drank apple-pie flavored moonshine, courtesy of his Uncle, and stood in the yard listening to his ghost sing us all of the songs he had recorded in the last fifteen years of his life. He will be missed.

sound: wind
taste: sweat
smell: sunscreen
color: burnt red
THREE: For my thirtieth birthday, I took a motorcycle trip which included stops in Chicago, Iowa City, Omaha, Kansas City, St. Louis and Indianapolis. After driving for several hours each day, beneath the blistering August sun, I'd arrive at my destination reeking of sunscreen and sweat, eyes stinging from the wind. I'd spend the rest of the evening with old friends, eating and drinking at their favorite places in the city.  On the last day of the trip, I realized that I'd been wearing a pair of blue jeans with a rip in the knee and had neglected to apply sunscreen. I ended up with one of the worst sun burns of my entire life; to this day (several months later), my knee is still abnormally red where it was exposed to the sun. 

TYLER: Chicago copy maestro, fellow English-degree holder, budding songwriter (for real), past roommate, Man of Action and Taste. He's shown on the beach that you'll soon read about, an experience so sublime that all I can say is ...

Sound: Irresponsibly loud guitars
Smell: Sweat, beer, and polyester
Taste: That PBR tang
Feel: Microphone on the lips
ONE: Playing my first-ever rock show.

It took until I was nearly 30 years old, but I finally realized every high schooler's dream: singing in a band with my best friends. On a bright blue day in October, the boys of Wooves and I shredded our way through five quick songs that felt way more monumental than they actually were. Was it music history? Nah. Will I do it again? As soon as humanly possible.

Sound: Nature's greatest white noise machine
Smell: Seabreeze
Taste: Saltwater and sweat
Feel: Toes in the sand
TWO: Conquering an abandoned beach on the PCH.

When all that separates you from the Pacific Ocean is a massively steep trail and a shoddy guide rope, you just have to grab the rope, take cast one last look toward the California blacktop, and get to tumblin'. Fortunately, my feet were true and the outcome was worth it: standing at the edge of the waves, arms crossed in victory, staring up at my ant-sized friends at the top of the bluff.

Sound: _Alopecia_ by Why?
Smell: The forest in early autumn
Taste: Apple cider
Feel: One hand holding another
THREE: Exploring Door County in love.

I met a girl this year. I fell in love with the same one. I think I realized it was real on a trip we took to Wisconsin. As we picked through antique stores and hiked through the towering trees, I felt that old flicker and found some major pronouncements closer to the tip of my tongue than first imagined.

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