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Waking Up Can Be Painful

Once upon a time, near the Arctic Circle, I was a lively teenager, with really bad skin, who got angry easily.

One of the things that kept me going was music. I was glued to the radio on Sunday evenings, for a particular show that played the latest 'indie' (except it wasn't called 'indie' back then) releases from the U.S and England (mostly). Going to the record store was my going to church. Especially when I could emerge with a square bag containing that full moon disk of pitch-black vinyl. It was my blessing.

I had found out that one of my favourite bands (a kind of overwrought goth band from the U.K, too embarrassing to mention here; so we shall call them The Band from now on) where gonna play in Stockholm months into the future. My best friend and I bought tickets. And the waiting game started.

Every day I woke up with one wish only, that it would be that day, still months away, when I was going to board the south-bound overnight train to Stockholm. To see The Band.

I just couldn't wait!

Finally, one Monday I woke up, and it was drawing really near. That Friday evening I was going to board that train.

The week dragged on, like honey lingers on the spoon, my whole being restless, so restless.

Finally it was Friday. Yes!!! But the hours I had to 'kill' until the train would depart felt like the entire Ice Age.

But somehow I made it through and we boarded the train as night started to settle in over the arctic tundra and the icy sea.

I was so antsy I was literally vibrating in my seat. Damn train, start moving goddamn it! No thanks to me probably, but the train did start to roll. Very slowly though, did it shuffle through the nordic pine tree forests.

And I couldn't wait to be in Stockholm!

About 15 hours later, on Saturday morning, the train chugged into the Central Station and we stumbled off the train in the capital. But now we had a whole day to kill. Until the concert started in the evening. As concerts often do.

More waiting. More restless energy. More wishing to not be in the present moment. More projecting myself into a future that for all I knew would never come. Except I didn't know that then.

Drinking beer helped a little. It took the edge off this discomfort with the present moment, and is probably the reason why it became such a steady companion over the next decades. We met up with friends. Did some shopping. Checked the time.

And then at last, we have queued our way into the concert venue. We have suffered through the opening act. We are bathed in purple light and cigarette smoke. Our panda-style eyeliner is melting in the heat. Start to play already! And The Band comes out in a cloud of smoke-machine smoke and starts the first song.

I should have arrived. Finally be there now. But as they were playing that song, which I thought I loved, I found myself waiting for the show to be over, so I could talk to my friends about how amazing it was.

And somehow it dawned on me, that this was sick. To live like this was sick. Always longing to be somewhere else. Unable to enjoy the present moment as it unfolds split second by split second.


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