Friday night. It’s like every churchgoing Christian’s Sunday morning (or Saturday, depending on your particular denomination), but for all the red-faced heathens who only accept sermons from bearded lead singers and take their communion in shot glasses blessed by okes that need charity bad. If you’re like me, you’ve had many a heavy Friday night out on your feet. Maybe so many that they’re starting to lose their luster, like religion gone bad with each new law and lecture you discover you missed when you were a kid.
But ask the faithful and they’ll tell you that, at some point in their sorry lives, every filthy sodomite realizes that their great desire is to worship.
It’s true. What you choose to worship, though, is entirely up to you. And just like the name of your god, your temple is wherever you make it.
Last Friday night, I went to Melville to meet with my friend, and lately a sort of editor-come-muse, Megan Godsell. When it comes to motivators, I’ve had few as effective as Meg is. At our last meeting, she convinced me to get off my shapely behind and write, for her and, really, for me. I know plenty folks, “writers” all, who churn out thousands of words of content a day. Most published writers I’ve heard of point to this as the key to beginning a real career in the field. A writer, after all, writes. A fair amount of those guys and girls, though, also sympathize with my procrastinating ways and my lack of confidence when it comes to committing to my own words. Whatever. Meg is the one who makes sure we have these little creative get-togethers every now and again, and she keeps me focused and lights a little soft flame under my ass when I need it most.
One thing The Ex was right about, after all, was that I sometimes need a kick in the arse.
Coming off the sort of creative high and bolstered confidence that drinks with Megan can inspire, plus a cup of good coffee from a cute waitress at The Ant, I knew I had the rest of my Friday night free to, uh, worship, I guess. Since my real kindred wingman, Jordan, had opted out of a night on the town for what I’m sure were far fairer pursuits, that left me free to continue the quest on my own, like Indy without Steven Spielberg’s wife yelling in his ear.
Some mates were assembling at The Bohemian for a friend’s birthday. When I got there, said friend was up on stage leading his band, Columbus, through a furiously awesome set. I chucked down my 30 bucks, retried cigarettes and headed for the pulpit to hear what the priest was telling the ignorant natives. In the six months since I last saw Columbus live (maybe ‘friend’ was a strong word), they’ve evolved into something confident and contagious. Devon has renewed presence on stage, smiling down on the throbbing, thrashing crowd like he knows, better than ever before, exactly what he’s doing and why. The music’s bloody good, too.
The mood decidedly set in my head, I went off on a side quest to find Mark, of the newly minted Mark’s Wrightness blog (go give him shit about his grammar so he fixes it and unleashes his talent all over your eyeballs). This was the beginning of the end for my mind and my mood that night. Maybe I’m just difficult to please, or a little too emotional at the moment, or maybe it’s cos I saw two girls who bring up decidedly ugly memories, but there’s something about these gigs, and these bars, that nags at my spirit. You might say I need a greater Godly presence in my life, and you’d be right, just not maybe in the way you think.
As I said, you can make your temple wherever you want. God is, after all, in your head.
A place like The Bohemian, a bar I’ve been to dozens of times in the last 5 years, survives and thrives on people coming in through the front doors to worship, in their fashion, and keep the doors open for other followers of ‘the dark path’ to follow. The problem with so many people, and this much was apparent on the faces and in the words of everyone I spoke to on Friday night, is that they’re not there to live, but to relive. Each and every return trip to the bar or the band or the pool tables wasn’t an acceptance, but an escape from whatever was outside. This isn’t in and of itself a bad thing, but the constant denialism that comes with this kind of behavior just leads down a path of depression on a constant quest for the glowing red exit sign at the end of the tunnel.
Bars, like temples, become charged with the sort of energy that we put into them with our minds, our money and our selves. The desire to escape down the rabbit’s hole on a path of self-examination has value for us just like it did for Lewis Carroll’s Alice, but it’s just as easy to keep ingesting potions of growing and shrinking, and eating magic mushrooms, without any purpose and for eternity as it is to arrive at the point where we realize something significant about ourselves and about the nature of self.
So my Friday night broke and changed in the bar, peeling away layer by layer till there wasn’t a defense left in the place. And when you abandon your mind’s guard post, all you’re doing is letting the gates stand open for your enemies to creep in. That’s when constant self-reflection takes hold of you, fighting at every brief distraction and turning even a smile from a pretty girl into an opportunity to naval gaze and resist taking action. There are only good temples, but even they are prey to the demons of loathing, sadness and the other negative emotions that fill your head and crush your spirit.
Religions across the board speak of Hell, and what could be more like eternal damnation than constant self loathing flashing before your eyes?
I’m not saying stop going to bars or even stop going out. I’m just saying that we don’t need to make these watering holes that bring us all together places full of negativity and the stench of desperation. Don’t let bars like The Bo become temples of doom and self-loathing. Look at it this way: When you’re out there, you wouldn’t take a dump on the bar. Your mind is the best temple you’ve got. Don’t take a shit in it.