Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Barrel of Happy Monkeys

I was once prompted by a friend to name my life's "five happiest moments" as a sort of meme. I'd have failed if not for my propensity to ignore rules. I instead chose five moments/events (and change) that made me extremely happy; a rare enough thing in my world without having to place them in some sort of order. I walked this way...

I'll avoid all the first kiss, first vagina fondle, first coke up the nose, first Dom Perignon crap cuz while they all made me happy, they were entirely of the moment and of very short lived mirth.

1. When I received my first awards, a pair of New York Film Festival medallions, I was pretty damn pleased with myself. I'd only been in the business 6 months, and while the competition may not have been all that tough, it still served notice that I was pretty good at something, good enough to be noticed by my peers for the first time in my life.

2. Much of my happiness has had to do with my career. I think it's mostly the surprise that comes with accomplishing something, in spite of the fact that everyone around me including myself believed I was absolutely incapable of accomplishing anything. With audio, even working the 21st day in a row made me happy, working the 30th hour straight, using the same piece of music for the 650th time. But there was one highlight that topped them all. I've written about it before so pass over this if you recognize it.

My hired musical gun and I sat down to write an unusual piece for a fortune 500 client, and as always the routine was entertaining in itself. I laid out the concept, he noodled on the piano, I chose chords and phrases and gave him the math, he plugged it together. This one though was a little more complex in that it needed to be quite long, and as it would be the score for a piece that would travel around North America, it would need to change "flavors" at various points. And, the majority of it would be orchestral. Once we'd finished outlining the mechanics and filling in the tune(s), we recorded a "scratch" version of the piece and looked for an arranger.

My boss at the time and I owned a single engine plane together, which was handy as it turned out we'd found an arranger in Canada; two actually, brothers who worked on television scores for the CBC. The gentlemen flew to us to listen to our tracks and talk about the production, but once they'd finished we needed to go to them as they'd contracted the players and studio. So I flew the three of us in my plane to Buttonville, a smallish town north of Toronto, and produced the Toronto Opera Company Orchestra playing a fully arranged version of a piece I'd co-written. There has not been a more amazing moment in my lifetime having to do with my "labors". It encompassed many firsts for me, and lasts lol.

3. I'd ridden through a cold mountain rain the night before, sleeping in a soggy tent all night, a little nervous about the rider I'd brought along, and whether the trip to that point had made her think knowing me was a torture and motorcycle touring was something she'd never want to do again. We'd been dating only 6 months. It was a miracle this gorgeous, brilliant woman had liked me enough to be with me anywhere, but even moreso that she'd agreed to go on this trip, never having biked or camped in her past. That morning she was wide eyed and excited, in contrast to what I would have expected. We had a fun breakfast and set off for Yellowstone. Neither of us had ever seen the Tetons, which were between Jackson Hole and the park. Once I was alongside Grand Teton I was so struck by its beauty I had to find a place to pull over and absorb the mountain. It was there that I discovered I was in love with the woman that had accompanied me, as in that moment we shared the same vision and reacted in exactly the same way. Of course at that same moment I "discovered" that she was in love with me as well, and THAT above everything else made me as happy as I've been in my life. I could skip that part really, but I can't let retrospection change the facts on the ground. That she didn't actually love me, and wouldn't for all it matters, is immaterial. I truly believed, and I was on cloud nine.

4. I wasn't thrilled to go on a canoe trip with a relative stranger. I had heard all along that she was a man hater. She hadn't exhibited that trait when she worked for me, that I could tell, but being around her had been very uncomfortable. She was obviously a goody two shoes, and I was an outlaw. She made it pretty clear in her standoffishness that she wasn't too fond of having to deal with me at all, but she did so dutifully as she is nothing if not a model employee. So with that in mind I couldn't imagine why she'd have agreed to do a four day, in the woods, all alone with a guy she didn't know (that secretly she thought might be an axe murderer) just to (as she explained) learn to canoe. I went with reservations, but I was hungry enough for the outdoors, and just arrogant enough to take some pleasure in the idea that I'd be teaching anyone anything; so I made the arrangements, set the course and led the expedition. I had a hell of a good time, and was quite happy it turned out as well as it did, for many reasons. I won't go on and on, but as is obvious we did pretty well together. Nothing sexual happened, (beyond her seeing me naked which was an accident) we didn't flirt per se. We were both enamored by the fact that the other was very capable of taking care of themselves, had interesting quirks, and was a hell of a lot more easy going than either of us had imagined. A year and change later, we were married.

5. The fact that I have flown an airplane, that I've captained a larger sailboat, that I've traveled to (nearby)  foreign countries on a whim, that I've ridden a half million miles on motorcycles, that I once had a career that amazed and thrilled me every day, that I can make people laugh and cry with my pen, sometimes both with the same piece, that I can rhyme, in perfect meter, until the cows come home. All these things make me happy, though you might not recognize happiness on my face. I am not a particularly "happy" guy as compared to those who smile their way through the day. And most of my happiest times are solo; my "walkabout" for example... nearly 3 weeks of bliss, driving through half of the continental US, alone, shooting pictures of things I found fascinating, pictures that would be seen by very few besides myself. I struggle with happiness. My brain demands I'm not, and most often I agree for reasons that elude me. I don't rise up from the ashes very well, and I've been party to enough misery to choke a horse. But a lot of things have made me happy in truth. And one final selection to admit...

Odd as it may seem to folks I know that have not been as computer "friendly" as I have, and even to me at times, I find much happiness in my "ether" relationships. I have been touched just as deeply, been understood just as profoundly here on the "imaginary" plane as I ever have on the plane of "reality". If there's one thing I can be grateful for beyond my wife and her belief in me, it's your belief in me, your kindness, your patience and your interest. Now if you're thinking "who's he talking to", it's probably not you this is aimed at... because "you" know who you are... and that you have learned that in what little time we've had together... makes me very happy.

1 comment:

  1. A splendid list, especially number three, you old romantic.