Empty Parking Lot

A certain singer songwriter, who was a solo act in the stricted sense of the word, as he took to the stage with his electric guitar and nothing else; whose lyrically spare, and melodically repetitive songs about isolation amidst desolate interior and exterior spaces garnered him a modicum of critical respect and almost zero in terms of remuneration; and who was asked to open for another singer songwriter (whose circumstances, both critical and commerical, stood in diametrical opposition to his own), had just finished the last song of his set (a circular rave-up about a Vietnam veteran who, while walking through an empty parking lot late at night crosses paths with a member of his platoon long thought to have been Missing in Action ) when, because of the tepid applause that greeted the song (or, perhaps it wasn’t tepid applause, perhaps it was mildly enthusiastic, or maybe even raucous, he could not tell and had never been able to, his inability to read a crowd being quasi-autistic, and it was this lack of comprehension that made him disgusted with himself, a disgust which manifested itself via a lashing out instead of in), which he considered his best, announced his retirement from the music business. Sitting in his motel room hours later the singer songwriter received a phone call from his manager, who told him that announcing his retirement while still under contact to not only see out the rest of the tour but produce one more album was beyond fiscally irresponsible and into the realm of the suicidal. His manager told him that the fallout from such an irrational decision would follow him for years, if not decades to come, and make any subsequent return to the music business almost impossible. His manager also pointed out that the legal ramifications would seriously compromise his day to day life, as well as the day to day life of those directly related to him, such as any wife and child he might want to acquire in the near future. And so the singer songwriter took to the stage the next night, explained to a nonplussed crowd that his announcement the night before had been an inside joke between himself and himself, and then proceeded to play “Empty Parking Lot” for the entirety of his set, to the mounting irritation of the crowd. As he left the stage a beer bottle came out of nowhere and exploded at his feet. In some venues, he thought to himself, this was confirmation of a job well done.

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