A cold wind blows in this place, it cuts straight through his clothes and slices like a knife through his skin. It’s bone cold in this place where Guitar Jon stands, drunk and alone, squinting through the thick fog, trying to figure out where to go.
Fear and doubt rule this place, we’ve all been here and will come back time and time again throughout our lives, but it doesn’t make it any easier or any less lonely when we do.
There are two paths he can go by, but only one holds any kind of certainty, and that certainty beckons to him, warm and safe as a straight jacket. He can see this path more clearly than the other and he can imagine himself a year down it, two years, three years.
It’s a soulless path, as all certain paths are. For him it contains no mystery and no promise of excitement, but there’s no doubt in his mind that it would be a far easier path to walk.
The other path is so thick in fog that he can’t even make out where it leads or whether it’s muddy, rocky or grassy. The plants that grow by the side of it are wild and thorny and sprout flowers that breathe exotic and sickly sweet perfumes into the air and look like they could swallow a man whole.
That second path is the one his guts tell him to walk, but will he listen to them? Or will he follow his head and walk the safe path?
I can empathise with him because I know this place so, so well and I know how it feels when you realise that for months, sometimes even years, you’ve been sitting here wondering what the fuck to do.
Stalling. Killing time while time kills you.
Every single one of us has a calling, and don’t get me wrong here, I don’t want to come across sounding all preachy and like I’ve got it figured all out, I don’t and hope I never will, but there is one thing at least that everyone does exceptionally well and that everyone loves doing.
Problem is, very few of us can make a living off that thing.
For Jon it’s playing the guitar, it’s singing and it’s writing songs. When that man picks up an acoustic steel string, or even his Telecaster, a kind of silence fills the spaces between the chords he strums and the notes he picks and sings that sounds like the world holding its breath.
In those moments he becomes the perfect conduit for something old and powerful and hungry, and like lightning striking the same spot over and over, he channels that energy through his being and through his guitar until they become one and the same.
And in those moments, he is part man and part God.
But the song ends eventually, the last chord is strummed, vibrates and fades into nothing once more and Guitar Jon turns back to his humdrum job and his humdrum life, humdrum Jon.
I once read a timeline of what would happen if the human species was wiped out completely. After a few decades all the empty buildings would begin to collapse, all the abandoned highways would crumble and the forests would gradually grow back until they were wild and lush once more.
New plant and animal species would evolve, even new microbes that could break down plastics and synthetic materials would start working their magic and after 3 billion years there would be not even one coke lid left to prove that we had ever existed.
All that would be left would be scraps and fragments of the satellite signals we broadcast into space. Our TV sitcoms and talk shows and cartoons echoing endlessly in the black ether of space. Our music would be out there too, floating through cosmic dust trails and far off asteroid fields for eternity.
That is where Guitar Jon belongs, but there’s only one road that’s gonna take him there and he has to walk it alone, as do all of us.