Punk Rock Ruined My Life
I am looking through the windshield, and I am letting the black on the other side wash over my eyes like a wave. I am alone and there are three other people in the van with me. ¶ I am never dry, the sweat never has a chance to evaporate. I am completely in love with two different people, and I have never felt more isolated in my life. I want to ask someone for help, but I don’t have any friends I can bother with something like that. I have nothing tying me down really, but I feel a weight on my chest so heavy sometimes I could choke. I have cancer and my skin is cracked and bleeding. I am avoiding treatment, and I am avoiding medical bills, and I am avoiding discussing it. I think it’s three more hours to Philadelphia.
It is a singular kind of stupidity and self-hatred that drives one to play in a touring hardcore punk band in 2014. At best, which is to say while I’m on tour, it’s exhausting, expensive, filthy, and humiliating. The appeal is that it provides a set period of time in which you are physically barred from having any connection to reality. People talk about the friendships they make on the road, and the connectedness they feel toward some larger community of punks, but in my experience, this is mostly bullshit. People prefer relating to each other in this manner precisely because it is temporary, superficial and brief. You see your tour friends for one evening, then leave. You catch up with some old crush from three states away, maybe you fuck, but then you move on. It facilitates a great volume of human contact in a short period of time and with barely any emotional investment. You don’t have to be alone for even five minutes if you don’t want to. This is the upside.
The downsides are considerable, however. It is nearly inevitable that you’ll end up spending $9000 to repair a van that’s worth $1500. This van will then break down or catch fire at 2:30 AM between Toledo and Columbus, Ohio. You’ll put years into writing a record, then watch the LP’s sit in boxes in your living room because your music is literally garbage and of course no one would buy it. Six years later, you will secretly toss the copies you have left in a dumpster and never tell anyone. You will spend months planning a tour, then drive 700 miles to find out the show got canceled and no one told you. You will see someone who’s harmed you at every show you attend, but if you say something, you get looked at like you just ruined a birthday party.