I made a lot of choices in 2015. The choices that seemed like they were going to end in disaster ended up becoming some of the best moments of my life. On a solo tour stop in Atlanta I was visiting my friend Chelsea. I met a couple while getting a cup of coffee in the morning and before I knew it they were inviting me to their wedding in the woods. They exchanged vows under a waterfall while this hippy guy played mandolin. Chelsea and I were the only witnesses and they traced the shape of our feet in a book they were putting together for their future child. In Turner's Falls, MA the amazing artist/musician Noel'le Longhaul gave me a tattoo of the cover from The Fiery Furnaces' Bitter Tea.
But then I also made the choice to move to a boring commuter town outside of New York City with a girl I didn't really know that well. It seemed like a really good choice at the time and I wouldn't necessarily advocate that someone doesn't move somewhere far away with their significant other, it was just disastrous for me.
The thing about moving is that once you get there, you also need to find a job. She had a real good one but I didn't. One day on Craigslist I saw an ad that a piano tuner / technician / mover was looking for help. No experience required. I had never worked on pianos before but I knew how to play them so I went down to a run down warehouse in the Shippan neighborhood of Stamford, got the job, and started the next Monday. I was told it was going to be a pretty standard 9-5 job. Occasional late hours with notice. $10/hr.
It only took one day for me to realize I wasn't going to be working there long. Hours were instantly cut and I was constantly listening to a barrage of sexist and racist comments about our clients. I was physically threatened and called a whole range of homophobic and misogynistic slurs.
The last day I worked for them we were moving a piano to Scarsdale, NY. I had been asked to drive a commercial truck that I'm not licensed for. My boss and coworker were smoking pot in the back. I was constantly being screamed at: "Drive faster! Drive slower!" Finally I turned around and told them I shouldn't be driving anymore. I was uncomfortable. It was an unsafe situation and despite how much I needed the money I couldn't put myself through it anymore. Our boss told me to get out of the truck. We were on I-95.
I got out of the truck on the side of the highway and walked to a train station in Scarsdale. I had $10. I was able to buy a ticket to Harlem and then jumped on the train back to Stamford hoping that I could make it to Connecticut without being asked for a ticket. The conductor was walking towards me when I was able to get off the train and walk the three miles back to the warehouse and get my car.
Over the next month I fought with my former boss over whether or not he should pay me. He was trying to claim that he had hired me as an apprentice that CT apprenticeship law allowed him not to pay me. He was wrong. I did eventually get paid but not after exchanging some heated emails, texts, and phone calls. So I saved them all and set them to music. Here you go: