I ripped a CD of my dad’s on to Jordana’s hard drive the last time I was in Napa, and I listen to it constantly. It’s The Best of the Italian Sax Quartet, and there is much to be said musically about these guys, about Italians and about quartets in general, but there will be other days for those blogs, sad to say.

It is the pressure of other days that leads me to where I am right now, and a song on that CD called “Oblivion” that gives me the word for it. It’s hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t been in that moment, so bear with me.

Like Jesus and Love and everything else that means a great deal to people, I’m sure there is some sort of chemical explanation for the mental escapades you go through when you are a teen-ager and a twenty-something, but, also like those other passions, if it feels real, there isn’t much you can do but accept it.

When I was in those moments, when I had clearly had enough to drink but I drank more, when I was as full of drugs as I could possibly be and I did more, when my life was a car balanced on the edge of a cliff and I kept trying to shift my weight forward so it would fall off, when I was in these moments I never felt a lack of clarity. I wasn’t being perverse and my judgement wasn’t crippled. Oblivion, to me, wasn’t self destruction, it was more self actualization.

There was a passion in me that was jet fueled, and it led to crippling, staggering mistakes. I remember, even in to my twenties, my whole body would lock up, all my muscles tensed, curling up in a corner where no-one could see me or bother me, for ten minutes at a stretch, and I was doing it consciously, trying to exhasut myself so I wouldn’t continue on this path of total destruction. Failure and scorn worked as well as praise… that’s not true, they worked better. Getting hit in the face, looking in the eyes of someone who’s asked for very little and you’ve let them down, it was like a shower of melted chocolate. Pain, horror and disappointment were the only things that felt real to me, and it wasn’t for the sake of drama, they really were the only things that I could feel.

There was a time, as I was growing out of this, that I was afraid of what I might do to people that I was close to. This destructive impulse goes a long way to explaining the tortures I put myself through romantically, and why people’s disdain for my exes was actually reinforcement. There were a few years when I realized that decent people were becoming my closest freinds, and they didn’t know that I had this biological need for oblivion. I was scared that my love of torture meant that they might get some of it on them accidentally.

But, as time passed and I think I either matured, or learned… or maybe the chemical things I went through in adolescence finally calmed down to an actual adulthood, I began to get the same thrills from tiny things. Talking to Jordana, cracking up Mac or Steve, and, y’know, my acting, my writing music, *cooking*- oh man, cooking really does it for me, these things give me tiny little explosions. Making my friends laugh, making my family laugh… I don’t know how it is that these simple pleasures have taken the place of that full body flexed scream that was my life when I was younger.

But they have, and that’s why I’m getting married again. And this time, it’s for better or worse, it’s not for, y’know, hoping for the worst. I’m not afraid in any way, it’s like those demons are gone to such an extent that I don’t even recognize who I used to be.

Quartets, by the way, are just about my favorite way of making music. But there will be time to talk about that later.