I made a deal with myself when the marriage tanked back in 1990. Every four to six weeks, I would take to the road. I had my excuses lined up. There were folk dance and swing dance camps everywhere. In the 1990s, I was a regular in Pittsburgh, at least two or three times a year. I would go to Cincinnati twice a year for special events. Once I made it out to Bloomington, Indiana, where the provincial Midwestern meets the inner Bohemian. I've been to Rochester and to Rhode Island. Six or seven years ago, I would have been a regular in the Baltimore zydeco scene. People just assumed I lived there. I was once a big hit at the same scene in Philadelphia (if I do say so myself).
I would put at least 15,000 miles a year on a car. During the Baltimore "era," it was over 20,000. The last few years, since I bought the Scion xB, it's been more like 14,000, then 13,000. I really love this car. I really don't love what it costs to fill a tank. The other day, I put forty dollars in a gas tank for the first time. FORTY DOLLARS!
Five years ago, the cover price for a zydeco dance was typically ten dollars. Now, with the price of gas at double what it was then, the cover prices have risen in kind. I'm paying fifteen, sometimes twenty dollars. So I had to get picky about the bands. Some are more dedicated to the craft than others, and after a while, you figure this out.
It's amazing what I used to do in 1990, when I was 36 years old, compared to what I do now, at 53. I didn't think I would age so much in so little time. The funny thing is, life is more or less where I want it to be now. I say, "more or less." I wish my studies were done so I could play the guitar more -- well, play at all, really. I wish I could lose (again) the 30 or 40 pounds I lost a few years ago.
I have less reason to run away, I guess. It's just as well; the price of running away has gone up. You can see how it's changing the lives of others. I can see how it's changed mine.