Tits Out, Pants Down, Overnight to London

TITS OUT, PANTS DOWN,
OVERNIGHT TO LONDON

 I found my estranged grandfather in a Legion in Northwest Winnipeg by accident earlier this month. I’ve probably told the story about a thousand times since it happened. I haven’t heard from the guy since nor have I really thought about it, except when I’m inventing new ways to tell the story. Holding the right notes, shifting in my seat to key discomfort. Swearing. It’s ok, though, that I haven’t heard from him. Like I said the day it happened: I have had three good grandpas in my life, I don’t need a shitty one.

I saw Metric last night at the MTS Centre in downtown Winnipeg. Roommate G and Lady LKL got me into the gig for free. Weird thing is, had it been 2007, I would have paid full score to see that same show. I may have even driven to Calgary on a schoolnight with Your Man Solz and J just to get a glimpse (Fact: I actually did). But after thirty rattily minutes of an uninspired set we made for the exits like we had snuck-in.

Time shifts on all of us, imperceptibly. It’s like taking off a glove in a lot of ways, you can forget so quickly exactly what the air felt like a second ago as the new environment envelops you. How does it feel now? You might ask yourself. If you’re self-aware like that. I do, probably too often to be honest.

I wrote some time ago “When thinking about the way my life has gone lately I like to think it’s like an electric guitar that turned into a didgeridoo and then into a mandolin before it broke in half or something.” I kind of like that. I’m not so sure that I feel that way anymore.

No more was the shifting grounds of my life more obvious than from that barstool at the back of the arena. Smoke, flashing screens, cranked up synth, autotuned vocals, and oversensitive security guards with carpal tunnel wrist guards. I was not enjoying myself. Now this isn’t to say that I’m some cynical curmudgeon, because I love music and there is a spot reserved in my memory banks for Metric, Emily Hines and those summers from 2006-2009 when I chased after adulthood with punishing idealisms, arrogance, and more than a dollop of booze.

It’s fair to say, had it been 10 years ago, or so, I would have been in the pile of people standing down on the floor, completely immersed in the life of big stadium shows and twelve dollar beers, the lights, the noise, the gentle lolling of bodies to a show that might not have wowed me but I would have bragged about for years afterward. I drank to Death Cab for Cutie in a basement in the Alberta bush. I made out with a girl I loved dearly on dance floors across the prairies to Metric. And I sat up late at night listening to coastal rains on rented window panes trying to make sense of who I was with both bands within clicking distance.

But last night, I was an observer disconnected. An eyeball in the sky. Unaffected by the music, detached from the spirit. Ultimately, I was wondering what had happened to that boy who would have loved it.

Was I missing a part of me?
Was I that much different?
Who am I now?

Self-doubt is a poisonous thing, I’m not exactly sure where it comes from, to be honest. It’s like a nest, those spirals and twigs and little pieces of garbage all knotted together to make a little bed of insecurity. Somewhere between then and now, I moved through the hills and valleys of manhood, and I’m getting closer to the person I want to be.

And I think I’ve been holding back because of self-doubt, afraid of becoming another cliche dead-eyed face that looks the same as everyone else.

That’s an ugly insecurity to have.
I don’t know how to end this.

Tits out,
Pants down,
Overnight to London.

— tphillers

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