43 days to go, and I’m trying to figure out if we can put a blow up mattress in the Element because the idea of a tent is filling me with dread…
Today I watched some footage from Coachella 09, and I was stuck by how genuinely excited the fans seemed. They were just so overwhelmed by the urge to celebrate… In truth, I can’t remember the last time I felt giddy, unrestrainable joy. Even when I sold my first screenplay, which was a pretty life altering moment, my happiness was mingled with the realization that I was now in the enviable predicament that all writer’s face: I was only as good as my last piece of work. So while I was amazed that I had actually sold a script, I was at the same time daunted by the fact that I had to deliver on a re-write – and do it in 6 weeks.
My mother says I’ve always been this way, but I do remember being so excited when guitarist Mike Stern would be playing at the 55 Bar. I couldn’t wait to go to that little basement dive and listen to him wail on a b flat blues like he was the reincarnation of Hendrix himself. The energy was so palpable. Likewise, attending Police concerts was a very joyous thing to me. I loved how connected I would feel when Sting did that simple ‘eo-oh-oh’ thing. It’s like those vowels created a link between us all. It was very abstract and shamanic and at times, almost magical.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that all my complaining about standing through entire sets at Coachella really boils down to the fact that I’m worried I’m going to be left out of the joy party. This of course will be my own doing, but I really do see myself observing rather than participating and I think it boils down to the fact that for me happiness is a very delicate thing. You don’t want to be too rough with it, because it can bite you in the ass. I realize this sounds cynical, but it isn’t. It’s just based on experience. To me, jumping around for joy is really an open invitation to piss off Discord, or whatever her equivalent might be in the modern world we live in.
It’s like the film The Pursuit of Happiness. In the end, after Will Smith’s character has interned for free for a year, lived in a homeless shelter, been hit by a car, lost his shoes, and had his giant sewing machine-like medical box stolen (all while keeping his little son in school) what does he get?
An entry level job.
And I loved the scene when he gets it, because he doesn’t jump up and down, and he doesn’t celebrate, or flip out, or scream, he just walks outside and breathes, and then he says (in voice over), “This is happiness”. I think for me, happiness has never been about wild abandon, it’s just about getting the opportunity to have another chance. To start again, knowing all the mountains you will need to climb, and all the failures you will have to endure…
And maybe that’s why I can’t just let go with reckless abandon, because I know that nothing is free. There is an upside and a downside to everything. However on the upside, I will have three days to have some sort of transformative moment — and with zero expectations — how can I lose?
I suppose that’s something to get excited about.