Friday, December 21, 2007

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.

The chill was refreshing as I waited for the hotel shuttle, a white minivan with amateur lettering on the side, to pull up at the curb. I squinted at every other vehicle as it arrived in the bleary lights and commotion of rolling suitcases and cell phone calls, hoping it was the one to take me to a shower and a bed. The driver seemed rushed, wouldn’t smile, and was nearly as unpersonable as the other clientele, an older couple, the woman in a fur coat, who I tumbled into the backseat to accommodate, allowed to check in before me, and made awkward eye contact with as I walked by them putting the key into the door of their room. This place was beneath them. It was old and dirty, a one and a half star establishment. The sort of place to sleep through a layover. The sort of place I’m pretty used to.

Unlocking my door, throwing my suitcase and guitar on the bed, I felt such a relief. I was finally alone, in my own space. The last two days had been carefully planned out, each stretch of moments colliding on time with the next. I had pulled it off as of yet too, making each meeting, catching all three of my flights, even if it meant screaming down Hollywood Blvd in my rental car through yellow light after yellow light. Somehow, I had made it to Seattle now.

I took a shower and set everything out for my delirious early morning self. Lying in bed, I thought through the last two days. I had been up way too early each morning after thin and anxious sleep, had spent most of my time in meetings that were pretty intense for me, meetings with potential producers for my next album, which is now written and ready and kicking. I thought of the mob of screenwriters I had seen picketing outside a studio as I drove by in Burbank, pre-coffee. I thought about the quiet coffee shop I made it to, where the woman behind the counter remembered my order from the night before, something I had grown unaccustomed to in LA. I thought of the view from the penthouse of a Sunset Strip high-rise office building, all of downtown spread out and silent behind the glass. I thought of the showcase I had been taken to, the schmoozing and chattering of industry around me as I wrapped sandwiches from the free catering into napkins and shoved them into my backpack.

I slept hard, but thoughts pecked at me all night. I kept waking up, but was never coherent enough to tend to them.

The next morning I got up early again to pick up my rental car. Seattle was gushing with rain as always promised and I was somehow upgraded from the shaky little “economy” car I had reserved into a calm and confident Jeep Commander. I endured the spray of semis blasting by me in the dwindling commute traffic while downtown appeared through the storm. And I pulled off at the one exit that I knew, where all of the venues I have played in town are scattered along the hill.

I wondered into CafĂ© Vita, down the block form Neumo’s. I remember babbling on and on about their coffee to someone on a tour a while back. It was still good and I was feeling full of potential. The girl behind the counter asked me how my day was going. Not wanting to get into it, I just smiled and said it was going fine, and asked her about hers. She said it still wasn’t easy getting up early each day, and I offered my sympathy. I told her that no matter how many days in a row I have to get up early, I can still sleep til one without a problem when a free day rolls around.

Needing a good spot to drink my coffee, I drove out to Lake Washington and watched the rain hit the surface of the water beyond the naked trees, with the threads of winter hanging from the branches, all stained with the weather. I watched a Crow hop along the grass and started the think that Seattle could be a cool spot to make a record. These songs are rainy songs, I think. That doesn’t mean they are sad necessarily. I have a lot of hope, a lot of inspiration, a bit higher of a rate of epiphany in the rain I’d say.

I found myself downtown by early afternoon, in an rickety industrial warehouse come artist studio. Through the cold windows I could see steam rising up from all the old buildings, all the brick a deep red with the water, the lights of the office buildings stretching above lit up vividly in the darkness of the day. I heard some good stories, learned a lot, and as I tore back down I-5 in the clamor and clutter of commute, my mind twisted and turned with possibilities.

I followed those thoughts back into the terminal, turning them over and over as I waited for my late flight, as I tapped my foot in baggage claim, and as my contacts began to hurt in my eyes as I rode in the passenger seat towards a familiar bed.

I got a lot to think about, but things are moving forward. After Christmas with my family, I’m going to go to South America for a bit to clear my head and hang with my brother. When I’m back I’ll be heading right into the studio. I cannot wait!