RW189 - An Economy of Popsicle Sticks

This week, Dan and John talk about:

  • Dan having trouble with his audio interface (Podcasting)
  • Deals for people in the music business (Music)
  • Paul Reed Smith (PRS) guitars (Music)
  • Guitar collectors, Jason Isbell getting a 59 Les Paul from Lynyrd Skynyrd (Music)
  • John’s apartment on Capitol Hill being on a 100 year lease (Architecture)
  • John not wanting to borrow things he can’t own, not wanting anybody to have control (Attitude and Opinion)
  • Getting married for practical reasons (Attitude and Opinion)
  • Commitments (Personality)

Bonus-content for Patreon supporters:

  • Asking for book recommendations (Books)

The show title refers to the building that John lived in on Capitol Hill in 1996 that the guy who rented it out didn’t own but had a 100 year lease on.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

Dan having trouble with his audio interface (RW189)

Dan has had some trouble with his FocusRite audio interface that has gone tits up, although it was only a few months old, but it is completely kaputt, so Dan has to send it back and get it fixed. He is on the Universal Audio Arrow, which is a wonderful device also, but he had to quickly plug everything in and see if he could make it work with a different mic because he hadn’t used it for a while.

The Long Winters bass player Eric Corson is now a full time employee at Universal Audio in California. They make the best audio gear in the whole darn universe! Dan agrees and he used to have a much more expensive Universal Audio Apollo 8 preamp and he loved that thing, but it was FireWire and then he had trouble with the computer that had Firewire where it was plugged in and of course you can adapt Thunderbolt to FireWire and Dan did, but then a friend who wanted to buy it from him and he sold it to him and he got the little Arrow as a holdover.

Deals for people in the music business (RW189)

Dan thinks he has to bite the bullet and spend the big bucks and he wonders if John’s friend can hook him up with a discount, but it is very complicated there at the old relationship between John and Eric. Eric said that Universal Audio doesn’t do friend-deals, which is what a lot of people in various industries say and sometimes it is true. For instance when the Gibson Guitar company 30 years ago sponsored an artist they would give them a guitar, which is what you would expect if you were a Gibson-endorsed artist, but by the time John became an endorsed artist they had stopped doing that and their new deal was that you can borrow a guitar for as long as you want, but if you want to buy it you have to basically buy it at wholesale cost, which is 90% of the actual cost and not cheap.

Most of the Rock music business is transacted in perks and freebies. Bands never get paid as much as anyone thinks, but as a music business person or if you have been in a band for long enough that you know people you get free tickets to everything and you get access, which is part of the appeal of being a celebrity. Just like any kind of privilege it is a form of payment. Privilege really is payment in the form of access. People would pay to get that access, sometimes a lot, and you can calculate the value of your free access to things that often feels deserved or feels like it is your entitlement, and you can put a price on it for someone who doesn’t have it.

For instance there is hardly a Rock concert in the United States that John can’t waltz into. If he doesn’t know the band or their people he knows someone who knows someone who knows someone and somewhere along the line one of his friends is going to translate that friendship into a conversation with somebody else and they say: ”There is somebody here that I need you to get on the list!” They are not going to say: ”This is my buddy who is in a little band!”, but as it gets translated up, your status with people who don’t know you becomes connected to the status of the person who is asking on your behalf.

When John’s friend Chad gets him into a Rock concert because he is in Los Angeles that night it is not because John is important, but because Chad is important and John is important to Chad. In a few worlds that doesn’t work. It will never get you into a Rolling Stones concert. It will never get you into a Coldplay concert. It might get you into a Paul McCartney concert, but some musical acts are big enough that they can say: ”No one, not even the daughter of the president of my record company can just waltz in!” Of course that os a lie because the daughter of the president of the record company is always going to waltz in, but they start shutting down the gates on people like Chad’s friend John pretty early in the game for these big operations.

Your status goes away and then your money is no good and you are back out on the street. With Universal Audio everybody wants a free or discounted piece of Universal Audio gear. It is not mass produced stuff that is basically as good as everything else, but it is primo gear and so many people out there with a friend in the entertainment business doing audio know that. When Eric says they don’t give free stuff and they don’t even give him free stuff, which is the universal tag line when someone is telling you that you can’t have anything free, then it is almost guaranteed that there isn’t a way.

If you work at the Apple Store you can’t just hand out Macintoshes. Dan thinks that Tim Cook could or Steve Jobs could and he knows for a fact that Steve Jobs gave Martha Stewart an iPod. She dropped it and made a comment publicly to the effect of: ”Well, this is the one that Steve gave me!” and Dan felt really bad about it.

Paul Reed Smith (PRS) guitars (RW189)

Dan knew a guy who knew a guy who worked at the Paul Reed Smith guitar factory (PRS Guitars). People who own those guitars are the same kind of person who have nothing to do with biker culture and just decide that because they want a motorcycle and they got lots of money they need a Harley. PRS guitars are beautiful guitars, but they are very expensive and there is no cheap PRS guitar. Dan loved these guitars, he had the opportunity to play one in a guitar center a few times and he really likes them, and his friend told him he had a friend who works there and who could get him very good discounts, basically the same price that the music store would pay, which was half or whatever. Dan had been looking at an Epiphone Les Paul, but through this friend he could get a PRS Custom 24 for the same price.

Every Friday all of the guitars that had been made that week would come out, ready to be sent to music stores, and his friend would send Dan pictures of them and ask if he liked any of them. After a few weeks he finally found one that was perfect and had the right top and everything else and Dan bought it and when he sold it years later he made three times what he paid for it, which doesn’t happen with a new guitar, but only a vintage guitar. Dan wrote a check to PRS Guitars, it wasn’t like the guy snuck it out the back door, but it was a friends and family thing.

The guy that got Eric the job at Universal Audio is longtime friend Mike Squires who has a long and checkered work history, not checkered in the sense that he ever got fired from anything or that he worked for very long as a gigolo, but checkered in a sense that he has worked every kind of job. For a while he was the Paul Reed Smith rep for the West Coast, he had a little van that he would fill it up with Paul Reed Smiths and he would drive it up and down the coast and go to all the music store, walk in and say: ”Hey, it’s me!” - ”Hey, it is Mike Squires!” - ”Check out these new Paul Reed Smiths!” - ”Wow. We’ll take a dozen!”

At some point Mike was demoing some kind of guitar wankery and that led to some kind of other guitar wankery and then he met the guy that was doing this kind of wankery and the Universal Audio gig came up and Mike recommended Eric and Eric got that job, at first part time or in his spare time, and then they offered him the full time job, flew him to California, set him up, it is all a big family game out here. John never liked Paul Reed Smiths, not a thing about them, and the whole time that Mike was repping Paul Reed Smiths it never occurred to John to ask if there was a Paul Reed Smith in it for him and it never occurred to Mike to mention it because they both knew that John didn’t want one.

It is very rare in Rock’n’Roll that there is a really good guitar like Paul Reed Smith, but a guitar player like John who likes guitars is not interested in it. Paul Reed Smiths are some kind of litmus test. If John had a Paul Reed Smith right here in the room he would sit and tinker with it for sure, but he could never fall in love with that guitar. Dan never did either, that is why he sold it. There was a little something missing, but he could never put his finger on what it was. They are beautifully made, the bird inlays are so beautiful, but it missed something. Even the Epiphone Les Paul that he had years before that had something. Dan put DiMarzio pickups in there, which is a common thing to do, beefed it up, and was channeling Slash for a little while.

Paul Reed Smith is a guy who still walks the Earth. Squires knew him because he worked for him. Smith did what so many people have tried to do: There is a whole class of people somewhere between woodworkers and soldering iron jockeys whose dream it is to just make guitars that are great. They don’t even want to sell them, but they just want to make great instruments because there is a mythology around the instrument craftsman that goes back to Stradivarius, the idea that you with your hands are going to make a guitar that changes the world somehow.

Guitar collectors, Jason Isbell getting a 59 Les Paul from Lynyrd Skynyrd (RW189)

Brian May and his dad were making his signature guitar out of a mantlepiece from a fireplace because the tree got hit in a lightning storm and all this stuff. The weirdest thing is that Brian May had never even played guitar and his first guitar was the one they made at home. They wrapped their coils for the pickups themselves. John could not be further away from whatever the wellspring of that kind of desire is. He doesn’t want to wrap his own pickup coils, he doesn’t want to carve a guitar out of a fallen mantelpiece that was hit by lightning, but he does want a great guitar and he is constantly searching for that guitar because all musicians feel like the guitar itself has music in it and you want to find one that got all this music in it.

Jason Isbell famously just recently got his hands on the 59 Les Paul that was played by Lynyrd Skynyrd and that is worth $500.000. As well as Jason Isbell is doing with his Grammys and his hot life John doesn’t think that there are many gigging musicians that can afford $500.000 guitars who aren’t guitar-slinging guitarists. Slash can afford a 59 Les Paul, but Jason Isbell is still a working gigging normal guy, he is not a stadium rocker.

The guitar player Joe Bonamassa is famous in the Rock music world for collecting guitars. Every time somebody finds an amazing guitar, their first thought is that maybe Joe Bonamassa will buy it. He has a guitar collection that when he dies there will be a museum just of his guitars because he has made a study of them and he has bought all the right ones. John’s sense of the 59 Les Paul that belonged to Ed King, the Skynyrd guitar player, is that some kind of deal happened.

John doesn’t know the terms of it obviously and he is not close enough with Jason that he would ask him, but it seems like the estate of Ed King worked out an arrangement where that guitar is now in the hands of Jason Isbell. It is not clear whether it is a lifetime lease or whether some benefactor lauded for him. If somebody said: ”Dan, you can’t have this thing, but you can use it as long as you want to use it”, he wouldn’t want that, and his son is the same. Something feels unnatural about that.

John’s apartment on Capitol Hill being on a 100 year lease (RW189)

When John lived on the block which is now the center of the CHOP Capitol Hill Occupied Zone, his apartment was in a former tire warehouse that got converted into apartments. That whole neighborhood is now the heart and soul of Capitol Hill where all the bars are and all the young people stroll the boulevard, but in 1995 there was one bar there The Comet, and a new venue called Moe’s Mo’ Rockin’ Cafe went in there, but it was the old auto row with auto shops and part supply stores. The guy who had the building that John lived in was an impresario who had gotten a 100 year lease on the building and then started renting out spaces in it.

Their friend Tommy, who was the Rock’n’Roll carpenter, threw up some walls and divided the space into probably 20 spaces that were all about 1500 square feet. He didn’t put any plumbing in the building, there was a bathroom at the end of the hall, and he didn’t really wire the spaces for electricity. The owner said: ”All right, I am renting these out, but they aren’t living spaces (wink, wink) and the renters are responsible for improving the spaces. You can do whatever you want within the 1500 square feet, but anything you do to the building belongs to me and you are not allowed to live here (wink, wink)!”

A few of them did turn their space into their art studio, a couple became art galleries, but down at the end of the hall they all moved into them. Whoever worked for the city enforcing code came around once a year and they all had to very quickly convert their apartment into an art gallery and hide all the beds. It was already a cool kid art gallery looking space because that is how they were all living, with things all over the walls that their friends had done. They had a stage in their apartment that they put on shows. The word would go out when the inspector was coming. John did all the wiring for that apartment and none of that would have passed code. Nothing ever got inspected. When the inspector was supposedly coming to the building they were told not even to be there.

It was all based on an economy of popsicle sticks. How could this all be happening in a building that this guy didn’t even own? some rando family that lives in Tucson, Arizona inherited this building from their great grandfather and they didn’t want to sell it and leased it to this guy for 100 years? No-one is going to live longer than 100 years, so this guy therefore has exclusive use of this building for the rest of his life. There were surely terms built in where the cost increases within the lease are going to work to this guy’s advantage. He bet on Capitol Hill becoming nicer and nicer and he absolutely won that bet.

Those spaces are surely now thousands of dollars. When they hit that light switch, the lights that go on in that apartment might still be the ones that John wired back in 1996 and John couldn’t be more proud. John did it right, but it wouldn’t have passed code because he is a bad solderer because he adds too much solder and when he takes two wires and twists them together with a little plastic cap there is nothing casual about the way that he does that kind of thing which means he overdoes it. An electrician puts the two wires together, sticks the cap on, twists them because the cap is designed to twist the two wires together without a lot of additional work. John would twist them together with a pair of pliers and then twists the cap on.

An inspector is not going to go look at that stuff and it is not necessarily bad, but a seasoned inspector would recognize that it was not done by an electrician, but by a hobbyist. It just wouldn’t look right because John was too meticulous and he overdid it and overthought it. It all hangs together, though. Those spaces probably don’t remain unplumbed. At some point they plumbed them if people are still living in them. John heard after he left that they made porn in his apartment in the early days of Internet porn.

The idea that John was investing money in a space that he didn’t own and that those improvements were owned by a guy that also didn’t own the building made John uncomfortable. It is a fairly common situation in the world and a lot of people have inherited money in the form of property. The building in New York City that they convert into the new headquarters of Nordstrom or whatever isn’t owned by them, but it is owned ultimately by a family who lives off the income of the property that they own. John gets that as an ambition and he has friends that appear to be on the path to owning five houses and can retire because they got the house they live in and then they are renting four houses that they bought cheaply but wisely and the market caught up with them.

One day they were in a position where after many years of scraping by to keep these mortgages afloat and hoping that the bottom didn’t fall out of it and being underwater, gradually they got to a place where it was all stable and now they are hoping that 20 years from now these will be properties that will sustain them. Owning five houses is not the same as owning a building in Manhattan, let alone five buildings in Manhattan. John knows a girl whose family owned property in Phoenix that was significant enough that it sustained the family, not just her, and when she reached a certain age she got her portion of the income from this block of buildings. It is an intriguing universe.

John not wanting to borrow things he can’t own, not wanting anybody to have control (RW189)

John wants to own anything that you give him. He wants to either buy it or not have it. He doesn’t even want to look at it if he can’t possess it. Dan thousand million billion percent agrees. He might borrow an umbrella if he leaves someone’s house and it rains, but he doesn’t want to borrow a guitar or something big. Those things are personal items and there is something about it being personal that changes it. You can pass on a personal item to someone and that seems okay, but if it is lent? You also wouldn’t lend your wife out.

A big part of it for John is never wanting to be dependent and never wanting to be in a position where he can be manipulated or controlled. When someone lends something to him, even the most generous person, and this is an emotional flaw, John immediately feels somewhat in hock to them and now they have control over him. Even though that control is limited to their ability to say: ”Can I have that back?” it is enough control over him that he is not comfortable. He doesn’t want anyone to be able to say: ”Hi, sorry to interrupt. I know you are using that thing that I lent you, but I would like it back now, please!”, especially if there is a risk that John will fall in love with it, because then they can say: ”Well, you can keep it, but…” and then add on some some condition.

John doesn’t know whether he is intrinsically afraid of it or whether he was taught to be afraid of it because his mom is deeply afraid of anyone having authority over her that she didn’t knowingly enter into a contract. If you try to extort something from her, she will burn down the village, which is way out of scale of what the actual risk to her was. John can see ways in which that was taught to her through the adversity that she lived through as a young person, and it runs in her family, being a matter of pride, related to their family line dating way before the frontier mentalities they have.

John doesn’t know whether it is something in his blood or whether it is something that he was taught. His jury is always out on that stuff. Can you be natively suspicious? It falls into the same category of believing in God. Lots of people believe in science and also believe in God. John believes in science, but also believes that maybe you can be naturally suspicious or you or that suspiciousness can run in your family line or that self-reliance can run in a family and it is not taught.

John has made a lot of decisions in his life that have affected where he is today, his capacity for happiness, and a lot of those choices were tied to the idea that if he gets in with someone too far, then the first time he hears: ”You can keep borrowing at, but that means now that you and I are friends!” he also burned down the village and rides out with his horse’s tail on fire. He doesn’t know which thing is the greater threat: The extortion, the feeling of being tied to a thing he didn’t choose, or the fear of that and his willingness to having burned down so many things in his life based on what would actually have been a small transaction.

Getting married for practical reasons (RW189)

John wonders about the process of Dan getting from being the fledgeling man who makes his own rules and lives according to his utilitarianism, to meeting a lady and getting married. They dated for a very long time, like 6-7 years before they got married and they got married because it seemed like the financially responsible thing to do at the time. They already owned a house together and bought cars and the marriage was more the certificate type thing that would make filing taxes easier. Their families also wanted them to do it and it just made sense and was a good time to do it. A lot of their friends were married and it seemed like that was the cool thing the cool kids were doing.

Dan is not the only one of John’s friends with this story. Another good friend whom Dan would know told him in confidence that he and his wife dated for a long time and they liked each other and it seemed like getting married was the next logical step, not a really passionate decision for either of them, but much more of a practical one and now they have two kids and are married and own their own home.

This conversation happened in the context of this friend telling John that he thought that that is what John should do. When Marlo was conceived, a lot of friends said they needed to get married now and John was really surprised by it because it had never dawned on him that there were so many practical marriages and it is another weird thing to be such a naive romantic and also be so afraid of entering into a contract.

Commitments (RW189)

If John had the choice between committing to something or not committing to it, he would not commit to it, more regarding where other people are involved. It is fine to commit to a thing that he is going to do, for example not use drugs or drink ever again. That is still a difficult thing, but he can commit to that, but if Dan says: ”John, why don’t we get lunch at 3pm on this day?” maybe that will happen, but he is going to think carefully about that because he doesn’t want to get pinned down. When he made the lunch plans, he did want to have lunch, but now on the actual day he might not be that hungry, maybe he is comfortable and a leftover pizza in the fridge sounds better.

There is another another element that plays into that, which is that John is someone that almost never cancels. He knows a lot of people who cancel and don’t have any problems saying: ”Oh sorry, I know I said that I would go, but I am just not feeling up to it. Sorry!” That includes little things where the reason for him not to go is big, but the reason for him to go is small, but he said he would be there. Dan is the same. If he tells somebody that he is going to be somewhere at a certain time or do a thing they can count on him to do that thing, even if he doesn’t want to do it, even if he is sick, even if he is tired. He will do whatever that thing is, and that is one of the reasons why he hates to say that he will do anything because now he committing to it.

John can’t imagine that anyone would answer differently. Why would you commit to something when you didn’t have to? If you could either commit to coming to this or don’t commit and just come if you want, then why wouldn’t you pick the second? There are lots of people in the world that would rather commit because they feel secure and more comfortable having made a plan. So many people want to plan, but John really doesn’t want to plan because he doesn’t know the future and has no idea.

When the quarantine started John was finally liberated from all of the things that he didn’t want to have to do, that he had to do all the time. With a lot of the things he hadn’t even realized he didn’t want to do them, but now that he didn’t have to do them, he realized he had never actually wanted to do that at all, or hadn’t for a long time. Now we have entered stage two of the show business quarantine, which is in some ways even worse. People have figured out how to have virtual experiences and they are just shamelessly hitting John up to do shows where the burden of it is entirely on him. He has to sit in front of his computer, set it up so that it sounds good, practice, and then they are going to patch him in to their feed and he is going to play a song for charity.

It is in that family of things where there is a type of person who likes putting on events for charity and that person gets out all the glory of having put on this wonderful event for charity and the charity gets always less out of it than is promised and the burden of it falls on the people who do this for a living, but now they are doing it for free today. The person that put on the event, half of the time they find a way to pay themselves.

John started off this spring being on a Rasmusson Foundation award panel where he spent a lot of hours online on Zoom calls with people, doing a thing that had been thrown together because the plan had been was that they were all going to fly to a nice hotel in Alaska and stay there for a week and do all this in person, which was the great show business junket that he loves and would have been shrimp cocktail seeing his friends and hang out in Alaska, but instead he had to sit in the basement in front of the same computer he look at all the time on a zoom call with people he has never met and is never going to meet and review all this stuff.

This was so much less good. It ended up being a fulfilling experience, but John has been getting offers of: ”Hey, we are doing this show! I know it is last minute, but can you show up on your computer and do some entertainment for us?” - ”Wow, I want to do that even less than showing up with his actual guitar at a venue!” and that involves getting up and putting on pants and going out. This is just as hard with 1/10th of the fulfillment.

John does feel like he should be giving something to the world, but he is not sure what people want from him anymore, frankly. Some people want him to go on Instagram like John Vanderslice and play some songs. John does rely on people who like what he does to keep giving him the feedback, he is talking to them right now, so it does matter what they want to a certain extent, and they all want different things from one another, so who knows what the collective wants.

When John bought his old house 13 years ago he was afraid that it was too big of a commitment. He had never made a commitment of that sort or anything close to it and he didn’t know how that was going to feel, but it felt fine and great. That is a personal commitment and not one that involved anybody else.

When John found out that he was having a child with a friend, he never doubted it for a minute. He never for a second said: "Oh, I don’t know if I am ready!” He was already 40 and he knew he wanted kids and he knew that this woman was solid and he could trust her. John also never wavered on the question of whether or not having a child is the woman’s choice.If a girlfriend had said she was pregnant and she wanted to have the baby when he was still in his 20s, he would have put aside whatever his fears or doubts would have been.

In that situation his politics and his beliefs coincide with his feeling that some of the big questions in life, some of the twists and turns, are out of your control and we should all embrace that. He doesn’t believe in the notion that you should be in complete control of you destiny, but there is always the X Factor and sometimes you get hit by a motorcycle, but other times you find yourself in a place and time where a choice was made and if you resist it even a little, even in your soul, you are voluntarily entering into a world of punishment that is not necessary.

if he had been was 25 and his girlfriend said they were having a baby he would have immediately just been like: ”Awesome! Let’s do it! Onward!” and that would have completely changed his life experience. When it finally did happen, the fact that he was 40 meant that he definitely was more ready, he had a home, but spiritually he had always been ready to do that. If any one of those women had come to him on the other hand and said: ”Let’s buy a car together!” he would have said: ”Whoa, whoa, slow down!”

For a lot of people the opposite would be true. Dan had already owned a house together before he got married and to John that sounds crazy! He would never do that! He wouldn’t buy a house with someone he was married to! The idea of merging your finances? Nothing is more alien to him! He is not even afraid of it, but he just looks at it through a fence, like you would looking into the yard of someone from a completely different culture that you are not entirely sure is from Earth. Are they roasting a pig? Is that a pig? Does that have wings? Buying a house? Just having a shared checking account!

John does now have a shared checking account for expenses to do with his daughter, but it is a shared checking account that he puts money into and never takes money out of. It all goes out in the form of known expenses and is auto-paid into other places. To have an account where he was taking money out for things and she was taking money out for things, and they were both putting money in for things? How would John’s soul even would bear it? He would have his own account and if that wasn’t allowed in the terms of the relationship he would have a secret account because he would need to have his own account, a little bag of coins on a string around his neck, because without it there would be a buzzing in his ears that wouldn’t let him sleep.

None of this changes the fact that he has done everything to be in his daughter’s day and his daughter’s night. Last night she lost a tooth and it wasn’t even a tooth that was loose. She has been staying up really late because none of them have anything to do in the morning where they can enforce: ”It is 9pm! Lights off!” At 11 pm he will hear her in there with the lights off, but laying in bed singing. Please go to sleep! She is exactly like John and wants to stay up until she absolutely collapses. She came out of her room at 11:30pm and her shirt was covered with blood and she said she has lost a tooth, so they washed her off and John asked her what she was going to do with it, put it on her pillow tonight? It was already almost midnight!

They are right at the place where she doesn’t believe in anything anymore, but the Tooth Fairy is still the center of the doubt. When the Tooth Fairy falls then everything will fall. In the middle of the night John wrote her a letter in calligraphy and put it under her pillow and he happened to have a Sacagawea Dollar, which is what the tooth fairy has always left her, and she came in this morning and said: ”Look at this letter!” - ”Wow, nice letter!” and she she put the paper up to her nose. John used a silver Sharpie and she says: ”It smells like Sharpy!” - ”Does it?” - ”Yeah, and I feel like this is a silver Sharpie, but I looked around the house and all the places I thought there was a silver Sharpie there isn’t one now, so I am not sure!” She is getting all forensic about it.

It is possible that the tooth fairy would use a silver Sharpie, but the tooth fairy is a tiny little ferry and how would a tooth fairy even hold a Sharpie? They are having all of these these conversations now that are like: ”Scientifically, let’s examine how this letter got under my pillow!” She is 9.5 now.

The prospect of flaking on her is so much less likely today than it even was yesterday, like saying: ”I said that I would be your dad and raise you to adulthood, but now I met another girl or I have a business opportunity or this relationship with your mom isn’t working out because it is cramping my style…” or whatever 100 excuses people use to flake and go do what they want to do. In the 1970s and 1980s half of the families John knew were that, but also among people he knows now it is extremely common and in some ways it is the expectation.

John and her mom never married and he is a musician who hates committing to things, so nobody thought for a minute that he wouldn’t have pursued his own interests somewhere that took him away, or he wouldn’t have flaked, although he knew he would never flake. That means not just flake in the big way, but the little flake, like: ”Oh yeah, she is with her mother Tuesdays and Thursdays and she is with me Wednesdays and Saturdays!” A big part of why that is not the state of affairs is that John didn’t want it to be and he made a lot of concessions so that it wouldn’t be, concessions that he made willingly, not ones that have stolen anything from him.

John would never buy a used car with a girlfriend because that would absolutely make him feel imprisoned, but he made concessions in his life so his daughter’s mother could feel like he is her partner and that they work together as a team and that he is reliable and dependable, not just where it concerns their daughter, but where it concerns the family and what everybody needs. That doesn’t feel imprisoned at all, it just feels like his natural responsibility.

If his daughter’s mother came to him and said: ”I think we should buy this used car together!” he would say: ”Why don’t I just buy it?” - ”I think we should buy it together!” - ”Well look, either you buy it or I buy it. Why would we buy it together?” - ”We have a child together, can we not buy a car together?” - ”Those are two totally different things! I don’t want to buy a car together. That’s like way too much!”


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