Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Adventures of Touring: A Temporary Home

When one makes a living by traveling, most things in your life feel temporary. I use the word temporary with neither positive nor negative implications. I feel that it is an objective way to describe the lifestyle. The pros and cons of this temporary lifestyle is where the matter of opinions lie. One man’s pro is another man’s con.

When I wake up in the morning, I wake up in a bed/bunk that is temporarily my own, in a town that I will mostly likely be at for less than 24 hours. I then eat breakfast, using plastic silverware and paper plates. We then load-in to a venue that will be my temporary refuge. Everyone is different with how they utilize the venues. I tend to mostly stay off of the bus once we have loaded in, but I would say that I am the minority. Most of the crew I’ve worked with tends to hang out on the bus during down time, and the artists’ almost always do. That’s how it has worked out in my experience, however this could just be a coincidence. I generally leave the green-room for the others, (unless we’re playing at a Knitting Factory, because they tend to have sweet green-rooms) and I will find some corner on the dank, moldy floor to read or pay my bills or call back home or do whatever I need to do during my down time.

I then set up a temporary store (I sell merch, for those of you who don’t know) and then I eat one of my single serving meals. The narrator from Fight Club had it exactly right. When you travel, you lead a single-serving life. It’s close to impossible to cook on the bus, so all of my meals come from single serving packages. Whether it’s a bag of beef jerky, or a packet of instant oatmeal, it’s almost always a pre-portioned meal, which for some reason, feels temporary. In movies, when a scene is trying to convey that a character is in a temporary living situation, they always put them in an apartment with a TV (pre-portioned) dinner.

We meet the “locals,” which is what we call the venue staff/stage-hands, and you make a temporary, working relationship with them. Often enough you meet someone who is really cool, someone who you know you would be tight with if proximity were not an issue, but at the end of the day, after load-out, all you can do is give this person a fist pound and hope that AT BEST, you may see him/her again if you find yourself back at that same venue with a different tour.

When everything changes on a day-to-day basis, the constants are very important. I like to have a mug, that is mine and only mine, on the bus. It’s the only kitchen utensil that I have that is not a throw-away. I’ve noticed that everyone seems to have their one item. For some people it’s a glass bowl, others a knife… for me, it’s a mug. Right now, I’m using a “Union Square Montgomery, Alabama” mug, and it’s my constant. I need that mug.

Me and my mug.

Me and my mug.

Places can act as a constant.  Every time I go to the El Corazon in Seattle, I know that it’s going to get hot as hell in there, I know exactly where they keep their hand-truck, I know the security guy with the braided pig-tails will be there to tell me not to go walking around by myself at night, I know the bearded dude will be there to flirt with and to try to help me carry stuff even though I repeatedly tell him that I’m good… and I know that the coffee shop nearby will have plenty of scattered magazines and other reading material about if I forget to bring my book.

The most important constant on tour is the people who you temporarily grow to depend on.  When I’m on the road with the English hooligan, he acts as one of my constants. I know that I can sit near him, and not have to fucking talk.  I get in funks on occasion (more frequently than I care to admit), and during these times, I instinctively want to be alone.  However, if I am able to talk myself into being near another human, it does usually help.  I seem to be able to keep hold of my mind a little bit better if there is someone else in the room.  The thing is, I don’t want to talk or feel any type of conversational pressure during these momentary crazy spells.  The hooligan is great because he doesn’t ask questions. I can literally crawl underneath his desk (the spot that acts as his temporary working space for the day) and simply say, “I just need to lay here for a minute,” and he’ll let me be.  Well, he’ll shake his head at my eccentricity, and say, “Riiiight,” but he won’t ask me what’s wrong, and he won’t treat me differently and I feel 100% comfortable in silence with him.  That’s an important constant. When my day-to-day can be such an unpredictable mess, it’s good to know that I can sit by my English hooligan and not have to say anything while I silently work on emotional suppression.  I’d like to think that I can provide the same type of sanctuary for him.  There have been a couple of times while out on the road with the hooligan, when I knew that something was upsetting him, but I didn’t ask questions.  I figured if he wanted to say something he would.  I just tried to not be as big of a pain in the ass on those days, and even went as far as to offer to tape up the day sheets for him backstage.  I think I may have even brought ice onto the bus one of those days so that he didn’t have to… damn I’m sweet.

The huge amount of people who you meet on tour is without dispute, a major pro to the lifestyle. However, it is not without its’ con counterpart. I am constantly meeting the best people, and you become very close, very quickly to these people. So after a couple of months (however long the tour is), of cultivating amazing relationships, when it is all said and done, it’s just temporary. You inevitably have to hug the people goodbye and hope that paths will cross again.

Home starts to feel temporary too, but more in the way that a recycled bag feels temporary.  It’s a perpetual state of repetition, rather than single-serving.  You probably see the same friends and hang out with the same people you did before you left, but it’s not like picking up where you left off because that insinuates forward motion; progression in the relationships.  No, you begin where you began the last time.  Maybe during your time at home, you become closer with someone whether it’s romantically or platonically, but then inevitably, you leave.  Things continue in this forward motion for the other person, but “home time” stops for you when you’re away.  You come back and things and people have changed; your environment has changed, but you haven’t changed with it.  Home feels like a temporary hideout that recycles the same month of your life over and over again.

You visit the coffee shop you go to every morning when you’re home, and the barista recognizes you, and he asks how your “trip” was (a question that I hate because I wasn’t on a trip I was fucking working you twat… but that’s just me being a touchy snob), and you have the same conversation you had the last time you came back.  You tell him it was great, and you tell him some little anecdote about some night in some place and he tells you about how grad school is going.  You may see him a few times a week for the next few weeks that you’re home, and every visit, you feel a tiny bit closer to that barista who has the freckled arms and easily blushes, but then you leave again.  When you come back, you start again at one; that same superficial conversation about how your trip was and how school is for him.

Romantic relationships, fucking forget it.  They work in the same way as your relationship with the barista.  Maybe you start something really good, and you become close, make progress… but then you leave and when you come back the cycle starts over again at one.  Your “room,” at home, if you’re lucky enough to have a room back home to call your bedroom, begins to look and feel like a temporary living space.  My stuff is always half packed because if I’m only home for a short amount of time, so unpacking seems pointless.

I get home, and I see my hundreds of CD’s that I just leave packed up in boxes, and I think, I should buy a really nice stereo system, but a stereo is permanent.  So instead, I just put my temporary headphones on (I don’t get really nice headphones because they either break or get lost on the road) and I listen to some music that will temporarily enhance my mood, often times recommended to me by some boy who temporarily made me happy and I temporarily think about how I’m going to utilize my recycled day.

I’d like to conclude this by stating that temporarily, I enjoy my temporary life.  I do not mean to imply that this is a negative way to exist. The boy with the white hair recently pointed out that If I stopped touring, I would go stir-crazy after a couple of months.  He’s right.  I’m so fortunate to be doing what I do, but like everything in life, there are things that I love about it and things that really get to me, and sometimes, underneath the adventures and the stacked boxes of t-shirts in the trailer, this temporary life gets lonely.

 

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The Adventures of Touring with a Rock Band – Part 15

I am currently home, just got done with another tour, and got a call from my good friend who was on this last run with me.  He immediately skipped the small talk (something I deeply appreciate in people. When a conversation begins with, “Hey! How are you? I am immediately uninterested) and began with, “so…. I have this girl over who is saying that she is possessed by a demon that she acquired in my house so she can’t leave, what should I do?”  First of all, WHAT?  Second of all, if she was possessed by a demon in your home, wouldn’t she want to leave?  That’s too rational however for the types of girls that he fraternizes with.

Now, let me give you some insight on my friend, who we will call 0069. No, I did not just make that pseudonym up. Him and I are so mature that we gave each other code names when we decided that playing spy at our age would be fun. If you’d like to donate some spy equipment, rearview glasses and walkie talkies would be greatly appreciated. I’ll forward you my address. Anyway, 0069 is one of my road family members along with the rest of the band and crew that I love working for the most. To describe 0069 as an “instigator” would be a severe understatement. I believe that he makes it his goal in life to be the number one most offensive and vulgar person in the world. With that being said, I have nothing but love for him.

It takes a lot to offend me.  I am offended by any form of prejudice, the word faggot, Bill O’Reilly and crocs.  That’s about it. Oh, and by couple’s who sit on the same side of the booth together at a restaurant when it’s only the two of them.  Point is, I can get down with the boys and be grossly inappropriate and degrading.  I regularly participate in rating girls on a scale from 1-10 with the guys, making jokes about cerebral palsy, laughing at dick and poop jokes and encouraging one-night-stands for the single dudes on the tour even when there most certainly will be an STD and/or a fat girl involved.  It gets dirty on tour and 0069 thrives on the filth. There have been only two times in my touring life, in which I was offended.  Offended might not be the right word, but there have been two occasions when the behavior taking place in front of me was so foul, that I had to walk away because I felt a.) slightly sick to my stomach and b.) too uncomfortable being associated with that level of abasement.  Of course, both times was when 0069 was in full effect.

The first instance was the first time that I was present for one of 0069’s “night calls.” Whatever you are thinking, that is exactly what it is times ten. A night call is when 0069 calls a girl and pretends to have phone sex with her while all of us are listening. Simply putting his phone on speaker phone would not be over the top enough, so he plugs his phone into the bus stereo system, so that we can hear these classy ladies orgasm in surround sound.  At first it was funny, and we were all sitting in the front lounge trying not to burst out in uncontrollable laughter as the guitar player started making that fast suction cup noise with his hands right up against the phone, making it sound like 0069 was jerking off… or fucking a duck (which is what I thought it sounded like).  I will admit, it was pretty damn entertaining, but once her groans and intense breathing started getting wildly intimate, as a fellow-female, I did start to feel bad for the girl who was currently being humiliated.  I had to walk off of the bus because even though this chick has to be a fucking idiot, I did feel like I shouldn’t be associated with that level of degradation.

The second instance was after I made a bet with Gus, wagering that J. Jackhammer (the guitar tech) could get action one night when we were at some terrible DJ dance party thing.  Obviously, that is not our typical scene, but I won’t get into why we were there because it’s not an interesting story.  Jackhammer got that nickname while we were all at dinner one night, and I was annoyed with the guys and disappointed that I had not yet seen a bear or a moose since being in Canada.

Wolfgang asked me, “Sex is enjoyable.  So why don’t all girls put out?”  To which I said, “Because it’s not always enjoyable.  A lot of the time guys are just jackhammering you.”  J. then said something which I’m sure was asinine, but that’s our language, and whatever it was that he said, Wolfgang called him, “The Jackhammer” and the nickname stuck.  Back to the night of the dance party, and Gus said that there was absolutely no way Jackhammer was going to get laid before bus call which was 2:00am and it was currently 1:30. I had faith. Let’s get real, guys on tour have an advantage because all they need to do is find a girl wearing a skirt and who is at least mildly drunk and say, “do you want to check out the tour bus?” Done. Panty dropper.

The entourage of us, which included some of my crew and the guys in one of the support bands who all look like H&M models, hit the dance floor and after performing my legit dance moves, I got in wing-girl gear to win this bet.  I had no time to waste, and literally pushed Jackhammer into this girl who looked promising and then she giggled. Bingo. I kind of did a fist pump/raise the roof move around them, to encourage dancing, and then Jackhammer took it from there.  I knew he’d have game.  I got distracted for a while by the H&M models and R-dizzle who was being high and hilarious, and twenty minutes later we all realize that Jackhammer is still dancing with the tween.  It looked like I was going to win the bet!  I won’t continue with the tedious details, the only important thing is that 0069 sabotaged my bet. However, I still believe that I won because in my world, fingering a girl on a dirty dance floor still constitutes as getting action.

0069 had to one up Jackhammer (or grotesquely up everyone) by bringing “beauty number’s one, two and three” onto our bus. I am positive that at no point did 0069 know one of their names. Of course, they were called, “beauties” upon their entrance, but of course after their departure, they were referred to by all of us as bitches one, two and three. It was like Dr. Suess gone Charlies Bukowski. Due to a brilliant coincidence, paired with 0069 always taking it to the extreme, Bitch #2 was the same girl who Jackhammer was with minutes before. Jackhammer hid, and the three bitches were in the front lounge with 0069 and playing what I can only call, “let’s make-out!”

0069 made-out with the largest girl of the three, (which of course the boys later described as a whale, though in her defense I would describe her more as a walrus), for no reason other than it was extremely offensive and vulgar, while the other two girls just sat there and watched. So awkward!  Me and R-dizzle, watched from the vent in the door. I was literally on my hands and knees, peeking through the vent, giggling and spying on 0069 and Bitches 1,2 and 3 like I was a character from Gossip Girl. I had a moment of clarity upon realizing that I was the only person who was stone cold sober, so why am I trying to hide? They probably won’t notice or care if I just blatantly watch instead of hiding in my own “house.”  So I just walked out into the front lounge and started filming the whole charade which turned out to be my cinematic masterpiece.  I majored in film in college, and created a lot of works, but I would credit this as my magnum opus. I feel I really encompassed the crudity of the moment. While I was getting good material, I had to leave.  It was foul and again, I didn’t want to be associated with this level of female humiliation even though these girls were gross and not exactly deserving of my moral conscience.

While I have absolutely gotten down on some gnarly behavior, it doesn’t even come close to what 0069 does when he is in full effect. Just feed him some whiskey “down his neck” (as the English-men would put it) and you’ll almost always have a story to tell the next morning. Due to this blog, people who don’t really know me, think that I am always a party. No. Most of the time on the road I am reading or counting t-shirts or trying not to bother everyone with the loud noises caused by me chomping on carrots and hummus. 0069 is the party, I’m just the collateral damage.

While he pisses me off sometimes, and while we haven’t known each other very long at all, I’d say that we are close. We just have an unspoken understanding and we like each others flaws. So, 0069 calls and asks my advice on what to do about this possessed girl, which I respond with, “put arsenic in her drink.”

He said, “unfortunately the corner store is all out of arsenic, wooden spoons, thick rope and stove foot spa combos.”

Me: “Hmmm, if you lived here in Florida you could just shoot her and get away with it due to the stand your ground law.”
He then went on to send me a picture of her to which I said, “she looks like she has TB.”

OF COURSE, (because it’s 0069), he said back, “Tight Box? Yes.”

Brilliant.

 

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Confessions of a Heedless Sinner – Vol. 13

The curse of the ex.  Why are we drawn to them?  There are reasons why it didn’t work, yet for some deep-seated cause, we all find ourselves in the arms of an ex at 3:00 in the morning with Portishead playing off of an iPod and a fat fan clicking in the background.  Is it just me?  Or do all boys have a portable fan in their room that they keep on high which clicks like a clock… a symbol of the relationship’s impending doom.  My first love called his fan “fat fan” and the name stuck.  Anyway, even when every fiber of our being knows that agreeing to “catch up” with an ex is a bad idea, we do it anyway.  Are we all plagued with masochistic tendencies or is it the need for acceptance?  I think it’s both.  We want to feel wanted, even if it means hurting ourselves.  Or it means that multiple cocktails were involved.

When people ask me if I’m seeing anyone, I am generally vague, because I’m just generally vague about everything.  I relate to writer’s (I feel cheated by the universe that I was not living at a time and place when I could have been best friends with Graham Greene) and with that being said, I think that writer’s like writing because they don’t like talking.  I enjoy blogging about my insignificant life because I don’t exactly like talking about it, nor do I expect anyone to care about any story that I have to tell.  If I write it down, the reader can opt out without feeling rude.  A listener, cannot do that quite as easily.  Audible conversation is riddled with obligations and forced politeness.  If my reader’s don’t care about what I am saying, they can close this tab and google “how to survive a bear attack” instead, (a search I recently did because I was in Canada for a tour and felt that I should be prepared) and not feel like they’re being rude.  I digress.  So, when people ask me if I am seeing anyone, my go-to response is, “there are usually boys but it’s not usually serious.”  I appreciate conciseness and brevity in conversation, and that is the most concise and brief way to describe my typical love life.

However, not too too long ago, I did find myself in what I suppose would be called a relationship.  I hadn’t tried that out in a while and so I guess it just seemed like a fun experiment.  I should have known it would end in disaster because I am not stable enough for one of those, nor mature enough to be performing social experiments.

One of the things that first excited me about this boy, who we will call the boy with the white hair, was that I found myself physically attracted to him.  I wanted him.  This was a feeling I am unfamiliar with since losing my battle to uncomfortable numbness a couple of years back.  Before that, I used to love everyone.  Every boy I ever met I would find something attractive about him.  This was a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because I was so loving.  I truly did care for all of these people and I would have done anything for them.  I have known some beautiful human beings and I am so fortunate and appreciative of the souls that have crossed my fucked up path.  It was a curse for the same reasons.  I loved everyone.  I was incapable of having a healthy relationship because I was having a love affair with the world.  I spread myself out too thin.  My tragic flaw was the romance in all that I saw.

Around the age of 25 I did a complete 180 and I don’t know why or when this exactly happened.  I know that part of it at least was because I let Los Angeles get the best of me.  When you move so far away from home, to a city like that, where you know NO ONE, it is easy to lose yourself.  Somewhere out there, probably buried under the construction on the 405, is my soul.  One of my first jobs in LA was as an  assistant to this Persian fucker who needed help with tutoring his kids and keeping his desk organized.  A nanny basically.  During my first week, he hit on me.  I don’t want to go into details, but I remember feeling like such a little girl. A victim.  Like a child who had been violated, but I was 25 years old.  Yes, that is young, but it is not “little girl” young.  I remember I called my 911, which is my best friend Lance, and I said out loud to him, “I don’t understand why men think it’s okay to touch you when you don’t want them to.”

I felt like Jem from To Kill a Mockingbird, when he discovers the evils of the world and realizes why Boo Radley stays shut up in that old house.  That is the last time I can remember feeling that way.  Since then, I feel almost nothing for anyone.  I feel like an adult now, not a little girl.  I meet boys.  I meet a lot of wonderful, beautiful boys… but they don’t usually cause me feel.  I will be into someone, and enjoy their company, but then when it comes to the point where I feel like a kiss would be appropriate, I’m indifferent about it.  Indifferent about them. I missed that feeling of dying to kiss someone.

The boy with the white hair was the first boy in a very long time that I really wanted to kiss.  We were seeing each other for a couple of months (which in Caitlin world, is a long time), and it was getting to the point where I thought I might fall in love with him… or him me.  That’s the direction we were going.  Literally over night however, I realized that I wasn’t going to.  I wasn’t going to fall in love with him.  Which, I don’t know why the fuck not.  He is intriguing, he is nice in all of the right ways, he has his shit together, he is hot and he has good taste in music.

It was the day after Valentine’s day.  We had just spent the prior evening together with his friends at a music festival and something was just not right.  I have no doubt in my mind that this “feeling of not being right” was 100% my fault, but regardless, the feeling was there.  Him and I stayed in a hotel room that night because we were a little bit of a drive away from home and had been drinking, so a hotel seemed like a good idea.  The festival that we had attended I was actually working for.  Not anything serious, I was just acting as a runner for them.  So in the morning, I left while the boy with the white hair was still in bed, to go run a quick errand for the festival, (it was a two-day festival) knowing that I would be back before he got out of bed.

I don’t know what the fuck came over me, but as I was driving over the Bayshore Bridge with the morning sun blinding me and Band of Horses playing over the radio, I just knew that him and I weren’t going to last.  Or that I couldn’t last. If you had asked me two days prior to that, I would have told you that we were going in the direction of a serious relationship and would have been happy about that.

I fucking blow chunks at break-ups.  I accept this and in the past have suffered through months of lying and denial to avoid breaking up with a boyfriend.  I don’t want to be like that anymore.  I have learned from my mistakes and am now on more of a tell the truth even if it hurts, kick.  I am trying to be unapologetically honest.  So I got back to the hotel and had a moment of courage that I felt I should take advantage of.  It was the worst idea I’ve ever had.  I proceeded to wake up the boy with the white hair to break up with him.  Who the fuck does that?  I woke him up so that I could break up with him in a hotel room with our garments sprawled all over the goddamn place like a bad Lifetime movie.

I didn’t want to waste any more of his time.  He was so good and he deserved someone who was going to do it with him, be there with him, wholly.  I was just not capable of being that person, so I quickly decided that each passing second that I remained with him, was unfair to him.

I first hugged him, then sobbed, telling him that I, “couldn’t do this,” like a typical girl that you want to punch.  He is very much a “man’s man” and tries camouflaging all feelings,  so he pretty much just said, “okay.”  I appreciated the brevity.

Here is where the part comes in that I seriously did not think it through.  We weren’t packed!  So we had to pack up all of our stuff in awkward silence and then take that uncomfortable elevator ride to the lobby in more silence together with the smooth jazz version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” playing over the elevator speakers.  Thank God we did not drive together or else I probably would have tried to order a shotgun from room service so that I could blow my brains out.

That was one awful morning.

And here I am.  Another morning.  I’m waking up after a night of, “let’s catch up,” to him still asleep while I scavenge the area in the grey, dawn light, searching for my bra that I seriously don’t want to leave behind because I rarely wear bras so it’s my only one.  I was planning on a quick escape but I am too much of a hot mess to pull that off.  I was missing a shoe.  What am I?  A fucking teen soap opera?!  He woke up, laughed at me and walked me to his bar (he owns a bar which is in walking distance to his apartment) at 7:00am while I was giggling at the entire situation and embracing this very unique walk of shame.  We found my shoe literally underneath the bar.  Jesus Christ.

I know this morning all too well of ex boyfriend’s, blood-shot eyes, disheveled hair and Diane Rehms of NPR telling me over my car radio as I drive home that, “Iraqi Kurdish fighters begin crossing from Turkey into Syria to fight against ISIS in Kobani,” to help remind myself that the Kurd’s have way more problems than I do.

Why are we drawn to ex’s?  All I have to show for it is a lost bra, a 7-11 coffee and a screenplay that I should be working on because my old professor is nagging me to finish it, but instead I am sitting here thinking about the boy with the white hair and how I might want to see him tomorrow night too.

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