1.11.2014

Excitement vs. Tranquility

There used to be a thought exercise I would run on people sometimes. I don't fully remember how it went, but one of the parts was to ask people what they truly value in life and what they seek.

A lot of people say things like inner peace, tranquility, calm. Only a few people say thrills, excitement, energy, and the like. I am one of the latter. But my small and unscientific sample of people who entertained my thought exercise seemed to indicate that most people seek the peace and tranquility.

There may be a selection bias there. I may attract people into my social circles who are more introverted by nature. Truth be told, I am an introvert a lot of the time. But when asked what I most seek out of life, it is usually novelty, thrills, and excitement. I don't crave crazy thrills like sky diving, but just interesting new and exciting things. I get bored with the same old same old.

It may just be that my life does not offer enough thrills. When I think about what I would really like to do for a living, it is basically this: take road trips to places and write about them as travelogues and journalistic research pieces. My current job as a writer is decent, don't get me wrong. There is actually a lot of variety in the work. For example, in the next couple of weeks many of the marketing and technical writers on my team will be assigned stories to write for the company's trade journal. That will exercise some journalism neurons in my brain that I haven't really exercised in about four years. There are plenty of other projects to keep me satisfied and not bored at work too.

I had to fire my last employer because the work had become boring and middle management was really harshing my gig and throwing my team under the bus a lot. That made for an exciting workplace, but it was the wrong kind of exciting, the bad kind. It wasn't the work that was exciting, just the drama. I hate drama. So what I am saying here is that I do seek excitement, but it has to be fulfilling and entertaining excitement, not stressful.

Just a couple of days ago one of my good friends told me I looked younger since starting my new job. This is probably the manifestation of being happier, and thus giving off more energetic and positive vibes.

Anyway, that is all neither here nor there. What made me think of this? I will tell you.

Last night, my country band, DRIVEWAY THRIFTDWELLERS, played a show at Mr. Roberts. Because I promoted it as my birthday party with a live band, which it was, we got a fairly decent turnout of people at Mr. Roberts, the Madison WI venue that hosted our show. However, the turnout was noticeably less than expected. There is this phenomenon that happens fairly consistently with my live band performances, I have noticed. A few weeks before the show, when I first begin to promote it, people get really excited and commit to coming to the show. But then, about 2 days before the show, a proportion of the putative attendees start dropping out like flies. Their excuses are probably legitimate...illness, forgetfulness, made other plans at the last minute...but the bottom line is that something is causing them to change their mind about coming.

I have a theory that a decent fraction of these dropouts are in the peace and tranquility category mentioned above. Here's why.

When I promote my shows, I market them as very lively, energetic, fun events. These shows would not appeal to a chronic introvert. People with a mix of intro- and extrovert qualities can handle a show by any one of my bands. They are lively, but not in your face. An introvert though would have a hard time, especially if they are not part of a larger group into which they can "disappear" at the show. If you take a band like COWBOY MOUTH, there is a band that requires a pretty hefty extroversion streak in its audience members.

That's enough for now. I have to get an early night because the country band is road tripping up to Minocqua WI in the morning ahead of two shows later in the day that we are playing there. One is the ICE COLD BEER craft brew festival in the afternoon. The other one is our quarterly performance at the Minocqua Brewing Company, in the evening. I want to say we played our last two shows there in early August and early November, respectively, which would constitute the SUMMER and FALL quarterly performances. This one tomorrow is obviously the WINTER quarter performance. I am hoping the roads are OK for travel tomorrow. They were unacceptably bad today, and I am glad we didn't go up this afternoon. Ice is coating everything. It is supposed to peter out by midnight, but the roadways are still at subzero temperatures because of the arctic cyclone that plunged us into bitter cold for a few days earlier in the week. Now the temperatures are up to right around that nasty yucky area close to the boundary where water transitions from solid to liquid and vice versa. There's freezing rain and fog. This is not cool for January. The arctic cyclone was a lot more January-esque, and notwithstanding that my car does not function well under those super cold conditions, I think it would be preferred to this wet chilly crap.

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