Zen and the Art of Rocking

Not too long ago, I was driving back from Kentucky having just spent six days away from home. I had been in Kentucky watching my dad die, watching my family watch my dad die, and trying not to lose my proverbial shit. Diah’s death got me slightly more accustomed to public crying, but it’s still not on my list of things I’d write as a turn-on on match.com. Incidentally, I also wouldn’t list match.com as a turn-on. That profile was a mistake made in youth that will never be repeated. Where were we?

Ah, yes. In the car, driving back to Nashville. Drained, numbed, tired, and probably unable to breathe through one side of my nose (Kentucky = allergies), I hit Bluegrass Parkway and gave myself permission to loosen up the tight coils that had formed in my spine. As the opening drums of “I Don’t Care” hit me in the face, everything relaxed. I had permission to lose my shit in the privacy of my own car.

Last weekend, I found myself driving to Kentucky again. A panic attack came out of nowhere, seeping up my chest, speeding up my heart, and making my palms start to sweat. As it so often goes when I travel, I wanted to be home. Right then.

A girl doesn’t survive with panic on Paxil alone. I have grown, in part, smarter than my brain. I know its games, and I know how to stop them. Its name is Klaus. It is my iPod.

A PBS special called The Musical Mind helped explain it: when you listen to music that you enjoy, your brain impulses light up, turning your skull into Studio 54. Your brain says “yes” and, in so doing, forgets all about whatever nastiness it was conjuring. It’s like seeing a toddler walk toward an electrical socket and distracting said toddler with a toy. (Unless the toddler is screaming, in which case I suggest letting the kid fry.)

For what it’s worth, clicking the iPod to a song I really, really like helps talk me down from a panic attack. It might help you. May I suggest Fall Out Boy’s “I Don’t Care”?

What Would Jimmy Urine Do?

Once upon a time, I decided that I was going to run monitors for touring rock bands. My roommate (herself, a future road manager) countered with “dude, no way…you’d die.” Even if I’d had the proper disposition to be a sound engineer (I totally don’t), I think she’d have been right. Like dairy products and wedding cakes, I don’t travel well. I’m a nester. I need a Batcave, a base of operations. Preferably, one with a cat. So, what happens when Batman, er BatWOman, has to go on a cruise?

The subject line of this post is my new mantra. I have written it on the inside of my watch band.

Jimmy Urine is the singer for Mindless Self Indulgence. They used to be “out they damn mind,” and now they’re decidedly more pop, but I still love them. Even in the age of having one’s album sold exclusively at Hot Topic, Jimmy Urine’s kept his teeth about him. He’s still just as smart-ass as he ever was, even if he can now afford the good drugs.**

I still have more than a month to get ready for the cruise I’m being taken on (see what I did there? the subtext being “against my will?”), and I’ve already lost the ability to properly digest things. Imagine how it’s going be when I’m sitting IN AN AIRPORT. I’ll be doing so with my left wrist, sans spiked bracelet, being the wrong weight. Feeling naked. Will security give me lip about my platforms? “But I’m 5’1″! I have the god-given right to wear stacks!” I don’t own luggage, I don’t take vacations, I don’t have a passport (yet), and I damn sure don’t get on planes. I enjoy my cage of fear. It has a nice throw rug.

Every so often, little goth chicks have to look the universe in the face and say, “bring it, bitch.” In the last year, the universe has taken some really sizable bites out of my ass, but I’ve fallen back, regrouped, and I’m ready for some payback. My name is (evil)amy, you killed my friend. Prepare to die. Please remind me of this paragraph in a month, when I’m curled up in a ball, muttering about snakes and hiding in my closet.

I can’t take full credit for the mantra, as “WWJUD” is a variation on Katy’s mantra “What Would Debbie Harry Do?” which she employs to fantastic effect, particularly when picking out shoes. In other words, here’s my inner dialogue:

“Jimmy Urine would suck it up and get on that plane and not care. Jimmy Urine would go on this cruise, turn it into performance art, and use the trip to Mexico to buy authentic Day of the Dead merch. Jimmy Urine would find the humor of this situation, and write a funny song about it. Jimmy Urine wouldn’t be in a cold sweat all the way to Florida.”

Yes, Florida. I am THIS nervous about a 45-minute plane trip. Shut up. Watching planes take off in movies makes me nervous. I haven’t been on a plane in 15 years, but I’ve always said that I would do it if I really needed to. OK, so I defined “needed to” as “Tim Burton offered me a job in L.A.” or “DHGs are sending me to London.” Ft. Lauderdale and Carnival cruise lines isn’t quite what I pictured. Can you get a functioning crystal ball on eBay?

**At least, he claims that he does all the drugs. If history is any indicator, though, his on-stage craziness probably means that he’s really quiet in real life. See also: Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson.