This is what I look like at the end of a tour. I am sitting in the airport, I am tired, I am sore, I am depressed, heartbroken to be leaving my road family, and I have no clue how to function again in normal society. Returning home for a roadie is bitter sweet at best, but for most, it’s honestly a really rough period. The post tour slump is why it’s taken me almost a week to post.
You see when a roadie returns home it’s a culture shock. You go from a high stress, high stakes environment, where things are either perfect or fucked up, where everything in life is dictated for you… To an environment where it doesn’t matter if you put pants on, let alone do anything productive. You are going from a very tight knit road family who magically understand your every whim and you can be raw and honest with, to being surrounded by people who don’t understand why you aren’t happy to be home and really don’t appreciate how versatile the word “fuck” truly is.
Let me tell you what every road dog doesn’t have the words to say. I go home because that’s where the company sends me when they don’t have a use for me. I love being home, but being sent home is what happens when I have no purpose. It’s part of the game, but it still kinda sucks. It also sucks that when you leave your road family, you will never have that particular team assembled again, everyone scatters. The family that you just spent 24/7 with is dead and there is no reviving it. We all get sent to the various cities we call home. Some people know what their next tour will be, some people know that unemployment is the only certainty in the foreseeable future. The one thing that we all know about the future is that we will never all be together again.
This detail really messes with people’s heads. I mean after spending a contract pouring your heart and soul into your craft and your team, even if you didn’t like everyone, you’ve bonded with them. You have inside jokes, more than a few stories that you can never tell without being judged… and honestly a few shared scares, both physical and emotional.
I am one of the lucky ones, both of my parents toured in their days, they can’t really help soften the blow of coming home, but they understand that it’ll take a few days or maybe weeks for me to be “normal” again. I mean I showed up to the family Christmas and spent the majority of the time passed out on the couch. My siblings, my nieces, my nephews, they all didn’t understand why I was passed out on the couch. Mom and Dad however didn’t even blink. I was awoken for the meal, we did presents afterwards, and I quickly bowed out to go deal with other matters.
Every roadie finds their own way of dealing with post tour blues. Some people are constantly bugging the people they just left, some people are obsessively planning their next move, and some people just hermit with their poison of choice. I personally become a bar fly.
On tour you spend a lot of your time in bars. Yes it has to do with the desire to drink, but when you are on tour, bars tend to be the only place that have an open kitchen after work. So once the curtain comes down, you head to what ever watering hole you have found in that particular city and you order your beverage of choice and a burger. When I come home, even though I can’t really relate to anyone in the bar, the bar is where I feel most at home. I try to limit my drinking, because self medication never ends well, but I go and I sit. I people watch. I try to evaluate my life and figure out how to act like a normal person in a bar. I know for many people the concept of being a normal person in a bar is a bit mind blowing, or even distasteful, but for me it’s the first step in reintegration into society. Once I can master being a “normal drunk” the rest seems to come easy.
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