ukuleles

This afternoon I went to a ‘ukulele jam party’ at the Poor House Bistro (a remarkably authentic cajun joint in down town San Jose near the Shark Tank). Friends (Kenny, Heather Courtney, DB Walker played, and then the gang from Ukulele Underground jammed for a couple hours.

It wasn’t that the music was good – it was in every sense a jam party. Sloppy, disorganized, happy, slightly drunken. It wasn’t even that they were playing hawaiian music, ’cause there wasn’t that much of it. I think it was just the sound of ‘ukes playing that made my eyes go hazy.

For a lot of reasons, it’s been a fucked up year. Much of it I’ve been buried under work, to the point where having a life seems like a faraway dream. And of course, there was the growing burden of Mom’s care. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see now that it wasn’t just an increasing level of nuttiness, but in fact was the beginning of a sharp physical decline. But it was one more thing I had to do in a year where I’ve felt like I was drowning in un-done work and responsibility.

There was a brief instant when I felt the pressure lift; when I realized that I could say a peaceful goodbye to my mother and let her go, not burden her and myself with a long, miserable struggle, it was like a weight off my shoulders. But the weird elation was short lived, soon replaced with the realization that work was about to bury me again, and that I’d had no time at all to process what had just happened.

If a crisis can ever have good timing, mom’s did. There was a short lull at work, a month or so where we were able to catch our breath. Mom, for once in her life, timed something perfectly. But the window snapped shut far too quickly for me. Plans to combine vacation with work shut-downs evaporated, and of course, my finances are in disarray, with mom’s death and the maintenance needed on her house far exceeding the liquid cash she had when she died. So even if I had time, going anywhere far, for long, is out of the question.

So today, as I sat drinking a beer and listening to ukuleles play, it all hit me, very very heavily. It felt like someone had dialed gravity up.

Hawaii calls me; not just as a physical place, not just as a vacation destination, but as a mental state. And more than anything else, Hawaiian music gets to me. I hear ukuleles and slide guitar, and I can almost feel hot tropical air on my skin.

It didn’t matter that these kids were playing bob marley songs; the sound of ‘ukes is so much a part of my mental Hawaii that I could almost smell the damp earth of Kauai.

It hasn’t been that long since I’ve been there. August of ’07 in Kauai, and before that, exactly this time of year I was in Kona in ’06. But the last year feels incredibly long, and I feet more tired than I been in five years. For the first time since the day I started work at Apple, I hate going to work every day. My weekends blink by and all I can think of is, when is my next day off.

I really, really need to get the hell out of here. I need to have a long time to do nothing.

I always hate entries like this and usually threaten to delete them. Just nobody tell me to fucking breathe, ok?

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