The Tail Lights of a Moment

In your adult life, people tend to drive off more than walk out. Watching a car disappear around a corner or driving the car and seeing a house blend into the block is… well, tough.

It’s tough.

As a traveling performer, you feel it when you’ve been in a town for almost a week. You get in a groove after 5 days of being in a city. Back when I was driving to more gigs, leaving a town was bittersweet, heightened by the long drive home or to the next gig. It helps when you drive off to have a friend with you because you can become driver/passenger therapists for each other.

You really connect with someone after long road trips.

In fact, some of my strongest friendships were started by a long trip together.

If I think back on them now, it hits me hard. My adult life has been filled with road trips, flights, laughs, moments. The goodbyes at the airport. The shared Uber where one of you gets dropped off first.

The final part of every trip is bringing your luggage into the house. Once the luggage is in, the trip is finally done. It signals to your tired mind that it’s over and a nap is probably the best idea. The trip begins to feel like a dream. You can move on once it feels like a dream.

When most of the past begins to feel like a dream is when you find yourself surprised at how old you are. You wake up in disbelief of how much time has passed and how your mind still feels so young.

You feel like all these experiences did happen but the time feels so condensed. Most of it is a blur.

A colleague’s death makes it real for a moment. I’m lucky it hasn’t happened with someone I’ve had full moments with. Even someone that isn’t part of my life as much now. I’ll still be hurt. I’ll still mourn.

I’ve been so lucky to have had so many real moments with comedy. I mean driving on a golf cart through a biker rally. Going to a local restaurant in Mexico and seeing avocado pie. Being in Pompeii and running into my cousins. Getting spooked by a Jesus billboard when we went down the wrong high way. So many solid, real memories.

But as you grow older (maybe it has to do with eyesight), it feels like the lens has changed. The grit of youth starts to have a softer focus. Older memories feel like you were in a sandstorm of life. The newer memories are postcards of themselves.

But when I get onstage, that youthful lense comes back into focus. It feels gritty and real. After the shows, the lights in parking lots flicker sharp bursts of blue that give a colder, steel look to life. This is real. This is now.

Until you come back home from the shows. There is a safe brightness to your home that feels a little staged. And maybe it is. We do arrange our lights according to how we see fit and we always feel that when a light bulb goes out it was as if we can’t even remember the last time we changed it. It just worked each day and night.

Footage makes it feel real. It’s solid proof that will last a little longer than your memory.

The feeling of being on the road/performing versus coming back home is like comparing the movie Collateral to Home Alone.

When you’re on the road, you feel like a hired gun just doing a job. Here for a reason. I’m the weapon they hired. Don’t doubt my work or how I do my job. I’m good and that’s all you need to know.

When you’re home, you’re just a child who’s parents left out of town and you have a to keep yourself entertained. You watch bad movies, eat pizzas, and set up (life) traps.

So when you have a real moment in this Home Alone life, the kind of moment that makes you feel how great you felt back in the day… when your hometown was the world… dreams were still dreams… and there was plenty of time. (God, how great is the feeling of plenty of time. It’s so refreshing.) You sometimes don’t know how to take it. It’s so sharp, afterwards it felt unreal.

Then you remember exactly when that moment was over. When all you could see was tail lights. Tail lights are the glowing red ellipsis of a moment. It’s not like the moment stopped. No, it continued on. It just continued on without you.

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