When my husband has to do a lot of driving on a tour, we don’t get to talk a lot. He’s weird about the other band members hearing our phone conversations so he’ll call for a few minutes from a gas station or during a coffee break. When they’re not traveling so far, we’ll talk forever. He doesn’t seem to notice the difference. And, I don’t either, at first. A few days go by and I start to feel a little disconnected. I wonder how much we’ve talked. The curse of having cell phones is that your phone calls, dropped calls, missed calls and text messages are all recorded. During Dan’s last tour, in which he was all over the SE United States ( a 3-hour time difference from the Pacific Coast) we talked an average of 15 minutes a day. It’s a good thing we’ve got quite a few years of marriage under our belts. If it weren’t for our long history together our devotion, and our trust, we’d be in trouble, I think. 15 minutes a day!? It’s crazy, right? How much do y’all get to talk to your significant-traveling-others?
My husband, Dan, tours with two single guys. They have serious girlfriends but they live in far away cities and I’ve never even met them. Most of the bands they’ve toured with are (for the majority) single men who are on the road so often that they don’t have time for a girlfriend. No wife, no kids. So, that puts me in an awkward place. This Road Family that Chris wrote about last week [Click here and go read it, I'll wait] sounds pretty awesome. But, I dont have one.
Dan and I know a lot of musicians in this little city of ours; Many of them dream of touring but none of them do. I feel pitied by our female friends who “cant image their husband being gone that much” and envied by the husbands in an unspoken attitude of “I wish my wife would be cool with me being on the road”. [Eye roll, heavy sigh] You have no idea how much I long for a road family. I do not want to be pitied. I do not want to be viewed as a wife who’s doing her husband a favor, letting him live out his dreams while I sit at home.
I got an anonymous email a few months ago from a woman whose boyfriend was in a band with some wild guys who didn’t respect their relationship – or any relationship from the sounds of it. She was lonely when they were gone and worried that the band mates would influence her significant other to stray away from his commitment to her. I told her what I need to tell myself and that is to find like-minded people; To seek out a Road Family outside of the band you’re connected with. This can be your immediate family, significant others of traveling spouses (military? other bands? railroaders?) or real friends who support you and don’t pity or envy you. It sound impossible, doesn’t it? I promise you, it’s not. Good people are out there.
And if all else fails, this blog can be your resource for advice and comfort. In fact, I welcome comments and emails from any of you who need to vent or ask questions!
There’s an unwelcome guest in my house. He’s small, full of crap, hogs the bathroom, accompanies my husband everywhere he goes and generally annoying.
See. Isn’t he annoying??
When you have a husband who travels a lot, some things just don’t make sense to unpack. I get it. I’m practical. But it doesn’t mean I have to like it!
Now I will say he’s pretty good about his suitcase and laundry. It’s just his toiletry bag. All those little bathroom things that are just plain stupid to unpack, just to pack again. But does it have to sit on the bathroom counter taking up precious space and taunting me?
I bet we all have things we dislike when our guys come home from the road. It’s those things that are a constant reminder of the inevitable. The thing that stares us in the eye and tells us “he’s leaving again you know.” Well this little, black toiletry bag is mine. It’s a major celebration when he is put away for an indefinite amount of time because that means my husband isn’t going anywhere anytime soon!
So, now you know my enemy … who’s yours?
I think we can all attest to the fact that nothing is guaranteed in travel. If you’re flying, there could be delays or cancellations. If you’re driving, you could have a flat tire or get caught in traffic from an accident. Traveling with kids can mean unplanned potty breaks. Lots of them. And you just never know when you’ll have to abort all your plans and make new ones on the fly.
Now take that and multiply it by 10, and you get an idea what its like on the road with a band. The best laid plans and schedule can easily be turned upside by any number of events. Mechanical or personnel-wise, things happen.
I’m writing this at 4 AM. I’m sitting up waiting for my husband to get into town after an unplanned detour put them about five hours behind schedule. Yup. It can happen and it did tonight. Oh I wasn’t at ALL happy about it when I found out. But I couldn’t get mad at my husband. It wasn’t HIS fault he wouldn’t be home until almost sunrise versus before bedtime. Didn’t stop me from grumbling. A lot.
But… it just goes with the territory. You have to be flexible in this business. Even if it means staying up late, getting up early, or just skipping sleep altogether! It is what it is…
…where’s my pillow?