I sat in a tiny café across from Le National Concert Hall eating the best Brie and tomato baguette I’ve ever tasted, listening to the flowery fragments of French conversation surrounding me, and thinking, damn, in a blink of an eye, everything ends. Flashforward four days and I’m sitting in the passenger seat of our van looking at the vast emptiness of the Arizona high desert 100 miles east of Flagstaff. Two days ago I was in Columbus Ohio. Or was it three days ago? We’ve been driving for so long now it’s hard to tell what day it is, hard to ever uncrick your back, hard to have any thoughts at all other than GET ME OUT OF THIS VAN.
We spent our blink of an eye in Montreal visiting Todd’s friend’s bookshop in the west end of the city, just past the park on the hill overlooking downtown. The bookshop resided in a hipster feeling neighborhood; cafes and trinket shops lined the streets, above which sat small brick apartment buildings with interesting staircases, all of which suited us fine. Drawn and Quarterly was quaint and well stocked, combining the best elements of a cluttered mom and pop place and a savvy boutique. Todd’s friends were out of town, but it was entertaining to stop in for a moment. Sometimes the best thing on tour is having a purpose, something specific to do, other than sustain your body, drive, and play.
We were treated kindly and respectfully the whole tour, but this being our last night, we were especially spoiled by Ok Go, Company of Thieves, and their crews. The set was somewhat emotional for me; not only was this the end of a very surreal experience that I’d waiting my entire life to have-our first national tour—it ended in a beautiful venue. Le National looks like any other city building from the outside, but inside it has ornate woodcarvings, lush balconies, and a gigantic stage, with plush back stage amenity rooms for the bands and crews. How could I ever want to stop doing this?
Sure, there’s a certain fear akin to a heroin addict always trying to recreate the first high, and I’ve confronted the fact that no other tour will be like our first tour and I’m ok with that. What I’m not ok with is the fear that I’ll never go on another one. But I’m learning to discount that one, too. So when I took the stage for our final performance, I tried to tune my guitar slowly, and take a few moments to look at the crowd and ponder the significance of my presence in that moment.
Some time in January a friend of mine and I were arguing over whether life had any intrinsic meaning and he continually came upon the point that life has subjective meaning, the meaning that we give to our individual experiences. I countered again and again with the question But is that enough? Staring out at the faces of the crowd, expectantly waiting for the show to begin, I answered my own question.