Stranded

Pandemic fatigue (and frustration) sets new bars to leap over or remain blocked by daily. Personal defeats seem tiny compared to planet wide distress. Little beams of hope stream in, but little waves of setback and slap down make the process less like swimming and more like treading water. Sick of walking through that slog. Someday soon, we’ll find a way through. But sometimes it still feels like…

The Songs Remain The Same…

Dear Music Friends,

With the world upside down and uncertain, your friendly neighborhood music scribe has NOT been ok. The past week and a half or so has been a roller coaster ride of grief, uncertainty and existential fear. I couldn’t write, I could barely make breakfast and get out of bed each day.

But you know what’s kept me going? You folks. Your resilience, your hope, your dogged perseverance. The daily feast of live music feeds, recordings, photos, art, and heartfelt day to day updates. You all are the heart and soul and pulse of this community and I’m honored to get to share that with others every week.

There will DEFINITELY be future Tucson Sounds columns  and I want to share your upcoming live feeds, new releases, quarantine thoughts and the like. Local music happenings, national music happenings, efforts to support our own, and dispatches from the front.

In the meantime, share those links and invites! Give me something to write about. I’m still here and still listening with every beat of my heart.

Peace, love and jellybeans,

JJP

Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

I’m a little afraid right now. Not so much of the virus but of the panic. Like lots of folks who are mostly healthy but have chronic underlying health issues.

There are a lot of us who are ok when society is functioning as normal but at risk for death or serious illness if the bottoms drops out. I’m one of them.

In my particular case: I’m missing 90% of my gut from the car accident that nearly took me out at age 16.

Usually this isn’t as scary or risky as it sounds. I adapt my diet to keep my electrolytes in balance. I snack a lot and drink a ton of water. I’m mostly as healthy as anyone else except for rods in my back and some fun looking abdominal scars and slightly bad teeth (calcium loss.)

A few times it hasn’t been enough and they’ve popped me into the hospital for a few days for IV replenishment. I always survive to tell the tale.

In the grocery-apocalypse, though…what if?

What if the hoarders clear out all of the meat and dairy and cheese and eggs and I can’t get enough protein? (I can’t digest whole grains or beans and nuts would literally kill me.) What if I can’t find the potatoes and orange juice and canned tomatoes that are my go to potassium sources? Or if I can’t get magnesium and B12 supplements?

In a post Coronavirus universe, my backup plan of “go to the ER and get an IV” might not be possible this time around. If there aren’t enough beds it might just be game over.

That’s the world we’re living in this week. And friends with diabetes or multiple food allergies or heart or liver disease are all in the same boat. And that boat is going over some rocky waters.

The beginning of the end (or, at least, the in-between)

I ran in to my writer friend at Trader Joe’s, because of course I did.

Because these days are strange and surreal and feel like the plot of a book, or at least an apocalyptic short story. We checked in with each other every few aisles to compare notes on the fascinating display of gonzo market research and social psychology that marked the scene.

The store was decently populated. Regular traffic, no more and no fewer shoppers than one can usually expect on a Friday night. But the place was unusually silent and the shoppers you’d run into were weirdly polite and vaguely uncomfortable, as if they felt guilty about coming to stock up on items or nervous that their fellow shoppers might be ready to attack at any moment.

The aisles had been haphazardly ransacked – items were alternately either fully stocked or completely missing in an almost nonsensical manner. Apparently, for some reason, you need all of the sliced cheddar, mild pico de gallo, tortillas and flatbread you can accumulate in the event of an apocalypse, but havarti or hot pico or french bread won’t do.

Almost all of the pasta was gone but none of the sauces. Deli turkey was awol but roast beef and pastrami were in plentiful supply. Butter? Gone. Olive oil everwhere. Ketchup gone. Mustard, mayo, not to mention things like horseradish aoli, were all fine.

No toilet paper, but tons of soap and dish detergent. I got the last package of facial tissues and the last bottle of multi purpose cleaner just in case of…I’m not honestly certain. Popcorn and chips and cookies and beer and wine supplies were normal.

Strange days, indeed.

Sunday after the omelettes and before the music…

New friends and old ones newly met are mirrors as much as input mechanisms. They serve to remind us who we are and where wish we were headed. 

A sort of course correction in the journey. And of course we do the same for them. And somewhere in the exchange, we each add a little bit more to our collective portfolio of experience  from each side of the equation. Gender rules and social norms be damned, by the way. I need no one’s permission to associate.

For those who might express concern or dismay at my Magdalen ways.

I am raising my children to be worthwhile human beings, but also worthwhile companions. Or so I hope to achieve. Rich input.

Interesting people and places and things. Sights and sounds. Shared jokes and observations. I think I am likely raising the ultimate well rounded hipster nerd queens in waiting.

Such a fucking hipster am I, myself, with my burgundy plaid and velvet slippers, leather jacket and Dr. Who scarf and shredded skinny jeans.

I am writing this on a typewriter app on my iPad right now is how hipster I am.

…And listening to vintage punk and New Wave tracks on Spotify. Mission of Burma and Johnny Thunders and The Nerves, The Waterboys, The Buzzcokcs, etc.

Rich input on a lazy Sunday, good food and old bookstores, family, friends, and songs to be sung until we are breathless and dizzy and full of hope.

Chaos, Faith and Ice Cream

Chaos, Faith and Ice Cream…

Some days the stress builds up in the back of your neck faster than you can breathe it out, faster than you can imagine ways in which everything will work out in the end.

Those of us whose strength is creating calm and stability can’t always stave the tide of chaos and panic that radiate from those around us.

Sometimes it knocks us down and we have to fight to gain the strength to rise back up.

You can’t make people have faith. But you can be a constant reminder of it. Faith in humanity or progress or the idea that life is ultimately more interesting than a lack thereof.

Ice cream, good music, and things that smell good are all fantastic aids in the faith restoration department.

Anniversaries

Ten years ago I lived in a different city where the default personality of my acquiantances and co-workers was largely incompatible with my own. Today I sit in a bar singing karaoke with strangers more or less accidentally and it seems about right. It’s been a while since I last felt surrounded yet lonely. September 11th ten years ago I felt that times a thousand.

Townes’s Blues…

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Ironically was reading a Townes Van Zandt bio when Amy Winehouse died. Some people wear their temporal lobes on their sleeves so the rest of us can have art. Who are we to say they can’t kill the pain for the sake of the song…