Friday, September 5, 2008

Part 3 (or, what is: Flying to Tomorrow)

First, I’ll tell you about the first time I was a rock star.

After some not so subtle hints, I got an electric guitar when I was 12. I was quickly playing three notes to a Nirvana song over and over in my room; and I just as quickly became the envy of my friends. Soon after, Lane got himself a guitar and the snowball picked up great speed. Their dad played various types of percussion, so it’s understandable that Tyler was the one assigned to the drums. John, being last, was stuck with the bass. Thus, the birth of the supergroup: Misfit. (Yes, yes, I know. Not Them. We didn’t know about all that.)
It made perfect sense back then, but, looking back now, I don’t have the slightest clue as to how we were able to do all we were able to do. I remember the first time we played together, and played through our first song in its entirety. I think it was Lane who found the chords to some praise song laying around the church. Lane and Ty’s parents happened to have friends over at the time; lucky for them, the visitors, as well, were called up to the small bedroom for our first performance. I know it comes with the territory of parenthood, but it is still some kind of gift, an action not easily performed by anyone below the rank of parent: as the praise song came to completion, their praises for us began to ring through the room. With big and honest smiles on all the ‘elderly’ (anything above 18) faces, they spoke about how great it was to see our energy, our drive, and that we all played every note as one without any mistakes (just a little white lie..). We were so good, in fact, that we soon became the regular act each and every Wednesday night, playing praise songs at the beginning of junior high youth group - no more than three, but no less than two songs each time. We were popular with the crowd; or, at least, known by the crowd. This popularity had to be the reason why the four of us were invited to join a small group of adults on a trip to Costa Rica, where Misfit would play each day for a group of kids attending a VBS we were putting on. It was nothing short of a world-tour.
...Forgive me for remembering the glory of our fame; and now, back to the point.
Besides the church fame and international stardom, we also picked up speed, making our name known in Muskogee county. There was a group of people who had their different bands. A name was made up for this blossoming organization, compiled of about 5 or so bands - and a number of fans who wanted to be close to the starlight. This group organized shows in the surrounding areas, and it wasn’t uncommon for Misfit to be invited as the opening act. We all liked thinking that Misfit was just the right fit. Another band who played the circuit was Just The Right Touch. This was how I met Jerrad, one of the band members.
Misfit finally got around to realizing that we didn’t have much more than three chords to offer, and we disbanded. It wasn’t until years later when I was reminded of the glory days.
I had a small crush on a friend (needless to say, I was too chicken to do anything about it) with whom I spent a fair amount of time a few years ago. The thing is, two of her close friends were in some form of relationship with two other rock stars from the past; one was dating the Jerrad I mentioned up above. It was good meeting up with these guys again. The group would get together from time to time for dinner and board games. One detail is, Jerrad’s girlfriend (who turned out to be fiancĂ©e, who will soon be wife) is Japanese. Because of this, we’d have Japanese dishes from time to time. That was a nice touch.
A couple years ago Jerrad and is one-day bride moved to Japan once she finished school here. I lost contact with them.
Phew! That took some time, but we’re now caught back up to the present. (I tried to throw in a reference to Marty and some gigawatts; really, it just turned out stupid, so I dropped it.) But before we go into the meat of Part 3, a recap of the previous 2: the first occurred as a result of a whisper in my ear telling me to think about a move to Joplin, MO. Once my mind was made up, this came to a halt “under a bridge downtown” with a screeching, “Wait.” The second started with a phone call and offer, and ended with Mark Moore’s voice vibrating against my leg and ringing in my ear. Again, “Wait.” Part 3 begins this last Monday as I was driving back to Tulsa and enjoying the company of a friend by way of a phone conversation.

It was over a month of hit and miss, but finally Whitney and I were able to find time to have an extended conversation, playing catch-up, since it’d been so long since we last talked. The conversation turned out to be mostly centered around my current situation and state of mind: not having a job, not satisfied with school, not pleased with my living arrangements. I told her about the times I’d been told Wait before, and how I’ve grown to expect that word, grown to be content with staying put for who knows how long. Speaking figuratively as I’m passing through Broken Arrow, I tell Whitney I’m to a point where I can stay put in Tulsa for 10 more years if that’s the way it works out. I’m fine with that idea. But I’m also to a point where, if something drops out of the sky, I can be packed and ready to leave five minutes after I arrive home.
We talk a bit longer. We start setting up a time and place to meet for dinner before we say goodbye. Ten minutes after I get home I check my email.
I had noticed earlier that day that my sister-in-law had made a comment on my web page, asking if I had found a job yet. That was random. I saw from the subject line that this new email is from my friend Jerrad, the ex-rock star, current Japanese settler. I open it and read on. He says he is still working at a language institute, and is now the guy in charge of hiring new English-speaking teachers. He writes that he just happened upon my site, just happened to notice that I’m between jobs, there just so happens to be an open position, and, as it turns out, it just so happens that he had been thinking about me. He said if I wanted to find out more to give him my number and he’d call. I entered it and hit send. My phone rang 15 minutes later.
There are some more details, but I’ll cut them out and get to the essential. I officially dropped out of all my classes yesterday. I’m working on selling my car. I’ve already sold some big pieces of furniture. Everyone, EVERYONE, I’ve talked with are 100% for it. My mom is totally for it. My dad didn’t have a moment of hesitation. My brother called me at the command of our mom and I told him of the offer. He said, “I’ll tell you this: act on the things you know you would regret not doing if you passed them up. Alright, I gotta go. Bye.” (We’re good at cutting to the point while on the phone.)
Everything fell into place in a day. Within 24 hours, the decision was made to drop out of school, sell next to everything I own, and fly to the other side of the world where I’ll be living for at least 1 year.
Really, no one I spoke with who’s known me for even a short while wasn’t that shocked. I’ve been talking for years about how I planned on living in another country for some time sometime in the future. I’ve been saying for years that I plan on learning another language, not knowing exactly which one to learn. Looks like we have a winner. Japanese it is. A departure date will be set in a couple days and a ticket will be bought. There’s a slight chance I’ll be here until October.
Looks like I’ll be putting my money where my mouth is.