Wednesday, August 19, 2009
(part 195) SLOW MOTION CRASH
Before my girlfriend's father got sick and died, there was a series of events that played out. It was similar to watching a car crash in slow motion.
I received a letter from RCA saying I'd been dropped from the label, and I remember thinking to myself, "That's it? I'm just dropped?" There was no explanation to it, just "you've been dropped."
I called my girlfriend and then her father, informing them of what had happened with RCA, which was like pouring salt on an open wound. They asked if there were any reasons given, and I said, "No! They just dropped me."
To have had a record that was being played on radio stations around the country, and getting a short cold letter saying "you're out," was like getting kicked off a baseball team for hitting a home run.
I could not offer them anything, logically, that could explain what had happened to their investment or their faith in me. There was absolutely no reason at all why "Stay With Me" had not been a success for RCA, other than DP and internal politics.
I could not convince my girlfriend's father that what had happened was not my fault. As a result, all money stopped coming in, and the road ahead grew darker still.
I lost my apartment and all visible means of support. My once bright world collapsed around me like a house of cards. I was now faced with an all too familiar question of, "now what?"
Going from a self supporting sober member of society to a flat broke musician, with no home and no job, was almost more than I could bear. I sat in my living room and looked around my apartment for the last time. I hung my head at the thought of what lay ahead.
There was no other answer than, "don't kill yourself or get loaded, and put one foot in front of the other and just keep moving." It was something I'd done many times before. I reached out to people, but was treated more like a leper than a person in need of support.
The justification for this was that I had somehow convinced my girlfriend and her father that I knew what I was doing, and they'd trusted me only to find in the end I was an idiot and a liar. The entire blame for the failure was placed on me, and for the most part that remains the conclusion today.
Rather than a person following a path to a successful outcome, I was regarded as a fast talking con-man by most in AA. My despair was so overwhelming that I feared for my life and indeed my sanity.
Those two things I again knew only too well from past experience. The fact that I was sober and had to endure them once again was both mystifying and terrifying.
I had truly believed that I had had a partnership with God, and was simply doing what he wanted me to. I believed that all of what had started by me getting sober, and writing a few songs, had been the right direction.
I was now sitting in the ruins of what was obviously another Bobby Jameson pipe dream. I remember looking in a mirror at my face saying "what an asshole you are," and shaking my head in disgust.
At that moment I couldn't believe that I'd thought that anything that happened in my life would ever turn out well. It never had in the past, and now here I was again standing in the ruthless reality of my pathetic existence.
I wandered through those days aimlessly holding on to my sobriety a moment at a time. I rented a bedroom in a guy's house for $200 a month, and in the end, couldn't even pay that.
My girlfriend had gotten a job at an advertising company on Sunset Blvd., and I went by her office to tell her we could still make it because we had each other and were sober. As I stood in the doorway of her workplace, like a broken child, she slowly closed the door in my face saying "It's over Bobby, go away. It's over."
I broke down in tears on the sidewalk of Sunset Blvd. where so much of my life had been left. As I stared at the familiar surroundings of "The Strip" I tried to hide my shame and humiliation from passersby, but could not.
They eyed me coldly while I leaned against the building and sobbed. I had nothing left. And once again, I was a human reject in utter pain and desperation. The disillusionment I felt that afternoon is with me still.
The feelings caused by my failings, and my dismissal by virtually everyone, was devastating. In that moment in my life I had nothing to live for or with.
I did not know what to do. For the next number of months, I learned what it was like to be sober and regarded as the thing not to be in AA. I found that other rejects around the program were my only salvation, and that their lot in life was now mine as well.
It was my anger then, that rose up inside me in those dark days, and pulled me through. Anger at the lies told about me, and anger at the assumption that I would probably drink as a remedy for my shortcomings, as assigned to me by the "good people."
Like a thirsty man, consuming his own sweat to stay alive, my anger refused to let me get loaded.