Shift West

Feelin' The Groove of Shift West

1 year ago in Albuquerque

by Barron

Today started out a little frazzled. We'd slept through our alarms at Patrick's apartment and woke to find him needing to leave for work - like, right then. So we grabbed our instruments and laptops and paints and dashed out the door.

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After a long, unnecessary loop by my fault, we sat down at Starbuck with our coffees and split a breakfast sandwich. (Thanks again for the gift card, Margie! If you're in Waco and need some have a photo job, she's your woman.)

Our plans was as follows:

Enjoy our burnt coffee Write blogs, edit photos, make video Get to NMU campus by mid-morning to make money playing music between classes Get rich Travel onward, potentially to Santa Fe or maybe try to work at Christ of the Desert Monastery Live happily ever after What actually happened was that we stayed at Starbucks until noon and didn't leave Albuquerque until 6:00P. Meanwhile, all the stars were aligning..

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I was in the groove on Adobe Premiere with my paintings splayed out on the table next to me with "FOR SALE," written sloppily on the back of our receipt. A man walked up with a inquisitive grin. I take out my headphones. "Are these yours?" he asked. "They certainly are! And they're for sale," I say with my most sarcastic salesman voice.

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He picks one up to have a closer look and we start chatting. "I just finished up architecture school. Watercoloring was something I picked up along the way and just can't seem to let go. It's too much fun." He looks up from over his glasses, a slight gleam in his eyes. "Oh yeah? Well, that's cool. I'm an architect." I light up. For some reason, this is always really exciting. I immediately feel as though he and I look at the world similarly, find inspiration in strange places, and of course, have a passion for design and human well-being. As David Foster Wallace said in his This is Water speech, "Of course, none of this is likely. But it's also not impossible." Those threads of "maybe" keep me on my toes a lot of times.

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Scott shows me his work and the firm he helped start and just recently stepped away from. 10 Design. They do work all around the world - really impressive projects. Jacob is on the other side of the table, watching the interactions. Every once in a while, I look up and give him an expression of, "something good is happening right now." I thoroughly enjoyed our time with Scott. He decided upon one of my paintings and paid us. We both held in our excitement. "It's working!!" our eyes screamed at one another. Scott said farewell and left us in high spirits. He's currently building a home in Colorado. Scott, if you're reading this, I wish you the finest weather and sweetest fruit in this new season of life.

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Scott's appearance opened a floodgate. Just before he'd shown up, I had posted a picture of my paintings on Facebook, letting people know we were having a hard time making money in Albuquerque. Text after text came in. Within fifteen minutes, all of my paintings had sold and I had a hand full of commissions. We'd made more money in one hour than we probably have over the last week.

I am inclined to say, "Whatever stress had built up was released. We were going to make it through the next week," but the truth is that Jacob and I haven't been stressed yet. Even on our hardest days. Sure, our spirits have been low at times, like yesterday when we played for three hours and made $10. But never has either of us vocalized - or even thought, I trust - "We're not going to be okay." We've had so many conversations with people about how the universe provides. It's one of those things that we kind of joke about afterwards, sometimes quoting in a stoner/surfer accent, but things always do turn out well. I think sometimes, people who refer to "the universe" are actually talking about God and may not have the courage to say it. Or maybe it's the other way around and the universe is saying, "Who's this God guy?" Either way, something always happens. Whatever your position, religious or not, I think there's a large community that believes that if you open yourself to an alternative path, you may find it's easiest and better than whatever it was you had planned.

After a lucrative session of blogging, we went to NMU campus and practiced our set. Sitting in the grass, we developed our harmonies, working up good energy and getting that nervous excitement. "This is our crowd," we kind of stupidly giggled. We rode our motorcycles onto the main plaza on campus, which is not allowed and was very exciting. We set up our little stage and played our set through twice. And it was good! We're starting to sound pretty alright. And guess how much money we made? $3.36. Yup, not a huge success on that end, but the pressure of having to make money was gone today and we enjoyed every bit of it. Lesson learned, though - we need to set up in a place that bottlenecks. Otherwise, people will actively avoid you. We could sense the invisible wall people put up between us and them as they skirted around the plaza, away from us.

We left Albuquerque in high spirits, myself even more so because of the success with selling my paintings. There can't be many feelings better than people enjoying something produced by you. I hope someday it's buildings that people enjoy that I've had a large hand in designing.

The drive to Santa Fe was beautiful. Courtesy of our friend, Sam, we treated ourselves to good beer when we arrived. After some late night grocery shopping, we took a curvy road out to the Santa Fe National Forest and enjoyed some simply perfect sandwiches under the red light of our headlamps. It's cool outside. We slept like rocks, with full bellies and peace of mind. Eleven days in and Shift West is finally starting to feel natural. Jake and I are in agreement... we could keep this up for a long time.