Monthly Archives: August 2015

This is Now.

My high school reunion ended with me walking down the aisle of Publix on a Sunday afternoon, still drunk and carrying a case of Rolling Rock with patches of sand all over my body, wearing combat boots and a little black dress.  This only solidified my theory that we are all weird.  Both of my jobs, merch girl and bartending, provide similar circumstances.  I meet a lot of strangers and only have to deal with them for a short amount of time.  I find myself thinking that people are so friggen weird all of the time.  On average, I would say that at least one out of every three people, I think to myself, who the fuck is this person?  How are they so weird?

I realized though, that statistically speaking, that that means that one out of every three people that come across me think that I’m weird.  As I was eating breakfast this morning, (which preceded the Publix run) looking like I just came from a funeral or possibly a domestic disturbance, and chugging cups of coffee down like it was my job, there is no doubt that I was absolutely one of the one out of three, that everyone else thought was strange.  I just giggled at the notion as the boy with the white hair signed for the check and rubbed my back saying, “You look good, babe.”

No, I really don’t.  But that was sweet.  How I got there, is not all that fascinating but it’s still another episode of my life as the shit show.

A girl friend of mine, who we will call, the girl with the good legs, know each other from high school.  Though we don’t keep in touch all that well, it’s never awkward or forced conversation or any of that hassle that generally goes with “catching up” with old friends when we do see each other.  I gave her a call because I knew that due to the aforementioned characteristics, she would be a good date.  We were both apprehensive about going, but decided that we should because the worst that was going to happen was we would awkwardly say hi to some people, and then leave and go to a dive bar down the road.  Actually, that’s pretty much what happened, but we made it kind of fun with the help of Cody and the boy with the white hair… and a flask of Jameson.

Cody and I were on and off for most of my adolescence.  I first fell in love with him in math class when I was 14 years old and he smiled at me from the back of the room.  From there, we went on to be a mess until we were about 22 because he kind of became asexual, I got seriously involved with someone else and it had become harder and harder to keep forgiving each other for past mistakes.  But through it all, we stayed friends.  I had moved away, then I moved back and moved away again and then he moved and we both have emotional problems and blah blah blah.  So the point of that is, we have sucked at keeping in touch over the last two or three years.

However, we are obviously close, the kind of closeness that doesn’t fade, so when we do see each other, it’s like no time has passed at all.  It was pouring down rain outside, and I had just gotten into my toy car to drive to the reunion.  I call it my toy car and Fat Face calls it an ’84 Ford Forgettable.  It’s actually a ’93 Ford Escort, but it’s so small and ridiculous that I think that it looks like a toy.  The tires honestly cannot be more than a foot tall, and it has those seat belts from the ‘90s that automatically roll up the side of the door to strap you in when you close the door.  It makes me giggle every time.

Anyway, I was pulling out of my driveway when Cody called me, saying that he had decided to come to the reunion last minute and can I pick him up.  As of now, he lives less than a mile from me, so it was no problem to go grab him.  He gets anxiety about everything, and he was already in a wad due to just being in my car that is the size of him and also has no safety features.  On top of that, he was freaking out about the magnitude of the rain and water on the road.  It’s a good thing he was with me because I probably would have plowed through the underwater streets and stalled out my car.  He was smart, and suggested we rethink our plan.  So the night started with Cody and I in a torrential Florida thunderstorm with Katy Perry playing on the radio and me laughing as he is clinging to the dashboard.

Then we did what any respectable adult would do… we called my Mom.  I turned around and switched vehicles because my Mom wasn’t going anywhere and she has a car that is not a toy, and won’t get swept away in a roadway rainwater current.  We finally made it, had a fiasco parking, and then walked a few blocks to the hotel that the reunion was being held as I hogged the umbrella.  Cody was starting to get nervous because he thought that his feet might smell (long story), so I gave him a stick of gum.  Oddly, gum seems to calm Cody down in the same way that a shot of Jameson does for me.  With that being said, he never has gum and whenever we hang out I find myself scavenging my backpack every thirty minutes, looking for my pack of Orbit.

We rocked up fashionably late, and immediately got some whiskey and busted out our terrible dance moves for approximately ten seconds before moving on to the whole being-social-with-other-people part of the reunion.  I found the girl with the good legs and we basically stood in a corner together and talked about hair, high school and hot boys.  Surprisingly though, it was pleasant.  All I’ve got to say is, thank god she was there.  Cody was off trying to flirt, and her and I realized that we didn’t know anyone there.

Her favorite moment of the night was when I utterly failed as socializing with this sweet girl who i was friends with during those years but who I never talked to after graduation.  If I try, I am generally pretty good at maintaining conversation, but I was just not in that state of mind at all, so when a sweet girl came up to me, we did the “Hi!  How are you?” thing that I hate so much, and then there was awkward silence for a couple of seconds as Cody and the girl with the good legs looked at us hopelessly.  So what did I say?

“You want a shot of Jameson?!” and offered up my flask that I was shamelessly carrying.

“Uh, no… I’m good…” the sweet girl said, and that was it.  Then we awkwardly walked away from each other.  The girl with the good legs was laughing her ass off at me as Cody just took the flask and did the offered shot himself.

The people that we mostly associated with in high school were not there, and after that embarrassment, I decided to call the boy with the white hair to come rescue us and bring us to a bar.  He went to high school with us as well, but he is definitely not the reunion type, though he conceded to meeting up with me and a few others after, when I used my pitiful little girl voice on him that I know he can’t say no to.

He looked pretty hot when I walked up to him, outside of the hotel.  We walked to a dive down the road and of course I found the only black people in the place and tried to make friends.  Sometimes I think that I should have been black.  Cody and I followed along with this cool hip hop style line dance thing that they were doing, but then we just embraced our inability to look as cool as them, and started doing our own dance moves that probably made us look like we had cerebral palsy.  The boy with the white hair got hit on by a blonde, Cody didn’t know what to do when a drunk girl sat on his lap, the girl with the good legs was just being cool and hot like always, and I drank my weight in whiskey.

And like how most drunk nights end with me… there was a body of water involved.  I made the boy with the white hair jump into the Gulf with me and we swam around and he saw his first shooting star.  He got us back safely, and apparently tried to get me to take a shower, but that was absolutely not going to happen.  I was out.  So I got his whole house sandy and then woke up demanding a toothbrush and breakfast.

We drove to breakfast with the windows down, listening to NPR on the radio and discussed America’s involvement in Israel as I sat on my feet because the seat of the car was still wet from last nights escapades.  As we walked into the breakfast joint, we passed the only woman who looked weirder than I did today.  She was at least 100 years old and had a vicious camel-toe made from her bright pink spandex pants, among other eccentric attributes.  I decided that I wanted to be her best friend.  I replaced her in the establishment as the weirdo, and walked in at noon, still drunk, with eye crust, a little black goth style dress, black combat boots, hair the size of a bald eagle’s nest, orange legs (long story) and a backpack.

Then my sister called me asking me to pick up beer for the house.  The boy with the white hair dropped me off at my car, and I made my way to Publix, and walked down the aisles only carrying a case of beer and looking rough as fuck as the families carted by with boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Lean Cuisines.  Then I went home and giggled with my sister because when her boyfriend asked her from the other room for a drink, she poured him a glass of almond milk.

The moral of the story is that you seem weird to approximately every third person and I have absolutely digressed in maturity since high school graduation ten years ago.

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Post Tour Blues – Report 2 of 2

…continued from Report 1.

Finally being able to have some privacy keeps you isolated as well.  Even if you live with someone else, compared to road life, the amount of privacy you are suddenly allowed is a shock.  We tend to try to take advantage of this, which also keeps us isolated and susceptible to PTB.

One of the things that you really need to adapt to on the road is the lack of privacy, which I have discussed in the past.  Everyone knows when you poop, everyone knows what you look like in the morning, everyone knows how many times in a row you’ve worn the same shirt without washing it.  Everyone knows when you’re upset, everyone knows what your underwear looks like because you often consolidate, and do each other’s laundry.  Basically, everyone knows everything.  It’s like having 11 live-in boyfriends/girlfriends.  Yes, this can sometimes be a nightmare, but it can also sometimes be the most at home you’ll ever feel.  You and your bus-mates become a little fucked up family.  To add to this, it is a constant friggen peanut gallery.

On the road, I cannot do something as mundane as eat a saltine cracker without someone making a comment about it.  I cannot stand how everyone feels the need to ask what you’re eating every fucking time you put something in your mouth.  This isn’t a tour thing, but it’s just enhanced on tour because someone is always around.  I can be eating out of a chip bag that is the size of my torso and at least one person will say, “what you got there?”

I usually don’t respond.  I will just sit there, six inches from someone, and blatantly not respond to their inane question.  People must think I’m either nuts or just an extreme bitch, both of which I will not dispute.  If I opened my mouth I would end up saying, “Unless you went blind between now and the last time I saw you five minutes ago, I think it’s obvious that I am eating some chili lime flavored Lay’s.  Is there something so fascinating about this that propels you to ask such an annoying rhetorical question?”  Instead of saying all that, I just ignore the person.

I know that I have referred to Wal-mart run’s before, but I’m not sure that I have ever fully explained what they entail.  I think it’s obvious that it means that the bus stops at Wal-mart, but this almost always happens at 2:00 in the morning, after a show and approximately every 5-7 days.  Mostly we get groceries, but it is also your one opportunity to get everything that you need.  So, if I need to buy tampons or underwear (in the case that I haven’t been able to do laundry in years) this is my time to do all of that, so sometimes you just need some damn privacy while running this errand.

Often though, 0069 ends up sharing a cart with me and we end up rolling down the aisles on the grocery carts like they are sports equipment, and then playing bumper carts with at least one of the other crew/band members instead of being productive during this errand.  I think Jackhammer and I played a brief game of hockey using a can of pigs feet as a puck in the canned meats aisle.

2:00am Wal-mart run!  This is us NOT being productive.

2:00am Wal-mart run! This is us NOT being productive.

We really did need groceries and thermal shirts, but somehow this is what we left with.

We really did need groceries and thermal shirts, but somehow this is what we left with.

During one particular Wal-mart run, I explored the $5 CD bin.  I collect CD’s so of course I’m going to check out the selection just in case I come across a gem.  And I did!  A Chevelle album I didn’t have.  Score.  So I was walking through Wal-mart, and the only thing in my hand was a CD, while everyone else from the bus had shopping carts full of cereal and canned pineapple.  Every single one of them that I happened to walk past, made a comment about the CD and how it was strange that I was buying one.  Neat.  Thanks for your input, the last five guys said the same exact thing.

Then I go to order a Diet Coke at the McDonalds that is inside of the Walmart, because I love supporting our capitalistic society run by big corporations and corn byproducts.  If I am not already annoyed because of this, and the pure fact of being inside of a Walmart which goes against my entire lifestyle of trying to live low impact, I hear “oh god.  What did you do to yourself?”

Me: What?

Bus-mate: You got McDonald’s?!

What I’d really like to do here is simply ignore this question and not say anything at all.  Like I said, I do this often, so they are all relatively used to it.  Well, as used to being blatantly ignored as you can get, but in this case, there was nothing else around to distract him, so I had to answer or else be further antagonized.

Me: I just got a Diet Coke.

And even if I had ordered some french fries or whatever, I don’t need to hear your opinion on the subject.  It seems to be a surprise to you, but I have managed to get through my entire life so far, without your incessant commentary.

Then, I get back on the bus and have to hear from the English Hooligan about how bad Diet Coke is bad for me.  I already have grown to accept the fact that I am going to get Lupus due to aspartame poisoning, so let me just grow disease ridden in peace!  He feels the need to comment on my Diet Coke intake every single time I have one, even though he has a milkshake or two every single day, and chicken wings and a cheeseburger every other day, but somehow, “that’s different.”  He’s rolling his eyes and shaking his head right now.

Girls get it worse I think.  The attention that I get as a female on the road is one of the best and one of the worst parts about being a chick roadie.  The down side is that like I’ve already said, everything I do is commented on, but with an added cascade of sexist undertones.  “So, you’re hanging out with {insert name of musician or crew member of another band here}.”

Uh, yeah… and you were just smoking a joint and shooting the shit with him two hours ago, so please spare me of your passive sexist remarks.

Every time I use a hand-truck, which is everyday, SOMEONE makes a comment about it.  It’s usually one of the locals and it’s usually something like, “Don’t they have one of the guys to help you with that?”

Do I help the sound engineer with patching?  Do I hang lights for the LD?  No.  So why would any of them help me cart around t-shirts?  It’s what I’m paid for.  This may come as a surprise to people, but I do get paid for my work.  I cannot tell you how often I have been asked if I get paid and every time it is hugely insulting.  Many people assume that I’m essentially a glorified groupie.  So let’s set the record straight, this is how i make most of my living, yes I get paid fairly well, no I am not someone’s girlfriend and yes I travel on the bus; they don’t strap me onto the roof like cargo.

At the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, the first thing that the PM said to me was, “Whose girlfriend are you?”  I looked him in the eye, and just turned and walked away.  He went on to get what he deserved, which was a lot of ridicule from a drunken, Norwegian guitar player who laughed in his face and asked him upon meeting him, “Why do you keep grabbing at your crotch?” among other hilarious observations about this guy’s existence.  Beware of the drunken musicians my darling venue staff, because they don’t give a fuck.

Now I am home, and as nice as the privacy and lack of a constant peanut gallery is, I do miss my roadie families.  Every time I’m home, it takes a while to adjust and I don’t know what to do with all of the privacy.  When I walk into an empty house, I think that I should do something “forbidden” just to take advantage of being alone.  Like eat a bowl of ice cream for breakfast while naked with Ace of Base on full volume and dance on the couches and tabletops.  Or at least call a hot boy to make-out with.  Then I remember that I’m crazy, so I just make a salad instead and read the newspaper and yell at it when Dick Cheney is quoted or when Rick Scott tries to pretend like he is not a subhuman who has profited billions off of sick people.

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Post Tour Blues – Report 1 of 2

I have been home for a while now, and I feel that I am FINALLY getting over my Post Tour Blues.  I am starting to make more friends, enjoy my little routines and flirting with the idea of trying to start a garden.  Don’t get me wrong, I cannot friggen wait to get back on the road, but I am enjoying NOT going stir crazy at the moment.  I leave again soon though, and will be traveling for three months, and I am very stoked about that, but I am already dreading the Post Tour Blues that I will be sure to experience upon my return in late November.

There are many reasons why us roadies get the Post Tour Blues as I call it (or PTB).  A lot of the symptoms are due to the sudden change in lifestyle.  The easiest, most concise way to describe it, is that we go from 60 to zero in only a few minutes.  The amount of time that it takes to walk off of the bus and into the airport terminal that will be delivering you home.

I go from being in a new city every day and being at a live, loud, adrenaline pumping rock show every night,  to sitting on my mom’s couch watching her make carrot juice and hearing about the family of rabbits that are hopping around the neighborhood.  Touring can be a lot of fucking fun, and everything I deal with on a daily basis is so over the top that it can sometimes make normal life feel mundane.  Another factor in the cause of Post Tour Blues.

Also, you go from having a very specific, functional purpose, to no purpose at all.  Each person on the tour is essential and provides a specific job that makes the entire tour function.  You know exactly what is required of you and there is a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day.  Then you go home and you have no role and no sense of purpose, and those questions like, “what am I doing with my life?” start haunting you.  I just happened to have the month off during the 2014 World Cup.  I am not kidding when I tell you that I spent the entire month alone in a bar, drinking beer and watching soccer.  I had a great time, but honestly, in that month, there was just no purpose to my existence.

This brings me to my next point, which is often, I tend to isolate myself post tour.  I know that I probably shouldn’t, because it only enhances the blues, but I know that a lot of other touring folk do this as well.  I’ve speculated on some of the reasons why this is.  One I believe, is that it does become harder to relate to people who live a more stable lifestyle.  Your cares, concerns and experiences, the things that you talk about, are radically different.  It’s not that one way of life is superior to the other, it’s just different, and I get self-conscious sometimes about the topics of conversation that I would probably bring up.  I’m sitting there discussing how I can’t remember if I accidentally drunkenly kissed the guitar tech, how a goth with metal spikes coming from his head stalked me all night, trying to get access on to the bus, and how I’m thinking about dreadlocking my hair just so that I don’t have to deal with hair maintenance on the road.  The stable friend is discussing how their kid likes playing with a broken piece of a picture frame rather than their toys, how the contractor put in the wrong tile in their kitchen and how they may get an office promotion.  Neither is right or wrong, just different and I know that I am the more abnormal one; the minority, so it sometimes makes me self-conscious and I just avoid that type of interaction.  There are of course certain close friends that you don’t have to worry about this type of thing with, thank goodness for them.

Being alone often after tour is mostly self-induced, but not always.  Your friends and family have their own lives without you because they have become accustom to you not being around.  So when they don’t call you to invite you out for their traditional Saturday afternoon Bloody Mary’s at the nearby beach bar, it’s not because they don’t want you there, it’s just that they have grown into the habit of not calling because you’re often not in town.  I sometimes feel very alone after a tour, which leads to PTB.

Romantic relationships are fucked.  To the point where I don’t even have the emotional stamina to get into that right now.  I think it’s obvious how touring puts a major strain on any type of relationship, but especially romantic ones, so hopefully you can use your imagination and forgive me for skipping over the dirty details right now.  Maybe down the road… probably when I am suffering through another episode of PTB, I may be in the mood to drink a bottle of whiskey and dredge through painful memories.

When you’re on the road, it’s easy to distract yourself from the thoughts of your personal life back home being annihilate because there is constant new stimulus.  Once you are back home though, you’re forced to confront all of the things that you have been putting off during your tour and it hits you in the stomach, knocking the wind out of you.

Finally being able to have some damn privacy once you get home is very nice and so you feel the compulsion to take advantage of that and get as much privacy as you can soak up.  This ultimately leads to the loneliness as well.   I will get to bus privacy in the 2nd report.

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