Truck Stop Troubadour Volume 15-Weekend Warrior

  I have been reading "Born To Run" by Bruce Springsteen and there was this one line that hit me kind of hard.  He said that he had to do this thing or that thing or whatever it was because he did not want to wind up a nine to fiver.  He did not want to wind up a weekend warrior that played twice a week and went back to a soul sucking grind Monday through Friday.  I know exactly what he was talking about because honestly I never did either.  In my twenties and in some of my thirties I wrote, I recorded, I played, I made phone calls, I pursued dead end after dead end in search of the one thing I wanted more than anything else ever: the ability to support myself with music. Of course the temptation with reading a book like that is to pick out everything he did better, every plan he made that was more shrewd and admonish myself about how I just didn't reach that level of serious that he did.
Or one could always comfort oneself with the belief that everything is as it is supposed to be and there's no changing it--I suppose it's entirely dependent on how much negativity you want to invite into your life.
During winery season last year, I played a lot.  I think I actually played 70 paying gigs and I was extremely proud of myself.  Most of the time I did this while driving a truck 65 to 70 hours a week at a job that exists an hour away from where I live.  It didn't leave me a whole lot of free time but I was much happier than I am now in the dead of winter, not playing any gigs and hibernating.  As a matter of fact, I called in sick to work today because ...well because I am sick.
From my time in this world I think I can count the number of stable, well adjusted musicians I know on one hand.  I know I'm definitely not one.  I have more inner turmoil in my head than Syria most days and the only relief I ever feel is when I am singing and banging on a guitar.  People use the term catharsis probably more than they should, but that is exactly what it is.  I can actually feel the dark leaving my body as I play and sing and after a typical three hour gig, I am exhausted but I feel great.  I don't feel great right now.  All that turmoil is building and building with no escape and has succeeded in making me physically ill.
I wake up at midnight most nights, take a shower, drive to Newburgh, get in a tractor trailer, drive out to Southampton and then East Hampton, then fight the LIE all the way back to Newburgh where I am generally met with the question by my dispatchers "How many hours do you have left?"  What this means in layman terms is "How many hours will the DOT allow you to continue driving?  Some days I leave the house at 1 am and get home at 5pm, at which point the expectation is that I will wake up again at midnight and do it all over again.  Six days a week. I'm not really sure what the rest of the world does to support their families but this is what I do.  I have a pedestrian relationship with my children, at best and hope someday they will come to understand that in this country a lot of times you are faced with the decision of poverty or working yourself to death.  Right now I feel like I made the right decision.
During winery season, this lifestyle is a necessary evil but during the winter I can get very bitter and very resentful that this is how I have to live at 46 years old.  And angry that I am charged with the task of delivering 80 tons of groceries in a vehicle that takes five hundred yards to stop on roads where I am being cut off constantly by people who have no idea what the potential consequences of those actions could be and don't even get me started on the financial compensation or lack therof because at this point in January it seems almost criminal to me.
So here I am with two more months of going from weekend warrior to just plain warrior.
Weekend warrior is a term meant to marginalize people like myself who haven't reached an unheard of pinnacle of success but it means something completely different to me.  It means I am still fighting.  It means I am still singing and I am still playing.
God please get me through these next two months.

1 comment

  • Janine
    Janine Nola
    Billy- sorry I vaped on our pen pal deal. Life got stupid busy and a little just plain stupid. Winter blows. You have lots of talents and skills. You don't have to drive that truck forever. ❤️️Janine

    Billy- sorry I vaped on our pen pal deal.
    Life got stupid busy and a little just plain stupid.
    Winter blows.
    You have lots of talents and skills.
    You don't have to drive that truck forever.


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