It's time to check in on the Door Guy's previous whereabouts.
Dear Door Guy: Where the hell have you been? I used to read your advice all the time and then you totally up and disappeared! I was glad to see your column reappear, but I hope you aren’t going to flake out again. So where were you? (I hope it’s interesting.)
--Don’t Do That Again
Well, DDTA, I’m glad at least one person missed me.
Why did the Ask the Door Guy column disappear for an entire year? Is there an interesting story? Well, I could say I was recruited by a desperate bar owner in another town. See, this bar was in terrible shape, because their clientele were terrible, violent drunks who fought every night, and this guy really needed someone to clean up the place. So (I could tell you) I got called in and immediately started changing things, getting rid of the dead-weight bouncers and firing bartenders who stole from the till. After that we fixed the place up and it became a real hotspot for good folks who didn’t cause fights. Then, of course, it turned out that the richest guy in town was connected to the guys I got rid of and he didn’t like the way I was doing things or that I wouldn’t let him rip the bar off anymore. Things got pretty crazy. I had to fight a bunch of his thugs. I might have ripped someone’s throat out.
I mean, I could tell you all that, but it’s actually just the plot from Road House, starring Patrick Swayze.
The truth of the matter is a lot less interesting: I got busy, and I got sad.
“Busy” is easy to explain. Sometimes the Door Guy trips and falls into a grown-up job. You know, the kind where you actually have to get out of bed in the morning and do that whole terrible thing that we’re all pretty much pretending we don’t have to do every time we stay out too late at a rock show. There are other things that I do besides being the Door Guy, or writing about being the Door Guy, but since the name of this column isn’t Ask The Cubicle Monkey or Ask the Guy Who Writes Instructional PowerPoints or Ask the Guy Who Ends up Getting Ignored by Everyone at Work and Then Says “I Told You So” When Everything Goes to Shit or any number of other day job type things, I don’t really get into the rest of my life.
Suffice to say, those other things I do for work can sometimes get really busy and crazy stressful and even though I really like being part of the Door Guy Guild and I love writing this column, when I’m taking a shot at adulting something’s gotta give. And the column gave.
“Sad” isn’t so easy. It’s an uncomfortable topic. See, I was ready to get back to this column about four months ago. I reached back out to the fine folks at City Pages and they were more than welcoming. But I wasn’t in a great place. Because I get sad.
Working through depression can be a terrible thing. (Working nights doesn’t help, although working super-stressful adulting jobs helps even less.) I lose touch with what I really care about: friends, family, things that I love. It’s especially hard here in Minnesota, where the entire state goes through a gigantic self-isolating depression from November to April. Trying to reconnect with those people or those things can be incredibly painful, because it feels like you’re in a constant cycle of starting something over just after started to feel comfortable again.
So as silly as it might sound, coming back to writing this column came with ridiculous amounts of anxiety about GETTING EVERYTHING RIGHT because when you haven’t felt up to doing something for a long time, it becomes so easy to stall out over and over again. And I did. For weeks. Just promising my ever-patient editors that I really was ready to come back. (They put up with me for way longer than they should.) [Ed. Note: We did.] But for weeks I couldn’t get through that feeling of being paralyzed.
That paralysis is like I’m drowning when I know I should be able to swim easily, but I’ve just forgotten. I start flailing about, trying to jumpstart things, and I end up making a lot of mistakes, like promising things I can’t deliver on and pretending that nothing’s wrong. I’m an expert at that.
So, DDTA, I’m sorry I was gone way longer than I should have. And I’m sorry that this column wasn’t very funny, or that I didn’t write about some topic that was probably more interesting to you and the other five people who read it. But I’m happy to be back. And I’m glad to be out --or at least digging my way out – of my latest spell or funk or whatever you want to call it. And I’m hoping I handle the next one better than this one, or the one before that, or the one before that.
If anyone else knows what I’m talking about, just remember that it happens to the best of us. Even the Door Guy. And we should never be scared to cop to it – no matter how much shame we experience, no matter how embarrassed we’re supposed to feel. Because the only way people understand it better is if we talk about it.
Now send me some cool questions! [email protected] In the mean time, I am putting on my pleated pants and kicking some ass down at the Road House.