The Pace of Life

May 31st, 2021

They say life is a marathon, not a sprint. I do not know who this “they” is – perhaps Big Marathon – and I do not know what they have against sprints, but it seems not quite right. It feels to me like life is more like the Indianapolis 500 – every year or so you find yourself back where you started, and every so often, there’s a pit stop, and the last fifteen months have been the longest pit stop in recent memory. There are apparently these videos out on the Intertubes of fantastic pit stop crews changing all four tires in, like, three seconds, and all I can say is that the folks who have been changing society’s tires recently are not them.

Over the last several months, my wife, She Who Must Be Taunted, and I have settled into a comforting routine. I go to Trader Joe’s on Mondays; SWMBT goes to Market Basket on Thursdays. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, I go to Iggy’s for my favorite lunch (a speck and brie sandwich and a pecan crescent cookie, if you absolutely must know). On Thursday nights, right after Market Basket, we have fish for dinner, and on Fridays we order out from one of six restaurants within immediate driving distance. I work sometimes; when it’s sunny we head out for a walk or a hike. In the evenings, I watch the Celtics, or practice a little, or read a book. It’s about as unambitious as you could imagine, and I am here to tell you that I am going to miss it.

As I write this, the smell of burning coronavirus masks fills the Memorial Day weekend air. I’ve been on vacation over the last couple weeks, and my vaccination was final as of last Friday, and I’ve been running around like an immune decapitated chicken. We’re doing some home reorganization, so I’m building things and giving things away on Freecycle, and I got in touch with a bass player I met about 15 years ago to see if he can play on my next album, and I talked to my producer, and I sent lead sheets to my guitar player, and I had my first rehearsal with my drummer in more than a year, and an in-person singing lesson, and a glamorous haircut at my stylist in Wellesley (yes, I’m vain, have you met me?), and my annual physical, and we had my California-based cousin over for dinner, and this afternoon I took a two-hour nap, because I’m exhausted.

I do love being on stage, as anyone who’s seen me knows. But I also love these quiet evenings with SWMBT – the seduction of having nothing to do except stroll in the warm night air, rock gently on the porch swing watching the world go by, tuck in early to my wife’s comfy embrace. The expanse of time has been a gift – a guilty pleasure to be sure, given the havoc that the pandemic has wrought on our planet, and the wild injustices that it’s laid bare, but a gift nonetheless. I have Things To Do which have waited fifteen months for my attention: an album to record, the (eventual) return of the Somerville Songwriter Sessions, all the trips that SWMBT and I have postponed. And I truly want to do all of them. But that fifteen-month pit stop, man – it’s gonna be hard to hop back into the driver’s seat after getting to watch the world go by.

Vroom, vroom. Find me some tires.

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