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Entry date: 8-6-2022 - The Musings of Returning Home - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Happy Saturday, everyone. I have lots of thoughts on returning to Phoenix after almost two months away. It was odd to not be with Rhondi yesterday, but we do have wonderful phone discussions when we are separated by such a long distance.

I wish I could say it was good to be home.

I mean, it was great to see Ashton and Tom and Quentin and Renee and Michael. It was good to be in the office for a bit on Thursday and connect with my new boss, who is great, and get a new monitor. L & T seem to be happy with school and are glad to be home, but…

It is too fucking big here. There are too many people. I want to get to the point where I can visit places with a lot of people if I so choose. In a couple months of being away from places with tons of people, I have realized that I don’t want to deal with all these folks anymore.

On Thursday, I went to the grocery store and kind of had a mini-freakout in my head. There were so many people there. Granted, the one actual grocery store in Rangeley can get pretty busy, especially on the weekends when all the out-of-town folks are there, but still. I had flashes, walking through the parking lot with my groceries of very uncomfortable feelings. I felt like I was being watched and sized up.

Maybe it was the fact I was thinking about how my dad was robbed at gunpoint. Maybe it was because I was feeling fortunate that I could go in a buy a bunch of groceries for the kids and I to enjoy and not have to worry a lot about if I could do it again next week. I saw big city people in the store with big city issues.

Now, yes, sure, there are people in small-town Maine who are hurting and don’t have much. Plenty of them but there is a different vibe. Even the whole east coast/west coast thing is more and more apparent to me now, too. We do things differently out here.

I was watching this young woman, mid-20s I’m guessing, walk around the store tweaking her brains out. It was so obvious she was spun and probably in there to get out of the heat for a bit. She was carrying a dog bed and a one of those small baskets that stores provide with what looked like personal belongings in it. She kept crossing my path but when we made brief eye contact, it was clear there was nothing there. She was lost in tweak-thought and looking for something that Target could not possibly provide.

It was very sad. I am so glad to not have to deal with that shit on the regular anymore. I will never put up with the tweak mentality again. At least that is what I hope. I know too many young people, though, to assume that I will never have to deal with it again, but I hope it doesn’t get its claws into anyone I love moving forward.

I write this, too, with love and admiration for all the people I love who have put meth in the rearview mirror. I know it was a hard thing to do and to survive and come out even relatively whole on the other side. That drug is terrible, evil, and if there is a Satan, he made it.

It really bummed me out to see that gal just lost. It’s not like I was expecting Phoenix to be the magical spot of my memories or anything and I recall being very bitter last year after my five weeks in Maine, but still, other than seeing people I want to see, I am having a hard time shaking this thought:

Why am I here?

For the kids, of course, and my extended family, but still. I’m sure the first time I get some good Mexican food I will feel a little better or the first time I can see some more friends. Today I am getting together with some of my dudes this afternoon for a beer or two and some pool. I’m happy for that, but it still would be so much better if my wife were here.


I must switch gears. I don’t want to be the whining blogger. On a happy note, the second week of school was a blast. The kids are so great. I was explaining it to Michael on Thursday, and it occurred to me that most of these kids have been doing online school 2.5 years at this point. They get it and they like it and they love music class.

I’ve had a couple of students already tell me how much more they like music this year than last year. I have nothing against the former teacher other than hearing that she basically didn’t do anything with the students all year and was a big letdown to the team. I consider this job a huge privilege, so I am thankful she was not happy doing it or just doesn’t want to work.

I got to design a new lesson yesterday and it was so fun. This coming week, we are talking about “the beat.” You know that thing that makes us tap our toes. I’m going to play several songs for the kids that have “beat” in the title or just have a great beat, too. Yes, there will be Go-Go’s in their future.

This should be a fun one, I think. What makes music go? The beat, man, the beat. I have a large number of students who are interested in the drums, so we can do a nice little drum intro next week, too. I am so happy to get to lay down the foundations of music in this first month or so of school. The last time I did this job, I started mid-year, so I didn’t have the opportunity to really plan or think about the foundations of music.

Exciting and excited!

See you tomorrow.

On my morning walks in Maine, I noticed this fireplace. I like it. It's not a great picture, but that's okay. It's a great fire place.

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