Scat - A Music Article on Being Reinspired

Updated on December 15, 2019
Sydaytrips profile image

Sy "Kevin Nichols" is a music connoisseur (an unabashed avid addict and collector) who writes a weekly blog on house-mixes.

Young Rock Music Wearing Headphones via pngtree.com (CC0)
Young Rock Music Wearing Headphones via pngtree.com (CC0) | Source

I.


The irritation of having a golf ball chunk of meat in the esophagus feels better than being here. Sure, the hotel is posh nice and I'm the front desk caretaker during the vampire hours. Check em' in (the business and affluent class travelers), check em' out, prepare the breakfast spread, plastic smile em', and make sure their backsides are feeling close to royally pampered. I have only one thing in common with these business travelers, I too have a passport. There is a problem though, I don't feel like I belong here, they do. The job provides me with free food before going home at 7:00 a.m., no management breathing on me, and plenty of time to binge listen to my sounds. I guess that's all that matters.

We're "headz" man, we're either DJs or listeners with one agenda, to play or listen to music (in my case all genres). The point is, we're addicted. Not only to just our smartphones, social media, binge-watching, and sending nudies but to our tuneage. Of all the usual suspects though, the tuneage cannot and will not be sacrificed.

Other than the food, the only tangible advantage this "40-something is the new 50" year old vampire has is that isolation during work gives many hours with social media and music (wearing headphones). All of us headz embrace music as escapism, however, for me, I got way more than what I was cynically searching for.

My name is Syrus and his name is DJ Doctor. His house music mixes were being posted on this website I found where you listen and comment on that forum. The site that I was listening to for survival prior went defunct and only allowed you to listen anyway. The site is in standard chat feed, picture profile, and personal profile format. What got me about this dude is this, he used a vinyl (33 and 1/3) to cover everything below his eyes on his profile pic. I'm like, "You got some nerve, I ain't even heard of you kid."

I got intrigued and in a peculiar way, I was looking for my own voice or platform. Doctor (Doc for short) was in his infancy of hosting a weekly webcast show (set) live and just recorded the sessions to upload. I was listening and writing brief summaries on all the endless array of personal sets the DJs were uploading. We all want to be heard, but then again, maybe nobody is listening. The first two hour sets this cat posted was the styles and vibe (vibez) that I had been adding to my CD collection for a couple of decades. He had songs (tracks) that I didn't. However, the tones, beats per minute, and audio seduction into escapism were what I had craved to have access for faster results. Headz have one major trait in common, we search for new music weekly and habitually.

Doc would post thank you on the summaries and even give me the names of the tracks I would ask him for, but what I didn't get and wanted at the time was the human connection. The record stores, the coffee houses, the chess matches, and even the philosophical debates were dying out. People, public opinion, and hearsay information were now about the one commonality, "the like button."

Alas, six months later I didn't go fan-boy or stalker mode, I told Doc, "You have yourself a friend, with or without music. And what do friends do....they trust." A couple of weeks later the bloke (he lived in England), started composing e-mails in a conversational tone. In other words, as modern times are, we were handwriting letters to each other. Outside of that connection, my job, life, and residence sucked a full can of granulated rubbish.

My life was an indulgence of loyalty to a job, achieving performance metrics, and getting a paycheck. The idle talk at work, buying toilet paper, grocery, beer, and a little ganja here and there was stagnant. I was either a like or dislike button, not a person. Me and my community were functional plagues to each other. The guests at the hotel, a social inconvenience to the music and headphones.

"Why can't you find the room for us in your computer?" she politely asked.

I snapped out of my hypnosis with one full-size headphone on my left ear and feeling the "sleep (discharge)" in my right eye. We weren't sold out, but Tesh (the young and arrogant manager of the hotel) had informed me eight hours ago that the Myanmar refugee reservations should be in the system, they weren't. She was in her twenties and cute, the two dudes with her were teenagers. She wasn't frustrated, just concerned, and looking at me as if I should have a reassuring answer. I sent a DM.

"You should've been able to find the reservation in the system Syrus. Why aren't you assisting the guests Syrus?" Tesh asked.


We're "headz" man, we're either DJs or listeners with one agenda, to play or listen to music (in my case all genres). The point is, we're addicted. Not only to just our smartphones, social media, binge-watching, and sending nudies but to our tuneage. Of all the usual suspects though, the tuneage cannot and will not be sacrificed.

The spit gathered in my mouth wanting to discharge on the computer screen. I was looking at her as a fool trying to explain to his wife why we didn't have running water on Saturday morning. Tesh finally advised to make a clean reservation and charge it to the hotel open account. I was on overtime for thirty minutes and the morning bagels in my tummy were expanding. The refugees checked into their rooms without any further complications, but I knew Tesh would pay me an evening visit on my next night's shift.

The next night usual with Tesh. He was Arab of normal height, build, oak brown skin, with thick and well-gelled hair. His beard and the shape of his mouth gave him the appearance of what I called "the salamander." He always wore American Eagle plaid button-up shirts tucked in blue jeans with outdated dress shoes.

"The Comic-Con convention will be arriving in a couple weeks. You're up for working the entire seven days aren't you Syrus?"

I smiled through choking on a loogie. It never changed. Before my night shift was over he would call and ask for the occupancy stats, remind me to sit out fresh breads for breakfast, and make sure the chlorine pool density didn't shear pubic hairs. He did this with an imperial smile when seeing him in person, he was born ready for local television commercials.

If anything, all I knew how to do was be loyal and consistent. I was single, never been married, and no kids. I had to take the job because my mom was ailing and the job market that I graduated from college for was deteriorating. The town where we lived was a mere transit location. You either went to the university, worked at the hospitals, retail, fast food, or factories. My options left me with complacency to Tesh, job punishment, and a need for escapism every day off.

Doc had a lot to teach me outside of music. He was ten years younger than me and definitely (deffo) adept with the modern forms of social media. I prowled in the coffee houses, bars, dance clubs, and restaurant kitchens when I was his age. I hustled to try and live a pretty and posh lifestyle by talking to people I met at these places. If you knew the people who made the good food, served the free drinks, knew the music you didn't have, had the drugs you wanted to try, and attracted the women you wanted, fair play. Social media was begrudgingly that last the comfort zone I wanted to move outside of. People posted pictures of and marketed themselves (their brand) online what they could do and offer the world. In my era, talking and listening gave you information, rumors, and urban legends. I didn't need it, or so I thought.

I got addicted (hooked). Doc was performing live online every Monday and introduced my ears to other DJs within the radio podcasts. Additionally, I implemented their podcats into my weekly listening. Social media enabled me to see pictures of their lives on or away from the turntables. There was a connection because they were "into" what I needed for escapism from the life environment I was in. The "like button," and posting free verse trains of thought were my weekly connections to the house music world, Doc was my muse and moderator.

My detachment from my locality was growing. My non-social life was six to eight hours of listening to music in my mancave (old skool, twelve analog wood speakers) on the weekends, cooking, and video games. My married brother would come over from time to time to hang out or catch a couple beers in town, but my hunting days for "wifey" were over. Once that epidemic of young female teachers boning their pubescent students became a weekly occasion, I knew it was over for me. Work, the grocery store, my laptop, and my mancave were social and visual entertainment for me. I guess in my own right, I was becoming a zombie just like the "Z generation" kids attached to their umbilical cords (smartphones).

Money, yeah, I guess that's always an issue. My dad was great with finances and being a provider, however, he was an emotional robot and a creature of habit (a workaholic). Other than doing my taxes and advising how much to put away for my retirement, he wasn't a good dad or a friend of mine. Since I no social life I had no sex. No sex means no chances of having my own family, which meant, no college funds, no mortgage, just emptiness. The fear of God was instilled in me in my twenties to let that money sit and grow, don't touch it. Something about that tax penalty for an early withdraw scared the piss out of me, again, I thank the robot for that.

A couple weeks before Comic-Con a water pipe busted in the lobby restroom. The lobby was squishy-shoes flooded. When I came in Olivia (the assistant manager) was pale, covered in a water and plaster mix, and exasperated. She was in her early twenties, a self-proclaimed nerd (she loved her librarian glasses), and in desperate need of more sexual experiences from an alpha male. She had come over from another hotel in town that Tesh's family owned. She was known to work sixteen-hour shifts and she never called in sick. She was all about the team. Her naive idealism on getting married made me want to choke on swallowing whole rats. She was from some small town and moved here with some dude that picked her up when she was seventeen. He brought her here with him and they lived together. He said he was going to marry her, but basically, she was the cook and serviceable maid. She told me once he wouldn't allow her to wear or showcase anything provocative. Her hairstyle was boring, her regular fit jeans were boring, and outside of telling me about smut novels she would read, she was boring.

"The pipes busted about an hour ago," she said.
"Tesh said he'll come over when he can. The water district shut off our water and the guests are pissed, but we have to clean up the mess. I'll stay until he gets here, he's going to bring the heavy duty water vac."

I tried to calm her down and said I'd do whatever until Tesh arrived. We both worked on mopping and setting up fans to dry out the bathroom and the lobby. An hour into it and her delirium from working two sixteen hour shifts prior kicked it.

"Have you heard of the Eiffel Tower move?"

"No," I said.

"You haven't?"

I shook my head knowing this was going to annihilate some brain cells of mine.

"It's when the guy does the girl doggystyle and the other guy gets a b-job in front. The two guys reach up and high-five each other forming the tower," she said with a gleeful giggle.

It was 12:30 a.m., I hadn't even had a coffee yet. She kept rambling about how her boyfriend doesn't touch or offer affection towards her, even on her days off.

"I work all these hours and shifts, cook for him, clean for him, and when I try to get him to do some naughty things he acts like I'm disturbing him."

"But I thought you said he said he was going to marry you Olivia?" I asked thoughtfully confused.

"How can I marry a man who won't touch me?"

Tesh walked in with a skully wool hat, work boots, the water vac, and a scowl that read "our newborn is at home crying with my wife right now and I'm too handsome to be here."

"How's it going Syrus?"

I knew where this was going.

"I'm ok."

"You don't seem happy," he said. "We are all here together, we are a team, right? Even in bad times or busted water pipes."

I was not a fan of his drab humor, nor of his dynamic sense of fashion.

"So once we're done here Syrus can you wipe down the plaster and dust on the walls in the bathroom. There should be a ladder in the maintenance room. Also, can you sweep up the cigarette butts outside in the parking lot?"

"I seen those earlier, I didn't have time to take care of that today," Olivia said.

"Olivia we're ok here, you go on home now and get some rest. Syrus will be able to handle things from here, right Syrus?"

Half of me wanted to vomit on his boots. I needed this job, so I had to play and be polite. I was used to the plastic personalities of these kids. I'm forty-years-old and these cats are my supervisors. I was them once. Young, optimistic, energetic, and had all the profound answers for everything. Every day now I worked, waited, and thought I'd be somewhere doing something important with what I was passionate about, music.


Source

II.

The Comic-Cons, the conventions, the sweeping, the mopping, the (come and go) assistant managers, guests, and petty complaints were my life. Six years had passed and I was still there and still doing my own life comfort zone. The hotel was still making consistent money, Tesh was still an a-hole, my retirement fund was steady, and my music (collecting and writing blogs) were my family.

My doctor and dentist (both younger than me) didn't know me other than twice a year visits. I knew the stock people at Walmart by face, body types, their work schedules, but they didn't know me. I knew if the cashiers were expecting, I knew what restaurant people tried for the first time (social media pictures), and I knew how insignificant I felt in this artless environment.

Really, Doc and the music remained consistent. For that six years of life's ups and downs, technological advancements, and everybody that my "eyes could see every day" changed, he didn't. We would send noteworthy emails about being single, the deconstruction of dating in society, pop culture, and trade music. Inside the sessions (Monday evenings, two-hour sets) Doc expected me to be in the chat and I expected him to play those tunes. Over the years something happened that cynics of my or any younger generation didn't expect. Trust was built by writing emails and having an authentic appreciation for each other as music connoisseurs. Even though we didn't make appointments to video call or text (yeah, that online dating thing), we never broke contact from the connectivity regimen.

Over that time Doc was working to establish his brand as a global DJ. He used all forms of social media to market himself. He had moved into solo productions of his music and was releasing tracks on independent labels. Opportunities came for him to travel to other countries (the Eastern Hemisphere) and perform. He got to meet the people he played for on the website.

Nothing, and I mean, nothing changed with me. Same job, same routine, same blues. The sessions, my music blogs (on Facebook by now), and a couple online dating relationships developed. I had my own brand, in that, what I wrote about the global DJs got them extra plays on their sets. That is to say, once I posted a blog, that set I wrote about would get the DJ ten or fifteen extra plays that week globally. I was the tester, cats could trust me to find good music for them. They didn't have to sort through (prelisten) the sets online, I did it for them.

I was forty-six-years-old and the online dating thing with chicks had the stability of a bored girl not posting a naughty selfie. The world, its job markets, and its social kinships no longer had the patience to develop in my eyes. Maybe I was blind and set in my ways. I was socially antiquated to this new world. Doc was always open to debate with me about modern chicks and pop culture. He taught me shit through the lens of being single as a DJ in his thirties.

"Sy, get your ass over to Portugal," he told me a couple years back when he had a gig there.

"I'm trying," I told him in the chat feed that Monday usual session.

I was closer to people in the chat feed from the six years we spent and grew together (through music and life pain) than I was with people I saw every day in my town. The isolation was crushing me because I knew, or was hoping, these people were real. Before the smartphone and social media age, if you weren't timid about going out to "meet" people, you could. I'm not saying for long term relationships, "besties," or to meet a possible "wifey." I'm saying, we could talk in person. We gave each other a chance to get to know each other. I couldn't just post the perfect selfie and let the world think I got my head on straight. We had to be around and hang out with each other, to see if we are flawed.

I took my usual two weeks allotted vacations per year and only went to the cities I had fumbled my way through to adulthood. The businesses, restaurants, and bars came and went. The old headz like me didn't see the ladies out there looking to meet someone, they weren't out at all. The obscure rock bands, art exhibits, and wine tastings weren't filled with enthusiasts for the crafts anymore. No matter where I went, I didn't feel giddy with excitement. I still felt giddy every Monday when Doc played in the sessions and with the banter from the "usual suspects" in the chat feed. The connection was undeniable, my bank account was deniable.

I made an appointment and talked with a financial counselor about tax penalties for early retirement withdraws. I took a notebook to the meeting and did further research on my own. I told my brother how smothered I was feeling with the hotel, town, Hell, my life for that rate.

"You don't have a family man," he said. "I've seen everyone I started working with when we were in our twenties retire. We're the old heads in the henhouse now."

"I can't play it safe anymore. Last week a lady was having trouble with her tv in the room, so I went up to help. She was maybe a couple of years older than us and was deffo on a business trip. While I checked out the tv, she layed stomach down with her feet elevated. Her bed was filled with all her business clothes. It took me two minutes to figure out I couldn't program the tv. It took me two seconds to realize her cleavage and flirting were for her, not for me. Man, I walked out through those glass lobby doors and didn't say a word. Not to my manager, not to the guests lingering about, I just walked out."

"What did you do?" he asked calmly concerned about my well-being.

"Work called, I didn't answer. My retirement posted in my checking account a couple days ago. Five digits in my checking account, all at one time, the first time in my life. The airline customer service rep attentively kept me on the phone for twenty minutes, he found me a deal. The traveler's insurance I found online was inexpensive. I talked with Doc for a little bit for the first on a video call. It was like we gossiped over pints the weekend before. He emailed me a "little plan" with a full ten days of itinerary, adventures, and fun shit we were going to do in the UK. He was going to be my host and show me around. Dude, he took the vacation time off work, did the research for my Airbnb flat (for three days to be a sojourner), and is letting me stay in his flat for seven days. He's picking me up from and taking me to the airport. He only knows me from the sessions, my blogs, and our emails from all this time. He's willing to trust me, as a friend, from that alone."

I didn't worry about what I was going to do when I got back to the states. I didn't worry about if Doc and I weren't going to get along as fashionably as we did in the sessions, or in our emails. At this point, I wasn't going to give a f*ck if I had no cash left in my retirement. Doc was born in 1983. I gave him all these pop culture movie references (cult classics) over the years, "Risky Business" with a young Tom Cruise was one of them. Curtis Armstrong as Miles Dalby once said, "Joel, you wanna know something? Every now and then say, "What the f*ck." "What the f*ck" gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future."

"It was time Sy....it was time," I thought to myself hugging Doc for the first time. He met his big bro wearing a shirt and tie picking me up after work. I thought about all those business travelers I checked in all those years and how I didn't know them. Here I was now a business traveler. We have this saying in the chat feed, "usual business" when speaking of those sets and banter being played every week, all those years.

"Usual business indeed," we both said smoking that first cigarette together in the parking lot before the drive to his flat, to his home.


We're "headz" man, we're either DJs or listeners with one agenda, to play or listen to music (in my case all genres). The point is, we're addicted. Not only to just our smartphones, social media, binge-watching, and sending nudies but to our tuneage. Of all the usual suspects though, the tuneage can and will not be sacrificed.

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