Odd Life

Aaron George
So, how did it come to this? I’m almost thirty, I’m drunk, and I’m sitting in a bar surrounded by people who don’t know what third wave ska was and why it was important. Everywhere I look is fashion I don't quite get, hairstyles that remind me of previous decades, a dank bar with Christmas lights, a tiny place packed to the windows with people I don’t know.

My friend and I stand there in the middle of this place, no room to sit, no room to walk, a pool table stands in the middle of the room like an island, cues like long palm trees that jab people in the back and spill their drinks, apologies are a constant.

In the air a nearly silent hum of a song plays, sounds like a woman singing, but you can’t really hear it over the sounds of bottles clanking and the multi-pitched static of people talking, dropping names, taking pictures that will end up on facebook with witty captions. My beer is almost empty, but a clear path to the bar is nonexistent.

My friend, probably noticing my discomfort, asks me if I want to go out back and smoke. I don’t, I want to light up right where I am, but I take what I can get and follow him as he magically carves a path through this corn maze of art school students and bohemians. Behind the building is like a toilet.

I sit and smoke as my friend talks to someone he knows. I hear them talking, they’re discussing music and my interest sparks. I stand to join the talking. My home. Familiar faces. Music. I am warm now, warm and drunk and life is okay.

Soon the discussion devolves into a show of peacock feathers. Band names like the raised hair of a beast fire from my friend and his friends mouths. Obscure bands with names that make no sense but have a catchy ring to them. Bands that sound intriguing but in reality are little more than sharp teeth for music lovers to show when they feel threatened.

“Oh god, I love xxxx xxxxx. Have you ever heard xxx? they sound a lot like xxxxx.”

I sit back down, the war rages on above my head.

Music rages on above my head. It’s been so long since a song has given me chills. Since the sounds people make with taught metal wire, sticks and wooden cylinders, and strained vocal chords has cracked my head open and played around with the way I think. It’s been long enough that I’m not even sure it’s possible anymore.

Back at the bar that night I understand that music is still my friend, it will be with me until I die to hear my concerns, comfort me, go out and get a beer every now and then and talk about nothing or anything. Music will always be my family. But, for now, it’s going to spend most of its nights with people whose chests are still heaving and skin is still spiked with vibrations. It’s nothing personal. It’s not me, it’s music. We can still hang out and stuff...Only now we will have to keep it to just friends.

“The downtown club scene ain't nothin’ like it used to be.”