Chi came up with a great idea, and this time it’s actually a perfectly practical, plausible one, if he can only manage to overcome his inveterate need to sabotage everything.
Listen while you read to “Natsukaido” (“Summer Highway”) from the album “10 Strings” by the Panache Orchestra – a piece about the not-always-ideal choices people sometimes have to make for their own survival
Late April, 2012
Since this post. Chi joined the union AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), which immediately thereafter merged with SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and became SAG-AFTRA. He was already SAG-eligible (that’s a whole to-do in and of itself, and way beyond the scope of this post), and I think I’ll leave it at that since going into a long explanation of why that is relevant seems extraneous to the purpose of this post.
Well, suffice it to say that as soon as he joined the union, after getting one booking immediately afterward, the work abruptly stopped. We had already been cautioned about this very likely outcome by an industry insider, so I wasn’t surprised at all (come on, it’s simple common sense! There aren’t as many jobs at the higher pay scale, and further to that, if they’re going to pay you the big bucks, you’d sure better have your shit together and be prepared to compete effectively with long-term professionals, and in L.A., that means being able to communicate in passable English and having professional headshots – two prerequisites for getting “representation”, i.e., signing with an agent, which is apparently necessary to get any significant work), but Chi seemed surprised and disappointed. I tried….
Anyway, back he went to spending all day while I was working the day job to support the whole house sitting in his room trawling the internet for bad news to douse me with toxic negativity over when I came home every day. One day, presumably while he was high, he came up with what in my opinion was the best idea he’s had yet: that he take Gureyo with him (well, even though it’s interesting concept-wise, I wasn’t too keen on that part of it since I have grave reservations about his ability to be intelligent about it!), pile his hand percussion instruments, bass and some sound gear in the truck and go on a solo tour playing those instruments along with our “10 Strings” CD and live stream the whole thing to promote our music.
To be honest, virtually anything that gets him out of the house for extended periods of time and gives me a break from his constant, toxic negativity and mentally sick, drug-addicted behaviour, and from him being so oppressively dependent on me for everything is always a fantastic idea as far as I’m concerned, but what made this idea so extra-good was that he will have to take the initiative to set up and play in various public spaces and do all the face work and logistics himself instead of making me do it all for him, and he just might develop some basic adult competence and independence and responsibility in the process.
It has always bugged the hell out of me that he seems absolutely convinced that some sort of fairy godmother record deal is just supposed to magically fall out of the sky into his lap and he will automatically become an overnight sensation without ever lifting a finger to do anything on his own to make that happen, and I just want him to realize that he has to get up off his indolent, entitled ass and go out and DO SOMETHING to have impact on other people and give them a reason to support his success, instead of just sitting there waiting for somebody else to give him permission to perform (i.e., book us in a major venue and do all the work to amass a big audience for us and pay for everything). IF YOU WANT TO PERFORM, THEN JUST PERFORM!! And if you’re any good, then the rest should more or less take care of itself. I’ve already done the heavy lifting to put the infrastructure in place to support and optimize “the rest”. Yeah, I know, you’re terrified of any possibility of success since it would mean that you will have to perform consistently and reliably, i.e., act like a professional, and interact with people in English (God forbid!); and you will be criticized, and things might not happen instantly or play out in the exact way that you want them to with absolutely no uncertainty, etc., etc…..
During appetizers yesterday evening he just harangued me for at least an hour, throwing out every excuse in the book as to why this can’t possibly work, and all sorts of deranged nonsense (and he wasn’t even drunk yet at that point!), doing his usual thing of creating disasters that don’t in fact exist, spewing toxic negativity all over the place, etc., etc., but once he got high and started doing his personal practicing, he got back on track with the idea and even said that it might not be best to bring Gureyo along after all, for which I was relieved.
While he is gone, I will of course be doubling down and working quadruple time on making more progress with my War on Hideousness (ghetto home improvement projects), furthering my progress with all sorts of techie stuff such as recording engineering, video production, live streaming, web design; and hitting my own personal “reset” button: doing a cleansing fast to drop some surplus avoirdupois, getting back on track with my spiritual and personal instrumental practice, exercise, dealing with various desperately overdue organization projects, etc. Grand aspirations for a very limited amount of time again. I do however have a much more advanced skill set with the house projects now though since the Great Demolition Operation of July 2011, so those should proceed more quickly and smoothly than before. The high tech stuff will most likely be the big time consumer this time. Oh, and I do hope to be able to work in some quality face time with friends too since that’s in critically short supply in my regular day-to-day existence.
My biggest hope is that Chi’s tour will be at least successful enough to encourage him to try it again, and then that will build upon this one, and then I can see this working out in a way where we can both be happy doing what we want to do, and all sorts of things will dramatically improve because of it. As the days go by, he continues to blow hot and cold about it, usually getting excited about the idea when he’s high, and then being negative about it when he’s sober (Imagine that!).
In fact, we actually ran a trial for this experiment at a gig this week, i.e., playing our “10 Strings” CD on our sound system and playing other instruments along with it (Chi on percussion, me on bass). Without going into a long-winded description of what all was wrong with using this as a test case for Chi’s concept, let’s just say that it didn’t turn out quite as well as we would have hoped, which I think is more because we just decided to try it on the spur of the moment and things played out in a way where we had no time to do a sound check and had just thrown the whole thing together right before we left for the gig (i.e., ridiculously inadequate preparation), rather than the concept being faulty.
Anyway, Chi was all too happy to pounce on that and go off on another big trauma-drama about how this can’t possibly be successful, yada-yada-yada. I gave him a hard push during dinner last night with the intention of getting him to understand that he has exhausted my tolerance for his refusal to make any respectable effort to become viable and earn his keep, basically telling him that he’d better get busy and figure out a way to bring in some money — if not doing music, then get a regular job bussing tables in a restaurant — or I’m going to leave him (I have very seriously had enough of this!), which of course set him off on another diatribe about what a horrible person I am (But of course! It’s always singularly and exclusively MY fault! He’s just the poor, helpless little special needs child victim.), etc., etc. What-the-fuck-ever….
Ironically enough, this was my horoscope for today (April 26):
“Recent confusion may trigger open conflict today, yet a passionate discussion can clear the air of ill feelings and lead to an unexpected agreement. However, you might develop resentment if being stuck in a debate prevents you from reaching your goal. Trying to sell your solution now only widens the gulf. When you acknowledge the differences instead of avoiding them, antagonism will morph into cooperation and common ground can be established.”
He is in the final stages of preparing for his tour and tonight during appetizers he started up at me again, trying to push all the responsibility for everything onto me, demanding that I make the decisions for him, etc., naturally so he can blame it all on me when it turns to shit due to his sabotaging behaviour and refusal to be responsible. We’ll see what happens….I’m tired of saying that. This time I need to have a concrete plan that if he fucks this up, the next step is to divorce him and wash my hands of this misery. Life is much too short and too precious to waste like this!
After a ridiculous ordeal of packing the truck and preparing to leave (he’d planned on bringing more stuff along than would reasonably fit in the truck, and a technical thing (long, complicated explanation) didn’t work properly, so he had to completely retool), he finally left, quite late in the day that was one day later than he’d planned on, but in good spirits. He was going to spend the first couple days staying with a mutual friend in Flagstaff, Arizona and start the tour under the supervision of our friend to help him get acclimated, then carry on south through Phoenix and Tucson, and eastward to Texas and possibly further, depending on how things went.
Well, they didn’t go so well, and it wasn’t his fault. He got out of the boat and made his best effort to walk, but the sea was very rough and the boat was having technical difficulties. This report was independently corroborated by our friend that he stayed with: after going through a tremendous ordeal to get all set up and ready to play in a public location in downtown Flagstaff, it was late afternoon and very windy, and few people were around, and then the self-powered PA he had brought crapped out after only 10 minutes (it was working perfectly well at a gig we used it at a few days earlier, and was fully recharged – it’s battery-powered, and there was apparently something wrong with the additional battery we had just installed in it on Friday), and he couldn’t get it to work again. Also, Pink had taken a turn for the worse, and he called me Tuesday early evening to say that he was planning on driving home that night. He had arrived in Flagstaff in the middle of the night on Sunday, and the failed performance attempt took place on Monday, so on Tuesday our friend had taken Chi on a sightseeing tour up through Navajo country in the north around Page, and Chi couldn’t see much sense in staying another night.
Chi called me in a panic at about 2:30 Wednesday morning to guide him in since the 10 Freeway was closed down at the 605 and he didn’t how how to get the rest of the way home. It was fortunate that he got home by Wednesday morning since we had to take Pink back to the hospital for his chemo treatment, but unfortunately it seemed that our friend had filled his head with negativity about what he was doing with his plan for the tour and how he was going about it, which he regurgitated all over me at dinner that night. Blech! As creative as Chi is at making excuses for not doing things, I find it impossible to believe that he came up with that particular material on his own. It did indicate, however, that his English comprehension is improving.