• Nick Hartkop

July 5th, 2021 (Rehabilitation)

I've been thinking about a time on tour where I shamed a homeless man. It was at the end of 2017, I forgot where the show was, and I am ashamed I can't remember. I was always scared to be on the road when I made the decision to do music because I have really unrealistic fears about dying before I do something with my life. Whenever I would play a show I would get manic, and give off the impression I was well and having a blast, but off stage I was incredibly toxic and angry. Before I knew what Borderline Personality Disorder was, and was medicated, I would dissociate from reality and treat people as disposable, because I felt disposable. There was a man who wandered off the street after a show into the venue and he was carrying some kind of heart rate monitor. He was an older man, and I remember he had a shaven beard that was starting to grow back. I was talking in a group of people and he came over and asked us if we wanted to buy the monitor from him. This was a person who was sleeping in the streets and needed help. He came into that venue hoping someone would be interested in purchasing what he had because he needed some money. When he asked the group, I was cruel and told him to "get the fuck out of here" because he was homeless. I could tell I had made everyone uncomfortable because someone confronted me saying I was cruel. I brushed it off and told them I was sorry, and they told me "You don't owe me an apology, you need to apologize to him." To which I responded to go fuck themselves. I left the venue and didn't think about it again.

Looking back, I can't stop replaying how that situation should have gone. I was poor myself and the thought of helping another human hadn't crossed my mind because I needed to make sure I took care of myself. I should have helped that man. I should have gone over to the merch table and given him as much as I could have. I wasted an opportunity to use my position to help other people. I did the exact opposite and I made him disposable. I should have apologized to him, and I should have apologized to the person who rightfully called me out. Every time I think about it, it makes me sick. I think about him often, and I wish I knew who they were. I should have asked their name, their dreams, and their story. I wish I could have seen where they slept and helped them get something better. I should have shaken their hand and given them the respect they deserved. I think about how that interaction could have changed a life for the better, but it made it worse. That's not the type of person I want to be, but that is the person I was. I am sorry to them both if they read this. The worst thing is to look back at an experience that has caused pain to others and say that you "have perspective" and "have grown" because those people were still hurt. It doesn't change the interaction. I've needed to tell this story. I am not a role model and I have not been a good person in my life, but I want to learn from these interactions, and share the stories of my failures. I need to do that man the respect of never shaming anyone ever again like that, and to help people in need. I didn't even see him as a person. I can't even imagine how humiliated he must have been. I saw the sadness in his eyes when I said that to him. I can't stop thinking about it. I wish I could go back and given them the respect they deserved.

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Lately, I've been listening to the song blah blah blah a lot by Say Hi. I think it has one of the coolest synth lines I've ever heard and the lyrical imagery is powerful. When I listen to it, it makes me think of fall with oak trees and crumpled leaves. I like how dancey it is accompanied by Eric Elbogen's vocals. It's always been one of my favorites. You can check it out here.

If you have any bands you want to recommend, send them my way. I'll try to add them to future posts.


Nick

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