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Monday, February 5, 2018 / Southwest headed to Boston

Had a rough trip to the airport this morning. I was okay until I stopped at Torchy’s for my breakfast taco, usually eaten as the evening meal after spending an entire day heating in my Timbuk 2 laptop bag, heating not in a good way but a somewhat dangerous way. I’ve been taking the 10am nonstop flights to Boston from Austin because travel is better in so many ways without a connection – quicker, less chance of delayed or cancelled flights, less time in airports. Still a fucking drag but better.

But, as I was saying, it was a rough trip. I did dull the pain of travel a bit with some wax on my way out the door and normally that doesn’t make me overly paranoid, no more than usual, but this trip was different. Before I’d gone more than a mile the panic attack, my old drinking buddy, decided to ride shotgun. Sounds like a line from a bad movie. I found myself wedged into traffic at the intersection of airport and MLK in Austin unsure if I would be passing out or if I could make it through the next couple of minutes and actually drive the car. Those out there who have panic attacks know the feeling: heart beating faster and faster, vision gets blurry, cold sweat sometimes – it’s terror, plain and simple. I’ve been having these things since I was pretty young – early 20’s maybe? I was living in Tallahassee, Florida, not too far from the infamous Ted Bundy sorority house. Right around the corner actually – it was horrible at the time and that hasn’t changed in the 40 years or so since then. I remember my roommates were Geoff Johnson, Glenn Grayson and a bass player whose name I think was Jay Schnorr(?) - Jay had been to prison but I don’t recall the reason why. Shadowy guy.

I had just returned from visiting my dad in Sugarloaf Key, about 20 miles north of Key West. That may have been the time that I hitchhiked from Tallahassee to Key West, monumentally stupid, but I had very little money. I was a student of Bruce Holzman at FSU, studying classical guitar, practicing an insane amount and not getting enough to eat. I think I worked in the music library and as a security guard at Wackenhut security, working the metal detector at the airport and all night weekend shifts at a trucking hub – basically practicing in an empty warehouse all night and once an hour rattling some locks. That trip to Key West may also have been fraught with stepmother crazy shit which contributed to my first major attack. Actually, no may have about it, every trip was fraught with her insanity. I still believe that she poisoned my father but that’s another story. I imagine that my father put me to work in the freaking tropical sun doing something ridiculous like re-shingling the roof or digging trenches through the coral rock covered in about 2 inches of sandy topsoil. This could also be the trip in which she threw me out of the house and my dad had to bring me to the Greyhound station in Marathon to ride the 18 hours back to Tallahassee. So, I would have arrived sunburnt and worn out, ready to start a new quarter (FSU used quarters and not semesters if I recall correctly). I remember that my roommates were smoking some weed in the living room, I joined them (nothing excessive) and then I was suddenly terrified, totally dizzy and unable to get out of bed for a few days. The first ones were the scariest and I’ve learned since then that more often than not I won’t pass out, I’ve learned what sets off the attacks (large inside spaces like Target or airports, driving in busy traffic in texas, going over high bridges or overpasses). Probably some more triggers but like I said, I just don’t want to think about these things.

Getting back to my original scenario I was able to make the left onto Airport and after another terrifying 20” with lots of “can I do this?” moments I landed at the end-of-the-earth lot and negotiated the TSA. They had to use the explosives swipe on the elbow support I’m wearing on my left elbow. Luckily they didn’t make me remove my trousers to inspect the knee brace/support on my right knee. I do believe that age is rearing its ugly fucking head. Having run the TSA gauntlet I found myself walking through ABIA wondering not only how much longer I will be able to keep up this pace but whether I was going to be able to make this trip at all. During the 15” spent in the open at Lot E North/row 4, I discovered to my dismay that it was much colder than I had assumed – it was fucking freezing and in discreetly observing my fellow travelers I was at least somewhat assured that it wasn’t the panic attack talking.

Friday, February 9 / Austin

I’ll have to continue this later but my flight back from Boston was cancelled Wednesday night and I had to take the 5:20am Wed. flight with connections back. Will do Berklee makeups next week, today headed for UT to teach then driving to Houston to play at Cezanne with Woody Witt, David Craig and Daniel Dufour. I’ll take pics.

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