Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chapter Four

Midnight. The show had gone a little long. Last show of the tour - might as well use it all up. The four of them had thrown out all of the regular bits, plus trying some new stuff that they might want to use on the club circuit as they waited for another steady gig to come along. Thus was the life of a comedian.

What to do now, now that the show was over? Tucker was too keyed up to be able to go home and sleep right away. He knew from these many nights on the road that it would take a couple of hours more to burn off the energy and be able to lay down for some zzzz's. The difference tonight, though, was that he was back in his hometown.

Tucker had been invited over to a fraternity's after-hours parties, and had declined. Really, he was past that in his life. Not that he hadn't had plenty of nights in his life where he had gone out after a show on the road and found any of the myriad ways to get in trouble when no one knows you personally. He had. He had his share of wild nights, both enjoyed and regretted. But, he was grown up now. Now he was into more sedate entertainments. The other comedians had taken up the frat on their offer though, especially Courteny - who would be worshipped there. Tucker wished them all good luck and said he would see them out on the circuit in some dive somewhere sometime. He had spent enough time with them in the last 6 months that he didn't need to draw out the good-bye.

It was just a quick walk over to his off-campus apartment. Down past the Student Union and over across the Quad. Past the Performing Arts Center and down some side streets to a small apartment building, where he had found a short-term sublet on an efficiency apartment from a student who was departing the campus early. He had gotten a good deal on it actually, and had gotten it mostly furnished. He had moved his few possesions, a TV and Stereo and some books and bedding, in earlier yesterday. That was before his disorienting afternoon nap before the show.

Tucker turned on the TV and flicked through the channels while his laptop was booting up. He had recently been to the phone store and purchased an aircard for it so that he could get online wherever he was on the road and stay connected to his social network sites. He had a pretty strong signal on campus and would be online quickly, networked in with his vitural buddies. It was an everyday addiction, enabled by Verizon and Blogger, and Twitter, and all of the other sites that he frequented and participated in. What could he say? He was an online addict, and he knew it. It was his way of dealing with loneliness.

He could put nice face on it and call it "solitude" instead of loneliness in the times when it bothered him. Strange that a man who made most of his living on stage entertaining hundreds or thousands in his best gigs preferred solitude. Reveled in it, actually. But, that was just who he was, honestly. On-stage a clown. Off-stage a loner. Not having many friends IRL - in real life - was an occupational hazard for Tucker. That was certainly one tangible cost of living life on the road. Out of a suitcase. Transient. On the rare ocassions when he stopped to consider that cost, Tucker would admit to himself that what he had were more like acquaintances. Some, at church for example, were long-term acquaintainces that had never really progressed to more than that.

Virtual friendships and virtual habits had come to compensate for what he lacked in his life in the flesh-and-blood department. Wherever he was, whatever town he was in, wherever he was staying, he had the internet to keep him company. He could connect, sign on, and surf and meet up with his network of online friends. Facebook for keeping up with family, coworkers, and old high school buddies. Twitter was for expressing himself out into the world 140 characters at a time - micro-opinions - and for keeping his small coterie of fans up to date on his travels and gigs.

He could also indulge his hobby of browsing site after site of news and political opinion. He would start with the news aggregator sites like the DrudgeReport and browse article after article on current events. Then he was off to the mainstream partisan sites for links to editorial columnists, which formed a lot of his understanding about more complex issues of the day. Finally to the highly-partisan forums, both left and right, for flame-thrower chat from the commenters. Those were always highly entertaining, as long as you remained a lurker like Tucker did and stayed out of the line of fire.

No doubt about it. Tucker was a news junkie.

And tomorrow was the super bowl for news junkies. Election day.

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