222. I Will Follow

Chris drove, I rode, which was a good thing since I still hadn’t really figured out the best way to get to the rehearsal space yet.

“When are you buying a car?” he asked, while we sat in traffic at some intersection I didn’t recognize. Chris hadn’t figured out the best way to get there yet, either, apparently.

“Soon, I guess.”

“They say you ought to buy something with high resale value.” He had his sunglasses on, and his hair was still wet in the back but fluffed up in front, like he’d given up blow-drying it halfway through. He drummed on the steering wheel without realizing he was doing it.

“I’ve heard that before. Right? So when we crash and burn and aren’t making money any more I could sell it to live on?”

“Something like that.”


“I think I better start with a car I can actually drive, instead of one I’m afraid of scratching, don’t you?”

“Suit yourself.” He eased us out into traffic, scanning left and right.

“What about you? When are you trading this van in for a better one?”

“Soon, man, soon. I just haven’t had the time to go out looking.” We made a right, and I suddenly realized we’d reached an on ramp to the highway. Huh. “Well, okay, that’s a lie. I’ve had the time but not the motivation.”

“Is car shopping as much of a pain as furniture shopping?” I asked, as we gunned it onto the freeway.

“Worse. You have to drive around to all different dealerships and once they figure out you have any money at all, they want to keep you there for four hours, trying to pry it out of you.”

“Lovely.” I wasn’t kidding when I’d asked if we were making enough to hire someone else to shop for us. “Well, I’m not buying one of those ridiculous sports cars with no room for people in it like that one.” I pointed at something small and red as it sped past us, then hit the brakes as it caught up to the knot of traffic.


“No. Anything I buy needs room for at least one other person and two–no, three–guitar cases. And that person might be someone your size instead of my size.”

“You got your eye on someone my size?”

“No, no. It’s actually you I’m thinking of. When it’s my turn to drive to rehearsal, you’ll have to sit somewhere, right?”

“Daron, I think most people, when they dream of buying a car… how should I put this. It’s not rehearsal they’re thinking about.”

“But it’s the place I’d need a car for the most. When else would I drive? Seriously, Chris, if I want to… like… take a road trip up the coast of Maine or to California or something, wouldn’t it make more sense to rent something?”

“You take all the romance out of it,” he groused. “Cars are supposed to be fun. Especially when you can afford a really nice one.”

“Maybe when we can afford to live somewhere with an actual garage. If I had a super expensive car I’d probably be all anal about rain and snow and just ugh. You know how I can get.”

“That I do, bro. That I do.” He honked and moved us into the right lane, and then we were getting off the highway we had just gotten onto.

I gave up trying to figure out how we were getting there. “If traffic’s this bad for everybody, we’ll all be late.”

“Not like we’re in a hurry to get somewhere after,” he said. “Unless you’ve got a hot date or something?” Then he coughed. “That didn’t come out right.”

I sniggered. “Yes it did. Has Colin been telling tales out of school?”

“Er, kinda.”

“It’s not a secret. You remember that writer who did the Spin piece?”

“The one from New Jersey?”

“Yeah. How’d you know he was from New Jersey?”

“He had Jersey plates on his hatchback.”

“Wow, you really do pay more attention to cars than I do.”

“Yep. Anyway, what about him?”

“He came up for the weekend and we went out.” I didn’t know what to call it really. Spent the weekend “partying?” Not really. We weren’t “dating,” and calling it that felt like a bad parody.

“Nice,” Christian said in a neutral voice. “He seems like a nice kid.”

“Yeah, very Ivy League. But, you know, that means he never runs out of things to talk about.”

“It does?”

“Yeah, he told me so himself. Half the point of going to a big name liberal arts college is they teach you just enough about everything that you can keep up cocktail party talk on thousands of subjects. Politics, science, art, you name it.”

“So what you guys talk about?”

“I don’t know shit about that stuff, so music, mostly.” It was the truth, but I said it as a joke, and he laughed.

He pulled the van out of a side street and I was surprised to recognize the street the theater was on. “Hey, how’d we get here?”

“Magic,” Chris said with a laugh as he rolled us to a stop at an empty parking meter just behind a bright shiny, bright blue hatchback. As he pulled the keys from the ignition, the driver of the blue car got out.

Ziggy. Before I even realized it was him I had a kind of knot in the back of my throat. The moment passed, though, and I got out, too, dropping down from the van’s high passenger seat to the curb.

He was exchanging hand-slaps with Christian. His hair was short and completely white except for a blue stripe down the middle that matched the color of the car. He was wearing pencil-thin jeans and a T-shirt so thin and worn I couldn’t make out what it used to say on it.

I wondered if he would shake my hand, too, or what. I had my awkward greetings with Jonathan in the forefront of my mind suddenly and wondered why this was so hard to figure out. I’m just a space alien from another planet who doesn’t know how to get along with humans, I thought.

No, wait, I reminded myself. Ziggy was the space alien. I wasn’t the one with blue hair.

I dodged the issue by getting the guitar out of the back, and when I wasn’t looking he just clapped his hand on my shoulder.

“Come on,” he said. “Carynne’s inside already.”

And that was that. Welcome home, Major Tom.

(Admin note: I owe you guys an extra chapter, possibly two, thanks to all the recent donations! I’ll tally them up. I don’t think I’ll get the extra up this week, but I’ll make sure to give you the extra post(s) later this month! -ctan)


  • Jude says:

    All queer people are the space aliens. Ziggy’s just reveling in it more than you are.

  • cayra says:

    Yep. Ziggy like to be a space alien. He just hasn’t decided which planet he comes from yet.

  • Debbie says:

    loved it ,that is the problem with artists in general they are all aliens ,and zone out so bad that don’t know how to get to rehearsals without a driver ?

  • Lenalena says:

    Zig! I missed youououou!

  • Rikibeth says:

    In my head, the live version of “I Will Follow” is canonical, more than the studio one. Guess who spent a lot of time listening to “Under A Blood Red Sky?”

    Ah, Ziggy. Isn’t Jonathan a refreshing change?

    • daron says:

      I played the Under a Blood Red Sky cassette so much it wore out. On a crappy knockoff “walkman” I bought at the indoor fleamarket that took over a closed department store on Route 1. Just thinking about how it sounded makes my ears hurt now.

  • Rikibeth says:

    The cassette I wore out was Ziggy Stardust. I had a knockoff “Walkman” too, and I think it saved my life in junior high; if I hadn’t been able to listen to the White Album walking to and from that special hell, I’d never have made it. Then when I was 14 I got my first moderately crappy all-in-one stereo thing (turntable, a single cassette deck, radio – and I stuck a Cosmic Wimpout danger-dot on the radio tuner dial, and I hooked up the dipole antenna so I could get WFNX in southern Maine when we went there each summer) and a friend pointed out that I should be buying vinyl and dubbing it, so that when the cassette wore out I’d have a nice pristine vinyl copy from which to make another dub.

    I think I kept Maxell and BASF in business.

    • daron says:

      OK, don’t laugh, I went through my “White Album” phase when I was 5-6 years old. Events had conspired that this old turntable that sat atop a wire record stand ended up in my room. It was packed with Perry Como albums and I don’t know what else, but nothing interesting to me, but one day I was playing on the floor, and noticed this one plain white spine showing. I pulled it out. Inside there were actually four color glossy photos of the Beatles, loose. I didn’t even know which one was which at that point. All I knew was I put the record on out of pure curiosity and then didn’t move except to flip it over/change albums until it was done. It was like I found god hiding between those other dusty albums.

      Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

      And yeah, it was middle school and into high school that were my walkman years. I rode the bus and wearing headphones was like wearing armor.

      Huh. I wonder if those kids who called me “fag” in those days knew before I did?

      • Rikibeth says:

        Who’s laughing? If I’d found it then I’m sure I would have been just as entranced. I still had one of those kiddie record players at that age and my favorite album was “Peter, Paul and Mommy.”

        I really doubt they knew. “Fag” was their all-purpose insult, remember?

    • Bill Heath says:

      I know I’m old, you just made me feel antedeluvian. When I was in junior high school the eight-track was science fiction.

  • s says:

    I think your problem with figuring out the greeting is that you are naturally an introvert. Like recognizing like here. I hate introducing myself to anyone, much less someone who makes me jittery.

    • daron says:

      You are so right. Takes me a while before I figure out that introvert vs extrovert matters.

      • Bill Heath says:

        See MBTI post in “Daron Guitar Chronicles.” Extravert (Ziggy) drains energy from others. Introvert (Daron) imparts energy to others.

        There’s a tremendous amount more, but that basic understanding will explain a whole lot.

        • ctan says:

          I don’t read the forums because I think you guys should be able to have a space to speculate or express your thoughts and feelings about the story without worrying that The Author will disagree or influence the story. But if you’re interested in the Myers-Briggs stuff, here’s a post I did when on blog tour when book 7 came out in August called “Characters on the Couch” in which I sent Ziggy to see a therapist, and I also put him through an MBTI questionnaire.

          Anyway, yes, Ziggy’s an ENFP: http://ceciliadominic.blogspot.com/2015/08/character-on-couch-guest-post-cecilia.html
          And Daron’s an INFP. So they match up completely except on the Extroversion/Introversion axis. (Interestingly enough, the most compatible matches for ENFPs are usually INTJs, which is what *I* am… Daron and Ziggy are almost too much alike, which is why they clash so much, perhaps, rather than being complementary? Just a thought. I’ll probably blog about this more at some point, and I’d like to have them both take a few versions of the test to firm up the results.)

          • s says:

            I loved that post in the discussions. Wish more people would comment on it. I found it fascinating.

            I’m curious about Daron’s results, specifically the F/T. I picked T for him because OMG does he know how to overthink shit, but I’ll also admit I may not have a firm grasp on the rules of this game. Honestly I think he slides back and forth in every category except E/I, where he is so clearly an introvert. Just curious about your thought processes 🙂

            • ctan says:

              I basically take the test as him. I do this for a lot of my characters out of curiosity and usually it’s really easy to do, but with Daron so many of the questions are like, hm, it could kind of go either way, or, well, a couple of years ago he might have said one thing but right now he’s swinging the other way. Or some of them are just not applicable to his particular situation the way the tests are supposed to work, like one of the classic questions is “Do you feel comfortable being the center of attention?” On the one hand Daron is perfectly comfortable on stage in front of thousands of people. On the other hand he never goes to a party, even with people he knows, without a guitar–and he wouldn’t be comfortable on the stage without the guitar probably, either. He certainly used to think of himself as extroverted–or that becoming extroverted was something he’d do if he wasn’t in the closet. But what he’s learning now is that even when you have nothing to hide, that doesn’t magically turn you into an extrovert (and also that turning into an extrovert shouldn’t be a life goal).

              Some of the questions are about whether your environment is ordered or disordered. It’s like, which environment? On the road he’s very regimented and particular about what’s where in his hotel room, his bunk, how he sets up his toothbrush, etc. He’s almost OCD about it. But at home his room is just a pile of stuff, CDs and books everywhere, clothes in a heap, etc. So which is it? I end up answering a lot of questions for him right in the middle, which you’re discouraged from doing, but maybe it’s partly the nature of his life that he has to be different people on the road and at home.

              But I’ve given Daron two different Myers Briggs tests now, both pretty different from each other, and he came out INFP both times. A third site said IN– and then “could be a thinker or a feeler” and “could be a judger or a perceiver.”

              I’m an INTJ myself, and when I compare Daron to myself, I can see how he’s more FP than TJ. 🙂

              I should do a blog post about this. Maybe I’ll make him take it one more time, at one of the sites with a really long questionnaire.

              • s says:

                I guess I cheated on the forum because I just went by the descriptions (for myself and for Daron). I haven’t looked into any of the actual tests, but I think I will.

                What part of ‘extrovert’ did Daron think applied to him?

                • ctan says:

                  I think he just didn’t want to believe he’s as introverted as he is, because society portrays extroverts as “normal” and introverts as “what’s wrong with you? you should be more like us!” and Daron used to buy into a lot of society’s bullshit.

                  Two sites where a version of the test can be taken for free: http://www.16personalities.com/ and http://www.truity.com/test/type-finder-research-edition

                  • s says:

                    Well, remind him of this: Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

                  • s says:

                    Apparently I know myself pretty well…the first said INFP, but the F was only 53%. The second said IN- could be F or T- P. The F/T was the one I struggled with when I just used the descriptions.

                    This shit is so interesting. Thanks for the links.

                  • Bill Heath says:

                    Behavior and preferences can be very different. Like you, I’m an INTJ. I suspect that, unlike you, I’m an off the scale introvert.

                    Yet most of my work has required me to behave very differently from my preferences. For four years my work self was an ESTJ (they run the world, by the way) because it was critical that I be perceived as a confident leader. For two years my work self had to be an ISTJ, a lot less taxing than ESTJ, because my work had to be defended to some unbelievably powerful people, and footnotes to footnotes were required for credibility. I hated that shit.

                    For four years I had to be a different personality for every long-term (two to four years long) project. I had at least eight different personality types, each with its own name (yeah, long story, can’t tell you would have to kill you kind of thing) and different background. I was a Bolivian immigrant, a German musician, an American physicist, and a bunch of other things, depending on with whom I was meeting.

                    Becoming someone else, for me, took at least two hours, often longer. By the time I was done I honestly believed I was Jaime Guttierez, ISFP, immigrant from Bolivia who taught English in La Paz.

                    • ctan says:

                      I was about to write “being chameleonic has been useful to me as a writer” and then I realized that’s backwards. Being chameleonic is probably WHY I’m a writer, and why I’m a “Method” writer.

                      I’m enough of an introvert that the only way for me to pass as an extrovert is to use extroverted personas like Ziggy’s. (This is why Ziggy is in charge of buying clothes for me to wear for things like accepting romance writer awards.)

              • Bill Heath says:

                Normal is a judgment. Typical is an observation. I never refer to people, their beliefs or their behaviors as normal/abnormal. I call them typical/atypical.

            • Bill Heath says:

              Over-thinking is an F trait, despite the use of the word “thinking.”

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