I had recently been released from doing another 90 days in the county jail. My parents let me hangout at the beach like a bum for weeks, then told me it was time to get a job, whether I wanted one or not, house rules. “Can’t live here and just hangout son. We’re glad you’re out, and thrilled you are alive and sober, but you have to get some sort of job so you can start saving money, so you can get back on your feet like the rest of us. We know you can do it and we will back you one hundred percent,” my dad said.
So the next day I got up early, walked one block to Magnolia Avenue and waited for Bus 33, with no plan whatsoever. I already knew that nobody would hire a thirty year old Junky without a work history, who had been arrested a dozen times, who had no car, no money, no friends, no luck. Then I came up with an idea that made perfect sense…at least to me it did.
I got on Bus 33 and rode it to Magnolia and Yorktown, then walked to Beach Boulevard, just across the street from the sober living I’d skedaddled from a few months earlier, made a right, and ambled into my friend Billy’s music shop, where a hundred vintage guitars, mandolins, banjos, Rickenbacker bass and twelve strings hung on the red painted walls, with an old player piano, born over a hundred years ago, sitting in the corner — its decaying brown finish attacked by a thousand suns, a hundred feline claws, the white ivory keys faded to yellow, the flats and sharps, blacker than the eyes of a decrepit Junky.
When I walked through the open door, the door buzzed a beautiful tone I had missed dearly during that 90 day incarceration. I was home. This is who I wanted to be. Nothing or nobody else. But this is not what was expected of me. This was not in everybody else’s plans. And until I conformed to society’s expectations, I didn’t have a prayer in the world.
And I couldn’t be more pleased that I never did…