Turning The Page

Sunday November 29th, 2009 – St. Cloud, MN/Lake Villa, IL

I wish I knew exactly how many long boring Sunday drives I’ve had to make in my life to return home from a road gig. It has to be over a thousand by now, but after two or three they’re all the same. After the last show on Saturday the focus turns to getting back home.

Bob Seger talks of it in “Turn The Page” when he mentions a long bus trip from Omaha when “You don’t feel much like riding, you just wish the trip was through.” How dead on he is. Fortunately for him, he had a tour bus with a driver and his band mates joining him.

Comedians are alone. We’re the driver and the band and the travel director and the tour guide. Bob Seger could sleep off some of his trip. I have to be awake every single mile so I don’t turn my Toyota into a flaming casket when I nod out and hit a guard rail at 75mph.

The handwriting is on the wall more and more every time I go out and do these kinds of gigs as of late. My life and times as a tireless bullet proof road beast are rapidly coming to an end, and I’m not the least bit upset. They’ve served their purpose extremely well and it all made for a fantastic adventure. I met people, saw places, had fun and got an education.

I ate delicious food I never would have sampled had I stayed in Milwaukee and I saw all of the America I read about in books as a kid up close and personal with my own eyes. I’ll never regret satisfying my wanderlust in my 20s and 30s, but in my 40s I’ve evolved a bit.

It’s just as satisfying to have a hot show at a venue ten minutes from my house as it is at some venue ten hours away. The results are exactly the same, but the time spent getting to and from work takes a whole lot of the fun out of it. I don’t have the slightest need to ever return to 99.9% of the places I’ve been, only because those places aren’t all that riveting.

I mean, will my quality of life really go down if I never return to St. Cloud, MN? Nope. Nor will my life be affected in any way if I don’t get back to most of the places I’m hired. They’re just towns, and I’ve seen more than a working man’s share of them on my watch.

None of this means I didn’t enjoy some parts of this trip. The house emcee at the club is a very interesting and intelligent guy named Perrin Spychala. We get along quite well and it was fun to visit again and flirt with the Playboy model quality waitress, but I told him it wasn’t worth all the driving I’d have to do each way to make that happen. He understood.

I’m not angry about any of this, nor do I regret the lifestyle I chose for the last quarter of a century, but it’s becoming rapidly clearer to me that I’m evolving to a place that doesn’t require me having to be in so many places for such a short time. I want to settle in and get to some of the things I missed during all those years of traveling. My wants are changing.

So are my needs. I have ZERO put away for a retirement of any kind, and I can’t see me still driving to St. Cloud and flirting with a 21 year old waitress when I’m 60. It’s a young man’s game, and I did spend my youth playing it. Now it’s time to graduate to a new one.


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