What Dreams May Come
If you asked me to rank the days of the week and tell you what day is my favorite day to get in my car and rideshare, I’d tell you Sunday without hesitation. There’s nothing more peaceful than rising with the sun on a Sunday morning and doing a couple airport runs through the quiet streets of Philadelphia while most of the town is still fast asleep. It’s an easy day to get out of bed even if I’m working on even four or five hours of sleep.
Lately, the first thing I’ve been trying to do after waking up is attempting to write a haiku. If you don’t know by now, haikus or the ‘lazy man’s poem’ (as I like to call them) is a quick way for a busy guy constantly on the road, like myself. to express himself. My favorite way to post them is alongside a picture that I post on instagr(atification)am. Being somebody that lives to write and does not write to live it’s a good way of getting myself out to the general public. If you’re not under contract what’s the use of not sharing it. The freedom to share: in my opinion it’s one of the freedoms that makes America wonderful.
On this particular Sunday I was in a hurry to get out of bed. It was 10 minutes to 7 and I wanted to get out on the road. My Saturday had been a lonely one. Lonelier than usual. If it wasn’t for the fact I was able to keep myself busy, who knows what kind of devil’s playground I would have found myself stumbling in like many past lonely Saturdays. It was a blessing I was able to get to sleep as easily as I did the previous night. Loneliness can be very frightening. Especially when you’re somebody that has become so accustomed towards self-destructive ways to cope with the fear of being alone.
I was in a rush and I could not comprehend this bout of anxiety considering I should have been grateful for the fact that I was waking up well-rested on a Sunday morning in peace and completely in tune with myself. During my walk to the car, the effects of neglecting the peace I have with myself began to set-in. For a moment, I began to feel a little empty. When I feel empty, I begin to think and when I begin to think, I start. Thank God I found a parking spot near my house the night before. There’s a good chance I would have lost the strength to even make it to my car. But I did!
When I started my car, my radio is always turned to 88.5 WXPN. On Sunday mornings they play a very serene mix of music. Anytime I’m in a rush or elevated, the first song I hear always seems to force a couple deep breathes and provide a moment to contemplation that brings me back down. This past Sunday was no exception. Opening the door, I slumped into my beaten Nissan wishing I had a nicer car to offer my passengers. I adjusted my seat, stared straight into the mirror, and tried not to say “fuck you” to myself. Trust me, it was not difficult looking away. After starting my car, a song on XPN was ending as I turned the volume up on the radio.
My engine takes a couple minutes to warm up before a day on the road. Today it also gave me the time that was neglected by rushing out of bed. Sunday morning meditation in song. A good time to write a haiku. Get my mind back to a better place. Re-arrange my thought pattern. Just as the song on XPN was beginning, my Sunday morning song, the first picture I saw on my Instagram feed was a picture of my friend, a young transgender woman, out at a Philly nightclub earlier in the morning with one of her friends for PRIDE. I was not lying about waking up empty as a result of another weekend alone. For a long time, this particular friend had provided comfort to this void inside my heart. When the picture popped up on my feed, it hit me with a shot of joy. Since the days we’ve put a break in our friendship, the hardest part about letting go of her has been the reality I can no longer always be there for her. She was not a girlfriend but that does not take away from the love I have for her. Knowing that she is safe is all I need at this point to feel comforted as I get lost on my own journey learning how to conquer my own personal demons. Seeing her out being young, smiling, and having fun is an added bonus. I stared at that picture with a big smile in my heart. Not to take away from the pain and suffering I deserve as a result of my past actions but sometimes we need the easy way out of the darkness that lurks inside of us all. This picture was my easy way out and I’m not ashamed to admit it. We’re always looking for easy ways out. Some we’re ashamed to admit, others we aren’t. I have no shame in admitting that seeing the picture on social media of my friend out on the town happy and smiling was my easy way out of the pain I so often put myself through. And if today a brief shot of her smiling was a way out: so be it!
As the song was playing on the radio I noticed that it wasn’t much of a song. It was more like a demo but nonetheless it was beautiful. Looking it up on my phone I saw that it was from an album of Jeff Buckley demos (mostly cover songs) that were released earlier this year. The song, Dream of You and I, is not a traditional complete song, it is a fragment. While listening to the song I kept thinking to myself: why is XPN playing this on the radio? The fragment is among his best work but it is incomplete. It’s definitely the type of song you turn to while sitting back and listening to an album but not something you would hear on the radio. Not even on a station as diverse as XPN. I wanted to share the song on social media after listening to it but before doing that I searched it out on stream to give it another listen.
Buckley talks in the demo about the song being something that he dreamed. This made me think of my friend even more. Last week I wrote a poem for her, my previous post on this blog, after having a dream about her. In the dream I was outside of her closed bathroom door, trying to have a conversation with her while she was taking a bath. It’s a dream that drove me to contact her. It also reminded me of the consequences of her not being as prevalent in my life anymore. I could really connect with Buckley on using the dream experience to inspire a work of art. And the fact XPN played this song made me feel extremely lucky that I have such a wonderful radio station in my city. Thoughts of dejection that had been plaguing me upon waking up were completely reversed by a picture and a song. It’s amazing how something so basic and simple can have this effect on somebody like me. Somebody who overthinks and is complicated. But it still was not enough. I wanted to know why this particular song was on the radio. Was the programmer somebody that was honoring Buckley on the days following the anniversary of his death or was there something else motivating this song selection? Perhaps it wasn’t even a person choosing the song. It could have been a computer.
I will never know the motive. And within seconds after going online to post the song any speculation immediately went out the window after reading what was at that time a developing news story on what is now considered the worst mass shooting in US history. Upon getting the news of this massacre, I didn’t really know how to react. The only words in reaction to this news were the words: absolutely horrible. I began to feel the fear again. A fear that can result in worry when despicable acts like what happened this past weekend occur. And for a second I contemplated not even working on my favorite day of the week to work…on this Sunday in particular where I would most likely be giving rides to many members and allies of the LGBTQ community to and from the PRIDE day festivities that were set to go off in Philadelphia. However being that I’ve seen how strong and resilient many people of this community are in times of adversity I had faith in the fact that by going home and not working, I was letting all the people in my life that had excluded me for being an ally, all the bullies, all the cowards, from an idiot on Facebook to the crazed gunman…win.
I also knew that if there is any community that shows courage in the face of adversity, it is the LGBTQ community. And on Sunday I was moved by how the community came together after such a horrible hate crime, to celebrate who they are. A community I’ve come to admire over the years in how each individual member thrives in the face of adversity. I drove many people that day going to and from PRIDE. People of all shapes, sizes, and demographics. And despite all their differences, they share one thing in common apart from many people not part of this community, courage. They made me, in my fragile emotional state, proud not only to be an ally to the community but more importantly to be a member of the human race.
Below is the song by Jeff Buckley and if you want more of a taste please stream this wonderful posthumous release of demos titled: ‘You and I’