I woke up this morning overwhelmed with grief from the night before. Not as a consequence for anything I actually did, but for not doing anything at all. For sitting on my couch and in front of my computer and staring at the screen, any screen, letting myself be hypnotized by whatever images may flicker in front of my eyes. It isn’t like that isn’t something I do normally, lord knows my mind has been surrendered to the glories of aimless information most every night in the past few years, but last night at had plans. Firm plans. Big plans, even!
One of our labels is in town from Chicago and the owner, a world renowned house DJ who was, admittedly, a considerable influence on my musical style of DJing, was playing at a club in the west village. I spoke to him in the afternoon, as he was checking into a hip union square hotel to prepare for the gig. He plays all over the world, clocking about 5 grand a gig in Europe, 10 grand a gig in Spain, and 15 to 20k for a two-hour set in Japan. He only plays in New York once or twice a year, and its best to catch up with him while he’s here.
So the plan was to meet up with him at midnight, his set was from 1 to 4am, go over some business, discuss our respective professional futures, then head to the bar and get sloppy drunk while he beats down the house for a crowd of inner city twenty something up and comers, our target market demographic.
But I got off from the bar at 11 and then my friend, who was supposed to tag along and keep me company when a boring record came on or the night needed conversational fluffing, called to tell me they were running late. Fair enough, id just catch the DJ for a few minutes before he got on, we could shorten the business and make the night entirely casual, it’s really just the appearance that counts, right?
Suddenly its midnight and I'm leaning on the bar, the third pint of blue moon in my hand, talking about rock climbing videos with one of the regulars. My friend hasn’t called yet and I feel yawns and stretches swelling up inside me. I cut the conversation short and head home, figuring ill call my friend when I get there and we’ll meet up in front of the club at 1am, any interaction between the label and I limited to a handshake from opposite sides of the booth, but still my face is shown and I get to here some rough beats and have a few drinks outside of the bar I work in.
I called my friend and, as I feared, he finds the first opportunity to bail on our plans and seizes it with fierce determination. I didn’t even put up that much of an argument, I well understood. It was late. It was too late. We had missed the window; there was nothing we could do. It was 1am, going all the way to Manhattan for 2 hours of drinking and loud music no longer seemed inviting. The child in us had long been exhausted, and the adults we are were clearly diminished for the evening.
So I text messaged the DJ (taking the most passive route of communication) and told him I wouldn’t make it. I thanked him for putting me on the guest list. For validating my position in the music industry with an affirmative nod of recognition. Then, almost sarcastically, asked him what he was doing the next day. It was a feeble attempt at letting him know I really wanted to be there, but for a myriad of reasons completely beyond my mere human control, could not wrangle up the freedom to see him that night. A cowardly pack of lies on my part, but I'm not above that sort of shit.
So what did I do after? Instead of going out to a cool Manhattan club and frolicking with the cities nightlife elite? I smoked weed and played video games. Then when it got really late I ate a microwave burrito while watching tivoed episodes of King of Queens. In other words, I tossed out a chance to hang out with one of the world finest electronic acts, who actually wanted me to hang out with him, who had no problems sharing with me a exclusive glimpse into the lifestyle of the superstar DJ, a life I so desperately aspired to when I was young and howling my dreams above the city traffic, a life I felt I needed to lead, the life I thought I was destined for. Free liquor and club worship. The best drugs and hotel rooms. Sleeping until 2 in the afternoon. 2 in the afternoon! I was built for that lifestyle. And he was going to let me taste it!
Ahh, what a douche I am! What a jerk! An idiot! Lazy! Slothful! A fool! I woke up to these feelings. The feeling of regret. Of feeling that a part of your life has been wasted. Lost. What do I do all this for if I can’t reap the rewards?
So I gave the DJ a call and left a message explaining again in vague details, how I wish I could have made it but you know, what can I do, I just got so busy! Then I asked if he wanted to meet later and left my phone number, which I know he has already, to reinforce the grave urgency of our meeting. Then I walked to the coffee shop and got a large Jasmine Pearl tea and sat on the stoop sipping it while the sun washed away that icky sensation of regret and shame. Then I did my laundry and decided to write this.