it's the first day of school. okay, not for me, but for most kids who were lucky enough to have their summer vacations extended beyond the labor day weekend. and i was always THAT kid, positively sick with worry, wracked with nerves, even if i wasn't changing schools or homerooms or anything. it didn't matter, change was happening- vile, evil change had infested my life yet again, interrupting my lazy summer days.
and every year since i've stopped school of any kind, the late summer has brought unspeakable anxiety; some residual childhood stress (as though i needed more), that still shakes me, lame though it may be.
i twittered around like a squirrel on the night of Bob's tribute show. we were running late. i had to make opening remarks. i was terrified of messing up Bob's songs. sound check was crazy. his family was there. i was so nervous that i couldn't eat or drink.
when the show started, i made my little pseudo-speech, in which i attempted to sum up everything that Bob meant to everybody. terrified that my voice would give out in grief, i began the show with Bob's "blue light of dawn." thankfully, my buddies in Pesky J. Nixon (www.peskyjnixon.com) were there to back me up, both emotionally and musically, and all went well.
after intermission, Bob's sister said a few words about Bob, and told a story about Bob sending her a sign, in a way that only he could have.
now i'm not one to really believe in signs, but i did believe her. still, none of my dead friends or relatives had ever visited me or given me any sign. and i'd always wished for one.
but since the night that Bob died, i've been hearing his unmistakable, raspy voice in my head. on that night, we were all at open mic, and i thought that we should all have a moment of silence. i heard, "i don't want any goddamned moment of silence." when i would break down while practicing his songs, i'd hear, "can it with the waterworks." when i was questioning whether or not my black dress was too short for his funeral, i SWEAR i heard, "it's just fine with me, baby."
but of course, i only thought that meant that i was going crazy. the other day, someone else was telling me that he'd had a sign from Bob. later on that day, i was walking around, listening to my ipod, when i had a conversation with Bob in my head.
"everyone else gets a sign, could i have one, please?" i asked.
"even if it's something as simple as the next song that comes up on my ipod having some sort of significance... i'll take that," i said.
and the next song had no particular significance to me and Bob. (it was Rilo Kiley's "portions for foxes, if anyone is keeping score.)
"dammit Bob, please?" i asked.
throughout the rest of the song, i brooded. i thought how stupid i'd been, having crazy fake conversations with a dead person. toward the end of the song, i heard something.
"aw, come on, that would have been too easy."
this time, i gave the voice inside my head the silent treatment, convinced that it wasn't real.
the next song that came up on my ipod WAS significant. it was Bob's song. it was "baby, i love you." it was the second Bob song that i sang at the tribute show. it was the song that Bob wrote to comfort himself when his wife died.
i clapped my hands over my mouth and tried to stifle my yelp. i thought back to the tribute show, being on stage, surrounded by friends and remembering Bob, and felt a little better about things, even if it meant i was going crazy. there was no need to worry about Bob, or about other insignificant thing. Bob is still being a smartass, and the stupid things are still stupid. perhaps it's not always such a bad thing to hear voices.