Sometimes, I’m not the brightest of people.
On a whim, I called up Anna, and as always, I got her answering machine. I haven’t heard her voice in almost a year, I think. I’m not completely certain of that timeframe, but I believe it’s accurate. So I’m talking to her answering machine, and I say something like “I’m starting a new life in Vegas. I’m saying goodbye to a lot of things that I’ll miss. But I miss you the most – and I hope that we can be friends again. If you miss me at all, please email me, or call, or text me... If not, then I’ll try to leave you alone.”
Of course, being me, there was a lot more stammering and William Shatner like pauses, but that was the gist of it. And of course, she didn’t email me, or call, or text. Which means I have to try to leave her alone.
I rarely ever give up on anybody. Though passions may fade, or friendships grow distant, I still care very much about all my friends and lovers from the past. But that’s not normal, I think. It’s perhaps not healthy, either, since I feel a responsibility to all those I care about to try to make their lives as wonderful as mine has become. And I’m coming to grips with the fact that I can’t change anybody’s life. And I’m learning that for some people, a memory is all they want me to be.
Knowing it doesn’t make me any less sad about it, though. And I still wish I had the power to make people happier, to make their lives more meaningful, and to lift the obstacles out of their paths. And I mourn for those friends who have put me behind them. I am not grieved so much for their sakes, but for my own. My life was ever the richer when Anna was a part of it, and Andrea, and Heather, and Sarah, and Melody, and all the others that have disappeared along the way. But I am trying still to learn how to give up on them.
My life is in an interesting period of transition. I’m starting to let go of the thought of becoming famous – it seems ever less likely each year that goes by. I still have every intention of trying, but I spend less of my emotional energy in that direction. Ironically, this is happening while I am expanding my abilities musically, and my career is becoming increasingly more prosperous.
I am in Vegas, and the dueling pianists here are phenomenally good. And I’m good enough to be one of them (barely). I still have a lot of work I need to do on my show, but I’m not completely and totally out-classed (just mostly). Which is reassuring. The pay here is the best I’ve encountered, and the environment wonderful. All of the sudden, though, I’m a little tiny minnow in a huge, huge freakin’ pond.
So I have every intention of growing as fast as I can.
Last year around this time, I got an emotional charge out of walking up and down Bourbon St. in New Orleans, and realizing there weren’t a whole lot of musicians that I felt were significantly better than I was. I felt like maybe I was ready for the Big Time. Well, Las Vegas is certainly the Big Time, but walking up and down the strip, I haven’t heard a whole lot of musicians that weren’t better than me. The talent pool here is just that good. But if I can make it here, then...
The other option is playing on a cruise line. I’ve gotten an offer that is hard to turn down. So I may not. But either way, it’s looking like leaving New Orleans is going to be good for my career.
Still, I miss George and Amy a lot (fellow Pat O’s players). I miss Katie immensely, and I somehow feel in my gut that our lives are unlikely to be so close again. And there’s no denying that I had something magical in New Orleans... Living on Bourbon St., playing at the world’s most famous dueling pianos bar... It was special, and worthy of many fond remembrances.
I told Anna a little over a year ago that I was going to get in shape, and I did. I told her that I was going to take dancing lessons, and become a good dancer, and I did. I told her I was going to get my finances in better shape, and I did. I told her I was going to fix up a little apartment in the French Quarter with a courtyard, and I did. But I didn’t do these things only to impress her; they were the next step in becoming the man I want to be.
And now it’s time to set new goals, and I think I know what the next steps are. I’m going to become debt-free, and start by paying off my long delayed college loans. I’m going to continue my efforts to eat healthier, and exercise well. I’m going to learn to speak Spanish, because I think it would be highly useful. I’m going to get back into the martial arts, and possibly take up sword fighting. I’m going to continue my dancing lessons. I’m not bad, but I want to be able to take a girl Salsa dancing, and just impress the hell out of her.
These seem kind of like “New Year’s Resolutions,” which I’ve never been in the habit of making. But this is truly a new year for me. Not just an arbitrary date on a calendar, but a genuinely new beginning in my life.
The older I get, the more I cherish life, and fun, and friendship, and love. No, I don’t anticipate falling in love again. But if I do, it will have to be an incredible, incredible girl to top the ones I’ve fallen for before. So I’m going to try to become the type of man that is worthy of such a girl. If she never appears, then I’m still a better man for it.
Life seems so short, and so fragile. I want to spend every second of it growing, and becoming a better person, and enjoying each breath. That seems the only decent way to repay God for the wonderful gift of life itself. I don’t ever want to have wasted it.
You only get one shot at life, and I’m going to give it everything I have.
Talk to you later,
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