The Decade in review part 13 (a very appropriate number) -or- the moment I hit Rockula bottom

I was set to go
I had my tax refund in my pocket which meant that I could coast for a few months until I got my shit together
After packing The Van to the tippy top (I am the best vehicle packer in the world when it comes to equipment) I say goodbye to my friends and head back down to Texas
The trip down was ominous because it was icy as fuck all the way to Kansas
I am extremely careful because I am in an overloaded van with bad tires
The cruise control is set and I am in the right lane hoping to god that no one zips up behind me and causes an accident
I have to worry about this because of the people zipping by me at normal highway speeds (well, the normal 20 mph over the speed limit, which is fine if you’re not driving on ice)
many of those people start to appear on the side of the road later on in various states of wreck
The road trip was the usual 17 hours of driving with cruise control (I would personally like to thank the person who invented it)

The plan was for me to get back to Dallas and re-assess my situation with Laura
She and I discussed the fact that we both had a break from each other and were trying to figure out if we wanted to be together
We had agreed to consider it when we parted ways the first time
She was seeing someone at the time and decided that she was going to stick with him
This was OK because I expected it
However, this meant that I was going to have to find a place to stay because I sure wasn’t going to get stuck 30 miles away in Keller at my mom’s or 15 miles away in Bedford at my sister’s
The gas alone would burn up my savings quickly
Laura is really upset in the Van because she was very torn between her new boyfriend and me
I do my best to be understanding and let her know that I’m not going anywhere
That’s when that statement becomes literal right on the busiest section of Central Expressway
My van just stops running and we coast to the side of the road
After getting The Van to Roy’s, we discover that it is the alternator
Now, I have changed a couple of alternator caps in my day, so I thought it would be no problem until Roy explained to me that an actual alternator is above my skill level
I realize this when he pulls a long rod with contact points all over it out of the heart of the engine
Looks like that’s $200 of my tax return gone (and that was the xtra low Roy price)

This is the exact moment where things go south
Now I have to find a place to live and I have no job
Then I run over a big chunk of blacktop in the pitch black parking lot of Lacey’s shitty apartment and it shatters my catalytic converter
Oh, did I mention that I just spent money in Minnesota to get my entire exhaust system replaced?
Let me correct myself
I shatter the NEW catalytic converter in The Van
Even with the “friend of Roy’s” discount at the muffler shop, I am now out almost $500 in repairs on The Van
And it all happened in the course of a few days of getting back

This is where I start to panic because none of my friends have any extra rooms
Sombra has moved out of The Swiss House and is couch surfing
I hope I can successfully accomplish that myself

That’s when I get a brilliant idea
The rehearsal studio
I still have storage there so I will just get one of the smallest rooms and just move the futon in
Plus, it is right outside of downtown so I will barely have to drive to find a job
It was a mere $125 a month
Laura promised me that I could shower at her apt any time I needed (even when she wasn’t there)

Meanwhile, I got a really shitty job at a pizza place in Deep Ellum working with some of the most passive aggressive Dallas people I have ever met
It kept me fed and barely paid
The worst part is that it also got me sick
REAL sick
It wasn’t until a week or so later that I called my mom and told her what colors I was coughing up
My mom the nurse informed me that I had pneumonia and I had better get my ass out of that rehearsal studio
Laura graciously offered me her couch
I immediately took a series of boiling hot showers

If none of you have ever been a musician that found yourself in the the dreaded position of “crashing at the space” then let me paint a picture
You are in a building that is not meant for human occupation
Luckily, I was in an incredibly well run and clean rehearsal studio
There are roaches like any building in Texas that has a high concentration of fast food wrappers and half full beer/soda cans in every room
The shittier studios are literal slum-like conditions with filthy carpet hung on the walls for sound dampening
You can tell it was taken off the same floor you are standing on because there are various stains from bongs, burns, and the outlines of various places where musical equipment has left dirty impressions on the carpet
Not to mention the stains of dubious origin
When you pull away the carpet, you find that the walls are filled with garbage and food/beer/soda because the previous occupants were lazy scumbag musicians
You go there to drink, get high, eat Jack in the Box and sometimes play music then you go back to your apartment (which is hopefully in better shape than the studio)
I’m sure you can imagine what the bathrooms are like in the shitty ones
Like I said, luckily I was in a very clean studio
This did not change the basic environment of a rehearsal studio which is that there is very little heat
Most bands generate enough heat whilst rehearsing or they bring a space heater
However, none of that really matters because we are talking about a Texas winter which is uncomfortable but will not actually kill you like Minnesota
Well, almost
The other situation is that the landlord is not required to provide hot water
What the fuck do you need hot water for?
To wash your hands?
This is painfully evident when having to bathe yourself

This brings me to a very important part of my story because it is the single moment when I had realized that I had hit rock bottom
Nothing humbles you like having to wash yourself in the sink of the rehearsal room where you are sleeping on a futon on the floor
The worst part of it is that there is a large mirror right in front of yourself
I saw a person that I had feared becoming
A 40 year old never-has-been

failure

My entire life had been spent trying to avoid that moment
But there I was, staring right at the sum total of all of my failiures
Shivering whilst washing himself in a bathroom sink with 25 cent towels he bought at the goodwill down the street
I looked like hell
I was sick as fuck
Worst of all
For the first time in my life
I wanted to give up

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