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2015 was Epic – Part 4

If you are just tuning in, please see Part 2, where our backpacking adventure started.

When I left of in Part 3, myself, my sister Raven and Fat Face were leaving Sibui, Romania (the Transylvania region) and heading toward Bucharest, the capital.  The main reason why I personally wanted to experience Eastern Europe was because I am fascinated by post Communist countries and envy Second World countries because they don’t take resources for granted, they are as baffled by capitalism as I am, and if you fall it’s your fault and you can’t sue someone because it rained and the sidewalk is wet.  Those characteristics somewhat define Eastern Europe and that’s why I am so drawn to it.

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A giant hold in the middle of the walkway.  An example of Romania giving zero fucks about liability.

With that being said, Bucharest was the only city that all three of us didn’t like.  For me, it happened to also be the city that provided the most insight and was a true learning experience because I would say that we were the most out of our element there. During this backpacking adventure, the three of us discovered that our favorite thing to do was to rent bikes.  We kept up the tradition and rented some in Bucharest.  We were riding around for maybe thirty minutes, and I found myself in this funk!  Out of nowhere I was depressed and at first, thought it was possible symptoms of PMS.  But then I noticed that Fat Face and Raven were the same.  Just by riding our bikes around the city we were all immediately sad for reasons that we couldn’t explain.  I later did some mild musing on the subject while Raven listened to Rihanna on her headphones and Fat Face created memes.  I theorized that our mood was due to the bleakness of the city.  There are no colors there.  At all.  The buildings, the clothing, the cars… everything seems to be this monochromatic tone of grey.  There was an occasional splash of color on a sign advertising an H&M or something, but that seemed even more depressing to me.  It was clear evidence of the city attempting to rid themselves of their oppressive past and conform to Western culture.  It felt contrived, not encouraging.  I will say however, that one of the best things I’ve ever eaten was in Bucharest.  It was essentially a hot pocket, but if hot pockets were good… and then add an orgasm.

*Side Note: Vegetarians, Vegans, Gluten-freers, Atkiners and actually anyone on any high maintenance First World diet, Eastern Europe may not be the place for you.  It’s a lot of meat, cheese and bread.  Just embrace it.  Love, a former vegetarian.

If I had to sum up Bucharest in one sentence, I would say that the people and the places all look like something that was beautiful once, but isn’t anymore.  The big “city center” had this giant fountain that stretched for blocks, with mosaic tiling on the floor and built in lights to illuminate the dancing water.  However, the fountain was not functional anymore, the mosaic tiling was littered with dead leaves, the water had long been dried up and the lights were broken.  The people were the same.  Everyone we passed looked worn and bruised and broken.  Mainstream cultural vibrancy was still dead though it seemed as if the city was attempting to fool you.  It felt like an outcast kid in middle school, trying to fit in with the cool kids crowd.  If that outcast kid were just himself, he’d be great, but he is using all of his energy on trying to convince everyone that he is something that he is not.  In an attempt to conform, his true beauty and uniquely perfect identity gets lost along the way.  What I’m getting at is, Eastern Europe tries very hard to rid itself of its’ oppressive past, but in Bucharest, the reminisce of oppression is very present.  I think that if they stopped trying to Westernize themselves, their true beauty would shine through.

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This is the only picture I took outside of the hostel in Bucharest.  There was very little obvious beauty, so I took this to try to capture the grey bleakness.

Luckily, the hostel that we stayed at in Bucharest, Doors Hostel, was the best hostel of the trip.  After three hours of attempting to explore the city and then wanting to slit our wrists  instead, we decided that making the most of Bucharest may mean just staying at the hostel.  So we spent a lot of time there, hanging out in their tea garden and chatting it up with an employee who looked like a character from a Tim Burton movie.  She had huge sunken eyes, wispy hair, porcelain skin and was heroin-chic skinny.  Fat Face was feeling her because they had similar music taste.  I was feeling her because she gave us shots of Palinka.  Plus, she was friggen cool.  If you find yourself in Bucharest, give Danielle at Doors Hostel a high five.

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Me failing at taking a selfie in the “tea garden” at the hostel.  

We did manage to have a good time at a bar called Control.  It was a walk up bar which immediately made us feel more comfortable because that is the norm in the States, but almost unheard of in Europe.  You don’t sit at a bar in bars in Europe.  Whoa, that was a tough sentence.  Anyway, we discovered that you’re expected to just grab a table and then a server will eventually come to you.  Eventually being the key word.  It requires a lot more time and effort to get drunk in other parts of the world.  (Australia was the same way and I discuss that trip in Part 1).

As much as I bitch about America, fucking high-five to us for producing the most efficient way of consuming a lot of alcohol quickly and at low prices.  In Europe and Australia, your drink could be empty for an hour and no one gives a fuck.  Servers will rarely approach you to see if you would like another drink.  In the States it’s kind of rude to flag down your waiter, but I learned that it is acceptable and expected in the not so touristy areas of Europe.  Still, after flagging down a server, it takes a hot minute before you actually receive your drink, and by then, you’ve sobered up and are over it.  Also, if you’re drinking liquor, their standard pours are only one ounce (about 28 grams for those of you who aren’t on our retarded system of measurement) but almost double the price compared to America.  I would need to order a quadruple shot at a time if I had any intention of even getting a buzz… but that’s not very cost efficient and the drinks aren’t served quickly enough to cross the “fuck money” threshold.  Even if I ordered a double, I would probably have to plan to chill on that for two hours because in Eastern Europe, two hours in the hospitality industry seems to be the equivalent to ten minutes in America’s hospitality service.

To get to Istanbul from Bucharest by train, we had to stop in Sofia, Bulgaria.  Like I said before, the trains have absolutely no indication of what city/station they are at, and there is no PA system.  On top of this, the trains will often stop en route for no reason that is evident to the passnegers, so you never know if you’re at a real stop, or a psych! stop.  Everyone just silently looks around to see if anyone else is getting off.  I swear to God, that’s how it works.  And if you do get off at the fake-out stop, there is absolutely no workers around to tell you that your Made in China Vans are not going to hold up during your trek to the next train station which is miles away.

*See Part 3 for a little more insight on the E. Europe trains.

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A skeleton train.

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Confessions of a Heedless Sinner – Vol. 16

Of the eight boys that I’m semi dating right now, my favorite is my smooth boyfriend.  (Please see Vol. 14 if you’re wondering why and how I got myself into this mess.) I definitely spend the most time with him and he makes me laugh.  He gave his couch a name, he wears socks with pictures on them and he is also obsessed with salmon and has taken to texting me every single time he gets some.  “I’ve got some good news for you.  I just ate some salmon.” is the latest message I received from him.

I actually met him at least a year and a half ago when Rory and I were playing pool at a local dive bar.  A handful of us started hanging out that night and naturally, the conversation immediately turned vulgar and hilarious, so smooth boy and I have had an unspoken bond since.  When the very first conversation you have with a stranger is about anal sex, it’s safe to say that you’re bonded for life.

After that, smooth boy and I would say what’s up if we saw each other in that bar, but I didn’t even know his name and he was usually busy playing pool (it’s pretty sexy how good he is at it) and I was usually busy flirting with whoever my flavor of the month was.  For the first time since the anal conversation a year and a half ago, we had a conversation that lasted more than ten syllables just a few weeks ago, but unfortunately I was wasted.  I was a hot fucking mess that night and woke up the following morning scared that I was kissing this OTHER dude with a red beard at the bar which would be so embarrassing and white trash of me.  I decided that I did make a fool of myself at the bar and I came to this conclusion not because I remembered or had solid evidence, but because of my rule.

Caitlin Rule: Always assume the worst when trying to remember the details about the drunken night before.

Before I may or may not have been kissing red beard, I was definitely chatting it up and laughing with smooth boy.  We had chemistry and though I don’t remember what in the hell we were talking about for so long, I do remember that for a moment, it felt like we were the only two in the bar.  It would have been worth trying to see him again, but I was not about to step foot in that bar though for at least a few months, and I was confident that there was a chance that he thought I was a giant hoe, so oh well.  I’ll see him around in a few months, I thought.  A few days later, I was walking up to a restaurant to get a late night bite to eat and I hear, “Don’t you go to Harbor Bar?”  Oh shit, who is this going to be? is what I was thinking as I turned around.  It was smooth boy.  Crap.  The one person that I was the most embarrassed to see because I had accepted the fact that I had been flirting with him that night, and then started making-out with someone else at the bar in front of him.

I sucked it up though and sat down and ate some food with the guy.  Fifteen minutes into the conversation, I got the courage to just flat out ask him.  “No!  You were totally fine that night,” he said.   “I didn’t even realize you were that drunk.”  What a relief!  Whoo!  I gave myself an inner congratulations.  I must have just thought about kissing red beard.  Or maybe I kissed him outside the bar.  Who the hell knows, I’ve avoided that guy since.

Now it’s a week later and I just went to the strip club with him.  Of course, because what could be more absurd than me, a white 29 year old girl in my faded band t-shirt and leather jacket, rolling into a strip club with these motherfuckers:

Smooth boy, who is black by the way, and wearing red shoes that corresponded with the red lettering on his Nike t-shirt and immediately started yelling with his wad of one’s, “We’re going to change the weather pattern in this bitch!”

Kid bartender.  He’s a white, 21 year old kid who wears a silver chain around his neck and says bro a lot.  That makes him sound lame, but it is important to note that he is very sexy and I would cougar the shit out of him.  Well, not now because he is smooth boys’ friend and I do have some morals.  But, I am willing to bet that Kid bartender could get laid every single night of the week by a different girl if he wanted to.  He’s sweet and I can relate to him because we both recognize the fact that the only reason why the opposite sex is attracted to us, is because of our hair.

Sweet M.  She’s a big black woman, probably in her 40’s, who wears a fake ponytail and big pink t-shirts.  She’s hilarious and has game!  If you could have seen her in that strip club, she was giving us all lessons on how to be a player.  She is a wonderful lady, gives the best hugs and I love being around her.

So that was our motley crew at the strip club.  Kid Bartender and Sweet M were getting lap dances in the back while Smooth boy and I were failing at getting a drink.  The bartender in that place seemed to be the only person who was drunk in that whole establishment.  Getting three beers was a fifteen minute ordeal due to her temporary inability to see, hear or have authority of her motor functions.

Each of them EASILY dropped $250 that night.  I just sat back and let everyone entertain me.  The crew that I was with was just as entertaining as the strippers were.  When a song came on that he liked, Smooth boy would yell at whoever was on stage, “Oooo girl, you better do something good with this song!”  Then he would literally run over to the stage, hold a wad of cash in front of the stripper like a launch vessel that he was teasing them with.  If they sucked, he had no issues with shouting advice at them.

One stripper had this fringe type, belly dancer thing around her waist.  It was pretty annoying because it made that obnoxious sound, so Smooth boy took it upon himself to let the manager who was walking by know.  “That Moroccan bitch has got to go.  Get this girl back on stage,” he said as he pointed to the stripper that Sweet M was whispering to who looked like they pulled her straight out of the Amazon.

Later, I heard that jingle jangling approaching and Smooth boy and I immediately made eye contact and said at the same time, “here comes the Moroccan bitch!”  When she walked by, he said, “Morocco!  What’s up?  Girl, we knew that was you coming.”  I don’t think she got it, but I thought it was hysterical, and him and I high-fived and were laughing our asses off.  One of the things that I do like about Smooth boy, is that he initiates high fives with me.  A lot of boys hate high-fiving their girlfriends or any girl who they may want in their bed at any time in their life for that matter.  I’m not exactly sure why, but it seems to be a thing.

I would like to note that we were all sober.

During all this, Kid Bartender was leaning back with his feet propped up, while the strippers came to him and he nonchalantly put a wad of dollars in their thong like a pro.

The night ended with me and Smooth boy on his couch that he has named, watching Family Guy and discussing the best ways to prepare salmon.  Perfect night.

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Confessions of a Heedless Sinner – Vol. 14

I am kind of dating eight different boys right now.  This wasn’t intentional.  It’s not as if I go out on hunts, it just happens when you’re subconsciously open to it.  My rule proved to be true.

Caitlin Rule: Tread softly with your words because once something is said out loud, it becomes real.

I received a really retarded text from a boy who kicked my ass recently, and it was kind of the last straw.  My friend Rachel was with me and in a burst of frustration I shouted, “I’m just going to go back to being a man-eater!”

Sure enough, that very night, suddenly two new boys whom I have zero possibility of a future with were in my life.  Two weeks later, and now my number is up to eight.  Yes, it is taking some bravery to write this entry because it will absolutely piss some people off, but I figure it’s a way to wean out the faint of heart.  Maybe one day I’ll find someone who understands the humor behind my exploits.  I tell all of these guys that I see other people, but most boys seem to have selective hearing, so if this comes as a shock… their bad.

Caitlin Rule: Never date a writer because they will write about you.

Right up until my outburst with Rachel, boys had kicked my ass over the past year or so.  I suppose I had it coming because for a good chunk of my twenties, I was mostly just using boys as a form of entertainment.  Of course there were some who I truly cared about, but looking back on the flings between the ages of 24-27, they mostly just provided immediate gratification and held little integrity.

There were times back then when I would be dating a handful of people at once.  To maintain some level of self-respect, I’m never sleeping with more than one person at a time.  Mostly these guys I was “dating” I would maybe see once a week and we’d go somewhere like a gallery opening or a comedy show, then have a couple of drinks.  Generally this would lead to a profound conversation and then making-out on their couch.  Then I’d smile sweetly and say, “I have to go,” and they wouldn’t hear from me again until next week… after I had done the same thing with the other four guys.

Obviously, that got tiring and meaningless.  It wasn’t a conscious decision, but somewhere along the way I did just start naturally looking for something with a little more stability.  Something to be respected.  Well, I found a few, and they just ended up kicking my ass!  I tend to not write about the ones that hurt the most, so all I’m going to say about the one who beat me up the worst (metaphorically speaking), is that I did truly try.  For the first time in a long time, and possibly only the second time in my life, I truly tried in that relationship.  He still left me though, so look where that got me.

After that, there was another guy I started seeing (again).  It wasn’t serious, but I began to believe that we could be great together if we gave it a real shot.  Now he’s a baby daddy.  Well, the chick is still pregnant, so he is a soon-to-be baby daddy, and that obviously brought on far too many complications for our mild “relationship” to stay afloat, let alone blossom.  What I’m getting at is, after all of those years of acting like an asshole and not getting emotionally invested, the second I give people some real respect, and the second I try to build relationships with solid ground, they fucking pummeled me.  So, inconsequential flings with some people who make me laugh and definitely don’t make me cry, sounds like a beautiful counteraction.  You may be thinking that “rebound” would be a more appropriate description to which I can see your point, but I don’t fully agree because rebounds insinuate that sex is taking place (which it is mostly not in my case) and rebounds also seem to be associated with a kind of darkness; an inner turmoil that one is trying to drown out with false love.  I am not in a dark place right now, I’m just having a lot of fun and not taking myself or anyone else too seriously.  I have completely eradicated hope from my life.  That may sound depressing, but I find it sincerely liberating and I’ll explain more about that some other time.

Since I have been attempting to juggle eight different boys, my personal life has been like an episode of Gossip Girl on steroids.  A few days ago, I decided to get organized.  I sat down at my desk to get to work.  I had just received my schedule for the week, so it was time to begin adjusting these boys’ lives to mine.  I began texting them, all at the same time which was a terrible idea, and quite literally had to pencil them into my calendar.  Okay, I used a pen, but still, I actually had to bust out my calendar at my desk to write in for Saturday: “Lunch with boring boy, dinner with thug boy and late drinks with baseball boy.”  Wednesday looked something like, “Coffee with boxing boy, show with skater boy? or possibly baby daddy?”  The fact that the baby daddy is still in my life is ridiculous, I know, but he’s only like 3% (a minority that doesn’t even count) in my life and I’m sure I’ll explain that story soon enough.

With this type of schedule, of course I have to prepare for the unexpected.  I mean, what if dinner with thug boyfriend (I call him this because he looks like a straight up drug dealer) goes way better than anticipated and I want to continue having him as company?  Well, that means I would have to cancel on baseball boy.  Here is why it is slightly okay… I don’t lie.  In the off-chance that thug boyfriend holds my attention for more than a couple of hours, then I will text baseball boy and tell him, “I’m so sorry, I can’t make it tonight for drinks!  I got held up at dinner.”

If baseball boy straight up asked me, “is that because you are with someone else?” I would absolutely say, yes.  But they never straight up ask.  And neither do I.  That’s not my business nor my style.  As long as things are light, I honestly could not fucking care less if I was also penciled into a guy’s calendar.  One very important thing that I learned from the boy with the white hair is that it’s crucial to understand what your role is in someone’s life.  I understand that my role in most of these guys lives are just like what their role is in mine.  They’re using me as much as I am using them and I find nothing wrong with that.  We enjoy the time and then continue.

I just got off of the phone with Cody (who is a great old friend of mine that I talk about in This Is Now), and he suspected for a moment that I was meeting these guys online.  He knows better, so I don’t think that he actually thought that, he just has a terrible case of not being able to stop his mouth from moving.  Quite literally, I don’t think he can refrain from words coming from his mouth at all times.  So he says shit that he doesn’t even mean or believe.  It’s almost like having Tourettes but with whole sentences.  I love him for it though.  Anyway, the point being that I would like to make it perfectly fucking clear that I am in no way online dating.

The point of all of this is to kind of bring you, the reader, up to speed because I think I will start chronicling this absolutely absurd dating life.  This is the first part, and I’m sure that it won’t last long because these kinds of romances never do.  For example, I thought that I’ve already crossed one guy off of the list because I accidentally sent him the wrong text, which was absolutely bound to happen.

Like I said, I have at least a little bit of self-respect, so I am only sleeping with one of these boys.  I meant to send him the text that said, “Did you throw me up against a wall or something last night?  The center of my back has a bruise on it.”  Well, I sent that text to boring boy instead.  I realized it immediately and just started laughing out loud.  I mean, what else can you do in that situation?  Then I texted it to the right guy, to which he responded, “Unfortunately we weren’t in a place to be doing that.”  Which was true… we were very much around other people for the whole night, but there was a couple of times that we stole a passionate kiss, so I thought that maybe one of those times he banged me up against a wall and I just didn’t notice because whiskey and hormones were involved.

I was busy daydreaming about him throwing me against a wall when I got the text from boring boy that said, “wrong text.”  Yeah, thanks, champ.  “Sorry about that” is all I could say back.  The truly amazing part is that I still heard from the boring boy two days later.  It’s stunning how much people are willing to put up with during the chase.

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Things I Learned From Working With a Black Metal Band

I have toured twice now with a certain black metal band, and they are my favorite band to work for.  I think I’ll start with my favorite thing I learned while with them:

1.  Nothing can both create and destroy as much as hope.

We had a day off in Oregon back in January, and spent it going on a hike which almost killed me because my Floridian body cannot take altitude.  After being worried for a few hours that some of the guys did actually die (they ventured off trail), we made a celebratory bonfire upon their return.  Well, if I’m being honest, it was just a fire outside to keep us warm and give us something to do.  But in my mind, I was celebrating the fact that no one died. Everyone was quiet, exhausted, watching the flames consume, and I had a sudden thought which I shared out loud, “Fire is the only thing that can both create and destroy so much.”

“No, hope.”  One of the guys immediately countered with.  As dismal as that sounds, he was right.  Hope is the ultimate creator and destroyer.  It has made me begin actively trying to let go of all my hopes.  Having zero expectations of anyone or anything sounds blissfully peaceful.

2.  “Peer pressure is where all of the good stuff happens.”

Something the lead singer said.  He tends to be the wise one.  We always associate peer pressure with negative influences, but it can be equally as positive.  Peer pressure can occur when you’re getting your heartbroken and the people surrounding you convince you that it’s a better idea to climb a mountain with them rather than sit alone moping and drinking beer.  That happened to me on this last tour.  Sure, sometimes peer pressure does not lead you on a good path, but I think part of the point he was making is, even if it’s not the “right” path, maybe something interesting will happen.  Maybe you’ve learned something about yourself or someone else, and maybe you’re better for it.  As I write, I’m realizing that peer pressure is another concept that can also create and/or destroy.  Whether it’s a negative influence or a positive one, I find how powerful it is to be very fascinating.  The lesson is, don’t hang out with assholes, and then you will almost always have a positive peer pressure experience.  Real friends won’t hurt you.

3.  “Things” create an invisible barrier between us all.

I’ve understood this for a while, but I see it with even more clarity now.  These guys don’t need much and they are unconcerned with luxuries.  I think part of the reason why it is so easy to begin to feel like part of the family with them, is because there is no superficial concerns in the way.  We don’t much care how we look or smell around each other, or what we do or say around each other either because everyone is so non-judgmental.  It’s a kind of bond that you can only find with people who don’t give a fuck.  And these guys truly don’t give a fuck.

Especially as a girl, I am often way too in my head and concerned with my appearance.  When I’m out on the road, and especially with this band, some of those voices go away.  I wake up and don’t usually even wash my eye crust away until the afternoon, once load-in is complete.  I don’t normally put on make-up, I wear the same shirt three days in a row and I look in the mirror once a day.  And that’s how they know me, with no falsities filtering us.  It’s fucking beautiful when your mind is clear of all that everyday nonsense.  Your brain has more capacity to notice and experience things and each other when it’s not distracted by hair products, cell phones and how your Levi’s fit.

It also makes me think about a lesson that the boy with the white hair once told me.  He was explaining to me why he tends to wear black on black everyday.  He has enough to think about, so what he is going to wear, is one less decision he needs to make, hopefully making room for decisions that do matter.  So I guess what the black metal band and the boy with the white hair taught me is that the road to peace of mind can only be found when it has paved away superficial mental clutter.

4.  Being a vegetarian is a luxury.

If you’re really hungry, fuck vegetarianism.  I was a vegetarian for several years, then a pseudo vegetarian, and now all I can claim is that I try to avoid meat.  I don’t dispute the probable health benefits of not eating meat, and I don’t support the inhumane treatment of animals that are no better or worse than us.  As I’m sure you’ve already come to understand, these guys are very low-maintenance.  They don’t ask for much on the tour rider, so we often have minimal food available.  I like that about them, but it also means that I know what it is like to be really hungry when there are no food options other than a package of sliced ham that was left-over from one of last weeks venues.  When you’ve been on the road for a while, working your ass off, and there is no food around and you haven’t gotten a good meal in for a few days… trust me, you will welcome that processed pig.

I think of being a vegetarian as a kind of luxury because before mass production and before GMO’s, the only way one could be a vegetarian is if one happened to live in one of the few places on Earth that happen to have plentiful and varying vegetation.  You think that there are many vegetarians in Russia?  Doubtful.  But I don’t live in Russia, so I can easily avoid meat when I’m home, if I want to.  So now I proclaim myself a “non-asshole-vegetarian.”  Meaning, I try to stay away from it, but I’m not high maintenance about it.  If someone makes something for me that has meat in it, I’m not going to be an asshole and tell them that I can’t eat it.  Or if I’m in Eastern Europe (which I was recently) I’m going to enjoy and adjust to their culture, which I am here to tell you… is a lot of meat, cheese and bread.

5.  Moderation can be overrated.

I have always said that everything in moderation is healthy.  Embracing your vices in moderation is healthy.  These mother fuckers though, take their vices head on, like a bull.  And just like a raging bull, they have battle wounds and sometimes they look rough, but fuck, they make decay look beautiful.  They know themselves better than most and I think that a lot of that is because they have taken their minds and bodies to the limits.  I think we all learn a lot about ourselves when we let substances kick our ass sometimes.  They haven’t crossed the line completely, they just dance with the devil on the line between moderation and insanity.  Sure, we have lost some brain cells, but I think we gain so much more.  We gain camaraderie, travels, experiences, wisdom and hard work.  I understand that you can gain all of those qualities while practicing moderation, but the point is, it seems like you can get there by practicing extremism sometimes as well.

6.  Black metal bands have the most competent fans.

As we all know because of my Merch Girl Rants, the people who I typically deal with at metal shows are abhorrently stupid.  It’s honestly incredible.  However, with the black metal band, I only get a couple of dumb questions a night.  Usually, I only get a couple of NOT dumb questions a night.  So it’s safe to conclude that there is something about the Satanist crowd that makes them more intellectually competent.  Those five hours I spend selling t-shirts and patches is a lot less painful when I’m selling for the black metal band because I actually feel like I’m dealing with other humans, rather than a subordinate alien race.

7.  Calling someone a mongoloid is a very fun insult.

Try it soon!  “You fucking mongoloid!”  It’s wonderfully satisfying when someone is acting like an ape.

8.  All pain does is hurt.

I like this lesson because it can apply to physical and emotional pain.  Some of the guys are slightly sadistic, and I’m slightly masochistic, so we end up doing shit like shooting each other with BB guns, burning ourselves due to a bet and whipping each other when someone fucks up a guitar riff.  I used to hate anticipating pain, but I’ve seen their scars and I’ve seen them take it, and now I try to shrug it off and I think to myself, don’t be scared of pain, all it does is hurt.

I got my heartbroken on this last tour, and I applied the same lesson.  All of the pain I was/am feeling, I just breathed it out and tried to remember that this is all it does.  It just hurts, that’s it.  So there’s my final gift to you babe, you can blame it all on me because I’m not scared and I’ll take the pain.

 

 

 

 

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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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“To live… to live would be an awfully big adventure.”

I’m a firm believer in creating your own fun, it is not going to fall into your lap. Whatever the event or the day, you will only have a good time if you try to have a good time. My sister and I have been doing “Sister Sunday’s” for about a month now because I am currently home for a while, and we both happen to have that day off. It would have been easy for us to just sit on the couch and watch Lifetime (she is obsessed with all of those annoying women killer shows such as Snapped) and Law & Order re-runs and do twelve push-ups and say that we “worked out,” and possibly complete the day with an outing to Barnes & Noble or something, and while that sounds like it could be a good time, we were in the mood for fun with a little more spunk.

I came up with some ideas, and she narrowed it down. One, go to the flea market because we have never been. That was almost a fail, but we were saved by an old woman doing the electric slide and a corn dog. The flea market itself was pretty lame, and it attracted the most yokels that I have ever seen in one place and I swear that I saw the Marlboro man. Raven was craving a corn dog, and thank God it ended up being delicious because she waited fifteen minutes for a piece of fried guts, but it made her morning. On our way out we stopped for a moment to watch some honky crap band butcher music, but there was a four foot tall 85 year old woman doing the electric slide to “Sweet Caroline,” and that made my afternoon. You have to look closer. We could have easily missed the dancing geriatric, but I’ve learned to seek out possibly entertaining scenarios because like I said, it’s not going to fall into my lap. I figured the slight detour toward the redneck music would be worth it. We also found a beach chair that we bought from a one-legged man that had exactly three teeth, and I bought three books for only $1.50, so it wasn’t a total bust.

Next stop, roller rink. Here’s how serious Raven is about rollerskating, she actually owns a pair of skates. I don’t think I have ever known anyone else who owns a pair of rollerskates, but she and her friends went through a major phase when they were younger teenagers and going to the roller rink was an actual thing in their teen angst world. Here’s how serious I am about rollerskating, I have not put on a pair of skates since I was eight years old and going to a cake and ice cream birthday party. I was killing it though! Well, next to Raven, who can dance and do all sorts of tricks and things on her skates I looked like an asshole, but I was stoked that I was able to turn corners and that I did not fall one time. After a few laps around and I was able to do that cross over thing with your skates one does while turning, and I even got good enough to groove to the terrible bubble-gum pop music while swerving my legs in and out. We were by far the oldest two there (aside from the parents) and we topped off the juvenile outing with a couple of games of ski ball, and did our good deed for the day when we gave the tickets that we had won to a little mopey boy that was sitting on the ground next to us.

Back home now, and we made our own pina coladas using the magic bullet, which I have only ever used to make cocktails with rather than kale smoothies which was the original plan when I went through one of my detox kicks that lasted for all of four hours, and sipped on our tropical drink while watching Channing Tatum dance and fantasized out loud about being his girlfriend. Then, we went to the Tampa Theatre, which I still believe is one of the prettiest theatres in the country. Due to touring with the ballet company I have worked for in the past, I have been to the prettiest theatres in America, including The Fox Theatre in Detroit, The Palace in Albany and Temple Theatre in Saginaw, which are among my favorites, but I still think that the theatre that I grew up with in Tampa is at the top of the list as well. We watched some indie horror movie that was average, and then explored the theatre and took pictures of ourselves lounging in the ornate corridors while I fantasized about becoming the real Phantom of the Opera.

More drinks were next, and we stopped at our Dad’s restaurant and caused some chaos. There was a band playing, and we laid low at first and played a game of Go Fish with our Dad, and then Raven ran away when Dad and I started discussing politics, which somehow seems to always get brought up when we’re together. What began as a debate on whether or not we consider each other to be patriotic, somehow ended with the conclusion that capitalism sucks. I think that most American political roads lead to that conclusion.

Once Rory,the boy who is unafraid, joined us, that’s when the real ruckus began. Myself, Raven and Rory started playing Dare. Not truth or dare, just dare. He started it. He dared me to get up on the stage where the band was playing and do this Irish jig thing that I was doing as a joke on St. Patrick’s day. Everyone in the audience must have been drunk because I got an applause afterward and a bunch of high fives for that goofy piece of shit dance. We dared Raven to bring a shot over to this guy who was clearly there with his girlfriend and say, “this is from some girl at the bar.” Raven accepted the dare, which caused the girlfriend/wife to apparently get all worked up and began harassing the host, bombarding her with interrogations as to who bought her boyfriend a shot. The three of us took diabolical delight in this scene. I dared Rory to get up onto the bar and dance, which I definitely would NOT have done, but like I said… he’s unafraid, and he did it without a second thought. He has some moves, and was up there for a solid thirty seconds before kartwheeling off the bar, an impressive dismount. The kartwheel looked like so much fun, so then Rory and I began doing kartwheels together in the middle of the road, while Raven was inside talking to Jay, this boy that she’s friends with every other week. They are a damn rollercoaster and have an utterly different relationship every single day. On Monday they’ll be laughing and flirting and Jay will tell her how beautiful she is, and then on Tuesday, he’ll delete her from every social media and they won’t even make eye contact with each other. I just think it’s hilarious (and find it interesting that deletions from social medias are the lowest of blows one of their generation can inflict) and I not-so-secretly want her to be with him if he ever gets himself under control. Right now he’s still young and trying to figure out how to get through a day without an epic emotional crisis (a feeling I can very much recall from my teenage years), but I think he’s a good kid and has potential to be a good boyfriend.

After a couple of more dares and a bunch more laughs, we called it a night and headed home. It was such a fun, uplifting day, and I challenge all of you to start having more lighthearted fun. Stay young! Look closer. Be brave. We easily could have just went out to lunch and then drank beer on the porch, and there is nothing wrong with that. I do that often and have a perfectly pleasant time, but I think it’s important to also venture out of your comfort zone every once in a while and find new ways of having fun so that you don’t get stuck in the mundane. Only boring people get bored, so next time you find yourself “bored,” start making your own fun. Go make a fool out of yourself at a roller rink, try rock climbing, spice up sitting and having drinks with dares and outlandish questions like, “how much would I have to pay you to eat a jar of mayonaise with a spoon?” I hate mayonnaise and answered, $10,000 but Raven said she would do it for $20. So gross. “How much would you have to get paid to leave the country right now and not return or visit at all for five years?” Talk to someone new, ride your bike through a park instead of going to the gym, finger paint, build something, go somewhere new… live large.

“Stay hungry, stay free and do the best that you can.”

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Confessions of a Heedless Sinner – Valentine Edition 1 of 2

As much as I don’t participate in Valentine’s Day, something in relation to my love life always seems to transpire on this day of the year. Due to my love life just being so absurd that I sometimes literally laugh out loud at it, the circumstances that now seem to be a pattern in my Valentine chronicles are generally unfortunate.

Last year was, Confessions Vol. 13, and of course, I saw that boy the day before Valentine’s day this year. How disgustingly full circle. I was so caught off guard by seeing him (it was a very unsuspecting place that we ran into each other) that I accidentally said out loud like a total asshole, “Of course you’d be here,” with a sigh. I immediately felt a little bit bad for my utter disregard for politeness, but continued to be very unsmooth and made the situation even more awkward. Whatever, I don’t think I’m his favorite person anyway, so I’m sure he wasn’t expecting anything less.  He did look really cute though… but from there, things continued to go down hill. Little did I know, the following day I would break up with a boy that I had only known for an hour, get an unwarranted dick in my hand and have to call 911.

I was at a music festival, but a cool one. Not a filthy sweaty music festival that takes place in some nondescript field with twenty-year-olds who are half-naked, tripping balls and playing hacky sack. I have a problem with American music festivals because they have turned into being way more about getting fucked up than about the music. A show is just about the only time you’ll catch me not drinking. Well, I’ll have a couple of drinks but I am definitely not going to be drunk if it’s a show that I sought out and actually care about seeing. I want to “be there” wholly and let the music take me over rather than alcohol. Excuse the rant… back to the chronicles of what took place.

I walked into one of the venues that was hosting the festival, and there should have been someone playing, as the schedule read that a “Johnny C” started playing at 6:00 and it was 6:15 but there was no one on stage. Then, this kid drops his guitar stand in front of me. Instinctively, because I’m part of the crew when I’m on the road, I helped him pick up his gear. Of course, the part that fell in front of me was the tiniest part, that he clearly could have retrieved without my help, so I started laughing and said, “this is all I can contribute.” I hadn’t even looked at him yet, so then when I did, it was a bonus that he was cute.

I then put it together that he was walking around with a guitar stand, so duh, he must be one of the performers. “Who are you?” I asked, because I’m so polite.
“I’m Johnny C.” He was the guy who was supposed to be playing.
“So you’re late.”
“I’m not late! They’re late getting off stage,” he said and pointed to the idiots who were still packing up their gear.
“You guys are messing up my schedule, I have to go watch Polyenso who start in twenty-five minutes.”
“I’ll make it worth it if you stay.”
“Okay, but you better be good. I’m going to get a drink. Would you like one? I feel bad that I insulted you immediately upon meeting you.”
“I like your sarcasm.”
“So would you like a drink?”
“Not yet, let me prove myself to you first, and then you can buy me a drink later if you think I’m worthy.”
“Deal.”

That’s literally all that was said between us, but it was instant chemistry and I get my drink and go to the back and wait as he takes my whole life to set up. I was missing Polyenso, but I figured I had to stick around because by flirting with this guy, I partially committed to watching his set. Right before he began, he spotted me and smiled. I smiled back and threw him a peace sign which made him smile even bigger and then point at me. It was a very cute moment. I then remembered that it was Valentine’s Day, and how beautifully suitable it was that this random romance between me and an unsuspecting stranger just manifested.

He began, and he was good. I wasn’t in love with the type of music that he was playing, but he could definitely play guitar and I was enjoying it just fine. There was a problem though, he was drinking Bud Light. After a few songs, I really did have to dip out because my friend’s band was playing on another stage, and I had already missed 15 minutes of that, so I really did need to leave. I bought a shot of Jack Daniels, wrote a little note on a cocktail napkin which read, “Stop drinking Bud Light and have a shot of whiskey.” I put the shot with the note in front of Johnny when he was in the middle of a song and walked out.

I came back about an hour later, and he was smoking a cigarette outside with his friend. We started chatting and the conversation flowed really well. We were laughing a lot and obviously smitten by one another. It was like a scene from a movie. Further into our conversation, he said, “You’re really beautif…..” and trailed out and put his mouth on the fucking Bud Light bottle.

“What was that?” I asked, semi laughing. I knew exactly what he said but I thought it was funny that he was having issues with saying it out loud. He started laughing a little also and said, “I know, I just made that so awkward. After I started saying it I realized that there was no way for me to say it without sounding weird.” I thought that was cute.

He went on stage to do another set, and we had another adorable moment where he looked down at me during one of the songs and smiled. A real, genuine smile. That doesn’t sound like anything, but a musician making eye contact with you while he is on stage is actually a pretty rare occurrence. If you notice, they usually either keep their eyes closed or looking down. Mark my words, you will very rarely see a musician look upon an audience member and blatantly acknowledge them like that. Right then, after he smiled so sweetly at me, I knew that meant that I should go. If I stayed, what would end up happening? We’d exchange numbers, maybe we’d see each other again… maybe we’d have another good time, maybe we’d kiss, and maybe I’d like it, but at the end of it all, there would be an end, so why go through all of the bullshit when what we just experienced was perfect. We had already peaked. I know, it sounds nuts.  I can hear the boy with the white hair in my mind telling me now, “You are fucking crazy.”

So while Johnny was in the middle of a song, I bought him another shot of Jack Daniels, wrote another note on a cocktail napkin and left it on stage for him and walked out. The note read, “Let’s never see each other again because it will never be as perfect. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

Maybe I should have stuck around because after that, the night took an unfortunate turn. The festival is a lot of local acts, so I knew a few of the musicians. One of them, who I will call Hunter, I would only describe as an acquaintance. I had only had one real conversation with him before and it was at a hippie wedding that we both had attended. We vibed really well that day, but we didn’t try to keep in touch or anything. I like his music though, so I catch his set every now and again when I’m in town and I’ll just wave from afar because I don’t usually try to talk to musicians when they’ve played because they’re typically caught in a social whirlwind that I don’t want to add to. However, right before I was about to leave, I saw Hunter talking with other musicians, not fans, so I figured now would be a good time to quickly say hey and have a quick vibe session with him.

He was sucking on a heart-shaped lollipop, so I walked up, and because we know how much I hate small talk, I just took the lollipop from him and started eating it myself. We quickly took the conversation to an inappropriate level that you only get when speaking with musicians… and I speak their language. To my not surprise, we were having a lot of fun just standing around for ten minutes laughing, chatting and drawing pictures of dicks on the cover of his album in sharpie. The headliner band then came on stage so he said, “Let’s go into the middle and get weird.”  How would you take that?

To be continued…
Edition 2 of 2

 

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Holden: Some Songs and a Story

Holden. A fake name for a very real boy. The first time I remember seeing him was at Ace of Spades in Sacramento, California. I must have seen him the day before, because Sacramento was the second date of the tour, but my earliest recollection of Holden is watching him watch, in the dark corner of the black and red venue.

A few days ago I got done with a tour where I met a lot of wonderful people. People who I really didn’t want to say goodbye to, people who made me feel at home on the road and people who truly excited me. There is a lot to be said about last month, but this is not the time for that. While on the roof of some apartment in Los Angeles, I was discussing with one of the guy’s that I have become really good at letting people go, to which he responded, “that’s kind of fucked up.”

Maybe he’s right, but like I discuss in A Temporary Home, it comes with the lifestyle, and it’s necessary otherwise you’ll break your own heart. I’ve learned to recognize when someone is special, and just enjoy the little time that I do have with the person and when that time is up, you let them go. Sometimes though, I meet someone who makes that pretty fucking difficult. I did meet someone like that on this past tour, but like I said, it is not the time to tell that story. However, it did get me thinking about other people I have said goodbye to along the way, so in honor of retrospect, I am going to tell you about Holden, a boy I met on tour in the spring of 2014, and I haven’t seen or spoken to him since.

I’m not sure what my very first thought was when I saw him, but I had a few.

One, he’s drinking alone, which I liked. Well, kind of alone. As alone as you can be when you’re inside of the venue that you’re playing at that night. He would entertain some passing females for a few minutes here and there, and I could tell that he was smooth. I watched him do that thing where you casually place your hand on someone’s arm or side as you lean in to put your ear closer to them in an attempt at conversation in a loud venue. That can be repulsive if a guy does it wrong, but I could tell he had that shit down. Even with his good moves though, he stayed leaning at this bar counter, and continue watching the show by himself and let the girls walk away.

Two, he looked like a douche.

Three, but an incredibly good looking douche. Now that I know him, I think that Holden is one of the most beautiful boys that I’ve ever met, but at first glance, I was sure that I was NOT going to like this guy despite his James Dean appearance. He had a piercing on his face, and just this look that kind of screamed, I’m trying. I was very wrong.

Four, there’s something else though. Something else must have ran through my mind because I still decided to say something to him. Maybe I figured that I was going to be on the road with this dude for four months, so I might as well get the first introductory conversation out of the way. He was not in the band that I was working for, so we were not on the same bus, but his band was the direct support, so we were still going to be traveling together (it was a four band tour package) for many months.

I had been watching this… couple(?) all night. I hesitate to say couple because I’m 90% sure that they were on a second date, or something close to that. I don’t know how to describe what this chick was doing, but it was one of the most embarrassing things that I have ever seen. Basically, she was trying to dance on this guy and be sexy, but just failing at it so hard. It looked like she was attempting to give a lap dance despite the fact that the guy was standing up. She kept trying to jump on him, and then dry hump him I guess…? It was such a catastrophe. I was literally laughing out loud at this brilliant sight, but there was no one else who seemed to be witnessing it.

Like I’ve said many times, I hate small talk, so I figured I’d use this moment to speak to Holden so we could skip the formalities and dive straight into making fun of people together. Holden was about 15 feet away from my merch table, so I motioned to him to come over. The very first thing I said to him was something like, “Have you seen this couple over here?”

Holden: “The dancing chick?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Holden: “Oh I’ve been watching them all night,” he said with a lot of enthusiasm.

I fucking liked him immediately. I was so unprepared for him to have the same sense of humor as me, and to be on the exact same page as I was in that moment that I was kind of taken aback. As much as I hate talking, I am generally pretty good at conversation IF I decide to make an effort, but in those first moments with Holden, I did stumble a bit.

During the course of the tour, we went on to become fairly close. I don’t know that I have ever been so attracted to someone who I didn’t need to kiss. It was weird, I felt like I had a crush on him, but it was a very platonic type of crush. If that can even be a thing. I didn’t want to be with him and didn’t think about holding his hand or kissing him or fucking him or any of those things that you think about when you are into someone. But, he did kind of make me nervous, and I loved being around him. So I don’t know what the fuck to call how I felt about Holden. A “platonic crush” is the only thing I can come up with.

In a way, I think everyone kind of had a crush on him. I even heard the English Hooligan describe him as a “sweetheart” once, which I have never heard him call anyone else before or since. My fondness for him was no secret. I would regularly announce, “I’m in love with Holden,” to everyone (including him a couple of times I think) when I would see him by himself playing an arcade game, or sitting on the ground smoking a cigarette with a strand of hair falling into his face River Phoenix style, and those times when he said, “one second,” and then would walk a few feet away from us, vomit, and then turn right back around and join the circle again laughing, and take another shot of whiskey. Holden turned liquor into his bitch. It was outstanding. With that being said, that boy had some demons.

When you yourself are haunted, I think it’s pretty easy to spot another soul who is drowning in their own poison. On an afternoon in Philly, we ducked into a bar for a couple of beers, and he told me some of his tale which I won’t repeat here because it felt private, but I could feel that part of his past was eating him alive. But my God, he was such a beautiful disaster.

Holden is the type that somehow makes self-destruction look glamorous. I know that is terrible to say, but unfortunately, often times most interesting characters are the ones that are at constant war with themselves. I don’t want to make it sound like he was some depressive basket-case. He was always in a good mood and was always a good time, but I have a sixth sense about these things, and I could just tell that there was a lot going on underneath the surface. I used to love watching Holden on stage. Him and one of the guitar players would always smile at each other, and I’d often see them laughing about something, and it just looked like they were having so much fun. He belongs on stage.

I have this random memory of him, and it’s so seemingly insignificant that I don’t know why it stuck with me. We had a day off, so a few of us took a boat and jet ski out. We were out in the middle of the water and someone would take the jet ski for a few minutes, come back to the boat, and switch riders. EVERY TIME the new rider would drive away, they would unintentionally splash those of us on the boat with the fountain of water that jet skis create out the back. Even though everyone knew that this happened, and despite that they all tried to get far enough away so that the splash wouldn’t hit anyone, it did every time. Except when Holden got on. He was the only one who got the jet ski far enough away so that he didn’t splash anyone before taking off. That might seem minor, but for some reason it stuck with me.

Holden had good taste in music too. One of the very first conversations we had, one of the things that got brought up was the local music scene in the town where he is from. I asked him to make me a recommendation of a local, and he almost immediately said, “John Moreland.” I liked that he answered me so quickly. Often when you ask someone to give you a music recommendation on the spot, they shy away from the question.

So, I listened to John Moreland that night, and I fell in love with him, which made me fall in love with Holden. “Break My Heart Sweetly” is possibly the saddest song I have ever heard, and it seems oddly appropriate that I heard it due to Holden. It’s always sexy when the very first thing that someone tells you to listen to really hits home. It feels like you’ve found a kindred spirit. He went on to consistently give me good music recommendations, which brings me to the conclusion of this vignette. My retrospection of Holden inspired me to make a playlist. So this one is for Holden, the boy who broke my heart sweetly during the spring of 2014, and I’m so fucking glad that he did.

http://8tracks.com/goldenlullaby/raise-your-glass-to-retrospection

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The Adventures of Touring – Special Edition: Noisey Made Me Sound like a Groupie, but I Feel Cool Anyway

This is how much I love VICE… I have the app. I barely understand what phone applications are, so if I have an app, it’s because I really use it. Along with VICE, I have BBC News, the dictionary, USPS, google translate, atVenu and fucking Solitaire. Dorky apps. On the bus during long drives while a lot of the guys are on some game application that gives me a headache just by looking at it over their shoulder, I am the annoying one announcing things like, “the word of the day is solipsistic,” or “VICE found a guy who claims that he only has 100 boners left.”

For those of you who need some VICE in your life, Noisey is basically the music section of the magazine, and I got mentioned in one of the articles. Well…. kind of. Indirectly. Very indirectly. I was misquoted, and made to sound like someone’s one night stand, but you know what, I’ll take it. He was nice enough to keep me nameless, but I am here to take full credit because like we all know, I am perfectly comfortable with exploiting myself.

This particular tour holds a very special place in my heart, so I didn’t think that I’d be able to write about it for a while. I fell in love with this band and crew, and the band and crew of the entire three band tour package. When that happens, it’s sometimes difficult to take a step back and explain it all in a way that the non-touring world will understand. However, due to being mentioned in a Noisey article… I will tell this single tale for now. I’m sure there will be more later.

On the last day of the tour, a Noisey columnist came onto the bus to interview the lead singer of the band that I was working for. They discovered a note that I had taped to the television so that everyone would see it which read, “Hi boys- I lost my jeans somewhere on this bus. Please let me know if you find them amongst all of your stuff. Thanks! -Caitlin”

I suppose to someone who has never lived on a tour bus, that may sound strange. However, when there are twelve people living on one bus, shit gets misplaced. If you’re a good busmate and understand bus etiquette, you only bring the necessities onto the bus and leave your fucking carry-on in the bay (the storage space underneath the bus). Regardless, with twelve people, that still means at least 36 pairs of socks and underwear, 24 shoes, five million chargers and approximately three trailer keys. When you add the consumption of three bottles of liquor, two cases of beer and copious amounts of drugs every night, shit disappears. T-dog, my favorite bus driver, would regularly find my underwear in the bus vents and I have found men’s pj pants in my bunk who belong to boy’s who had definitely never been in my bunk.

My note was interpreted by Noisey in the article as saying something more like, “I left my jeans on the bus last night. Let me know if you find them.” I appreciate the artistic license he took because that makes it sound a lot more rock n’ roll, like a hot little metal chick with last night’s make-up smeared around her eyes wearing sexy fish-nets and I-just-got-laid-hair put the friendly letter up, instead of the boring merch girl.

Before you start thinking that this is going to be a fun mystery thriller which ends full circle with the jeans providing some profound moral to the story… it’s not. It’s just a story that is characterized with a shit load of bums and the jeans really have nothing to do with what went down. Lost pants is just a hilarious representation of the drunken debauchery that took place.

The night before, one of the guys, who I will call the Trojan, and I stayed up until sunrise drinking gallons of vodka while he educated me on Metallica. We sat there and listened to a whole album from beginning to end, which is something I appreciated because so few people do that anymore, and his enthusiasm was kind of a turn on.

The following day was a day off. When we all woke looking like a crew of utter death, the Trojan turned to me, still in his boxers and said, “Caitlin! Are we drinking?” You can’t say no to a Trojan…

Jack Daniels for breakfast in my Niagra Falls mug. It’s going to be a fucked up day.

The guys went to a bar early afternoon, but I had to break from the pack and do something normal to kind of recenter my life for a moment. After multiple days of staying up all night and drinking, you start to lose your sense of time and space. So, I went to a museum, looked at fossils and learned some shit.

Later, we all went to a steakhouse that had at least 500 taxidermy animals on the wall (not exaggerating) and we ate some of their insides. It was delicious. We were rolling 12 people deep, so we needed two van taxi cabs everywhere we went, which was a pain in the ass. I enjoy minimal responsibility, which is why I will never TM, but somehow I became in charge of calling the cabs, so when they didn’t arrive for a while, for some asinine reason, I got held responsible. To fend off the harassment, I started doing a tap dance on the sidewalk to lighten my mood, and when that didn’t work, I resorted to throwing a can of soda into the street. Rebel.

While waiting outside of the restaurant for my whole life, a happy bum approached us and OF COURSE, the Trojan started chatting him up while most of us attempted to not make eye contact. In the Trojan’s defense, I think he was the only one who was drunk. The exchange between a black metal Trojan and a skinny homeless man who looked like he could have been Sammy Davis Jr. became such a spectacle, that it was like watching a theatrical improv show on crack. At one point, the Trojan and the bum started dancing together on the sidewalk. At another point, the bum said something to me, to which I responded in perfect English, “I don’t speak English.”

Later, the bum said something about Jesus, to which the Trojan said, “I deep throat Jesus everyday, that little bitch.” At least we know how to keep things controversial.

We were in Denver, and if you have never been to Denver, it’s essentially where people go to do nothing. In other words, weed is legal there, so that’s where all of the hardcore stoners migrate. I can only tolerate so much Grateful Dead. Speaking of the Grateful Dead, I saw this on the wall of the bar that we ended up going to, and I couldn’t believe the perfection.

IMG_1543

That is possibly the most god awful published photograph that has ever existed. The guys in the back… holy fuck.

The boys were playing pool, and I was drinking my weight in whiskey while people watching and deciding that the girl who was dancing with the teal fringed mid-drift had escaped from a Mormon family and was currently experimenting in lesbianism. I often play that game where you look at a stranger and make up a full back-story for them. It can be a fun bar game.

After losing numerous pool matches to a guy wearing cargo shorts and a fishing cap, the Trojan was over it and we decided to head back to the bus and just… see what happened. And oh, shit happened.

We crossed paths with a girl at a bus stop. She asked us for money, providing some story about how she needed to get to the next town over because of her dying mother. I could be completely off, but it was something absurd like that. She was good, so if you have never lived in a city, you might have believed her, but because I know that anyone panhandling is fucking lying, I knew better. Still, we spoke with her for a moment, encouraged her and I gave her my knife that I keep in my shoe (because she was whining about not feeling safe) and we went on our way. Regardless of our awareness that this girl was completely full of shit, after denying her and walking five meters, the Trojan and I turned and looked at each other and both said simultaneously, “I like her.” Damnit.

It felt like the idiotic thing to do, so naturally, we went back. We’re so vain; we liked her because she was pretty and articulate and just not your average beggar. At all. She did not look like she was on the streets. Put her in some heels and a skin-tight dress, and she could have gotten by as a high class escort. Come to think of it, I should have suggested that to her. Anyway, we went back and told her that we can’t help her with her child who has been kidnapped (or whatever the story was that kept changing), but we can buy her a drink. So the three of us went into the place that was immediately next to us, which of course ended up being a gay bar. Long story short, she’s out of her god damn mind, and kept trying to hit on flamboyant gay men and complaining that the bar didn’t have olives in the cocktail tray that she was using like a buffet counter. The Trojan and I thrive on this type of awkwardness, so we were eating this girl up. This got us all kicked out however.

At the time, it seemed ridiculous that we were being expelled from the place, because I have seen much much much more obnoxious behavior at a bar, but I got the feeling that she is probably a regular there and she is probably not welcomed at the establishment anymore for past reasons. We said our goodbyes, she cried because she’s mental, and the Trojan and I went on our way.

About 100 paces later, we run into Michael Mud. Another bum panhandling, and despite the Trojan claiming to hate people, he is incredibly friendly. I like people (…in the grand scheme of things… unless you chew with your mouth open), and the Trojan and I were kind of partners in crime during this tour, but had he not been there, none of the events of the night would have taken place. So due to his nature, we of course start chatting it up with the three toothed beggar who we would later learn to be, Michael Mud.

The Trojan and Michael got deep. They were having a serious moment and I know my place, so I kind of stepped back and just observed this take place. They were bonding on a musicians’ level. Michael had an acoustic guitar on his back, so we asked him to play something. He kept declining because the guitar only had three strings, and I think he felt embarrassed playing in front of the Trojan, who is a guitarist. The Trojan almost literally kicked Michael Mud in the ass, demanding him to play and like I said… you can’t say no to a Trojan.

So Michael started playing, and it was really something. I wish I could remember details. Damn alcohol. But I can remember the feeling, and it just had so much heart. I could have sat there at that dirty bench all night listening to him play. He kind of started playing the blues. True blues. When you strum some minor chords and fill in measures with improved, lyricals of misery. We learned a lot about his outlook on life in about thirty seconds because of a song sang on the side of the street at 1:30am with a $30 acoustic guitar that was missing half of its’ strings.

Some more words were exchanged, and later Michael Mud started giving us his sob story. Something I really like about the Trojan is that he doesn’t give a fuck. He does and says what he wants and he doesn’t have sympathy for people because he can see that we are all the same. When Michael Mud responded to something that he said with, “well that’s easy to say when you’re in a successful band….”

This sparked a fire in the Trojan. To which, I don’t blame him. He has worked fucking hard to get to where he is and he still has to work bullshit jobs that he doesn’t like in order to maintain his status. So what I remember the Trojan saying back was basically, “Fuck that. Life is shit for all of us. The world is a cunt, but you have this guitar, so just keep doing what you want to do with it.” Michael Mud started to tear up a little bit, and that’s when I knew we had made a slight difference. Even if it was just in that night. And he made a slight mark in our path too. I’ll never forget that man, or watching him and the Trojan smash each others hearts with cold iron stakes.

We told him to come to the show the next day and we’d put him on the list. He didn’t have a phone or anything to take down information with, so I wrote the address of the venue in sharpie on his guitar, and also my phone number in case he had any trouble. We both walked away knowing that there was a slim chance that this man on the streets would actually arrive. Despite this, the next day I arranged to have Michael Mud on the list. To my surprise, he called me the following morning. He basically wanted to make sure that we weren’t just being drunk retards last night, and that we still wanted him to come. Of course! I was so happy!

He never showed though. I still wonder what happened.

Somewhere in Denver there is a really special bum named Michael Mud, with the address to Summit Music Hall written in sharpie on his now, six string guitar. The Trojan gave him some of his guitar strings before we parted ways so that he would have a complete instrument. I gave up my sick knife to the first beggar, and the Trojan gave up his guitar strings to the second. In a weird way, that’s everything we had to offer.

The Trojan and I made our way back to the bus, and who the hell knows what happened after that. But somewhere between the walk back and the truck stop the next morning, I lost my jeans. I have no idea how because I was wearing them! That’s it. That’s the story of how I came to be indirectly mentioned in a Noisey article. I never found those damn jeans. I’m sure that they just ended up on the floor of the bus, tossed out of my bunk, and then haphazardly shoved into another bunk but… whatever. I’ll trade a pair of Levi’s for a night like that any time.

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Love, Drugs and Infidelity – Chapter 1 of 3

This is a story about a time, a place and a boy.  It’s not a special story, but it’s special to me, and it’s time to tell the tale.

The time was college, eight years ago.  The place was Savannah, Georgia and the boy is Chewonki.  His name is not actually Chewonki, but within the first week of knowing him, he made the mistake of singing his camp song in front of me so the nickname stuck.  The fact that I was attending a college where 99% of the students came from those families that sent their kids away to camp every summer was my first clue that I was displaced.  The fact that his family sent him to a place called fucking Camp Chewonki where they literally sang songs around a campfire (I thought that was just in the movies), it’s no wonder he had emotional problems.  At least his problems could be professionally diagnosed and medicated.  My self diagnosis is simply that I suffer from asshole syndrome, to which the only medication is alcohol; a self-medication used to forget that you’re an asshole.

The first time I met Chewonki I did not like him.  I can’t remember why exactly, and I just called him this second to ask him if he remembers, and this was the conversation:

“Hello?”

“Hey, are you busy?”  I asked.

“No.  I just got out of some stupid meeting.”

“Sorry that I’m chewing really loud.”

“It’s okay.  Whatever it is, it sounds delicious.”

“It is.  It’s beef jerky, so you know… it requires work to eat it.”

He laughed, “I did notice that your jaw looked strong the last time I saw you.”

“Thanks!  Anyway, do you remember why I didn’t like you when we first met?”

“You judged the cover, asshole.”

“No, I feel like it was because you acted like a Republican,”

“Penny, (this is my nickname, and what most of my college friends call me) I am the most liberal person you know.”  EVERYONE at art school is liberal so he got me there…

“Then maybe it was because you had terrible taste in music.”  Silence.  “So yeah… I guess you’re right.  I did judge the cover.”

“You looked at me and saw a Jersey douche.  But then we went to that party and bonded and you liked me after that.”

“Yeah, I do remember that I liked you at least a little bit at some point in my life.”

Laughing, “I don’t remember that part, but hopefully you still do at least a little.”

“All right, that’s all.  Bye!”

“Bye.  Love you.”

Back to 2006, rewinding over the arrests, drug deals and first time I love you’s that will come later in the story.  At this party (which he referred to in the above), I somehow found myself deep in conversation with Chewonki, the only guy there who I was not attracted to.  Three arguments and maybe two hours later and we were kissing.  Three hang out sessions and maybe two days after that, and we were infatuated with one another.  Him and I in deep conversation at a social gathering was something that I remember to be a pretty consistent occurrence.  It was college, so there were a lot of parties.  It was art school, so there were a lot of interesting people.  Chewonki and I would frequent these events, and though I have the memory of a fucking gold fish, I vaguely remember us more often than not,  ignoring all the new exciting people, and just ending up on the couch together, talking.

The beginning of us took place at a time when I thought I was hardcore because I drank Jack Daniels.  I was nineteen, so I was probably drinking a half of an ounce of Jack for every twelve ounces of coke, but regardless, I became abhorrently drunk one night after Chewonki and I had just started seeing one another.  I was sick in the bathroom, and Marie, my good college friend and roommate called Chewonki.  Now that we’re older of course, if a friend becomes sick due to intoxication, we stay seated and just point to the direction of the bathroom and maybe check in a half hour later to make sure she didn’t drown in the toilet.  But at nineteen, when a friend was puking, there was a whole goddamn rescue squad and procedures that took place.  I was not thrilled on the idea of Chewonki seeing me this way, but I was too drunk to object.  I was on the floor of a friend’s dorm bathroom, that had a random chair in it that read in chalk, “To whom that may concern, I would like to inform you that I just took the biggest dump of my life, and there is no toilet paper.”  After a minute of Chewonki sitting on the floor of this bathroom that should have been condemned, I think I did manage to ask him to give me a minute so that I could vomit in privacy.

To kill the time, he must have picked up a magazine or something, because when he came back in, the first thing he said was not, “are you ok?” or “you doin’ all right?” or any of those conventional phrases.  He said, “So I just learned that Clearwater is the Scientology headquarter of the world.”  Clearwater is where I’m from.  In some small way, I think that might have been the moment that I fell in love with him, though I didn’t recognize it for that at the time.  But what more could I ask for?  A guy who holds your hair back while you’re puking, and manages to have a good sense of humor while doing it.

We went on to have some great times and some hard times too, of course.  I take responsibility for most of the hard, but with that being said, he is a little bit out of his mind.  To be serious, it was sometimes difficult because he had emotional problems that I didn’t understand.  Unstable would be an appropriate word.  Chewonki was unstable.  So we had our fights, and our fair share of “down” times during our rollercoaster of a relationship, but he was always so kind to me despite his insanity and my bitchiness.

Our up times were great.  They were nothing elaborate or lavish, just two college kids laughing and talking.  For example, Chewonki is 6’5″ and I’m 5’3″.  This didn’t really bother me, (though kissing occasionally presented itself to be problematic) but it bothered him.  While walking together, he’d push me away and say, “don’t walk next to me, it’s embarrassing.”  Of course I took full advantage of him being uncomfortable with the height difference, and would get super close to him and purposely call attention us.  He called me a midget, and Flinestone feet.   He was such a character.  He used to wear friggen sweat-bands around his head with his hair sticking a good four inches straight up in all directions, and walk around like that all day.  And he’d also take his shirt off and spray himself with tanning oil if we were going to be outside for more than three and a half minutes.  Granted, he did these things to make me laugh, but he was also at least 55% serious about them.  That’s what I liked about Chewonki; he was goofy, but he knew when to be serious and we could laugh, as well as have meaningful conversations.  And the way he looked at me… I remember that it sometimes quite literally took my breath away.  I could feel that he cared about me.  With others, I could hear it, I could hear them say it, but with Chewonki, I could feel it.

I get antsy if I’m cooped up inside for more than a couple of hours.  I am perfectly comfortable with admitting that I can absolutely be annoying when I’m antsy.  Chewonki would never act annoyed though, so this is another fond memory I have of him.  He would always humor me, stop whatever important task he was in the middle of, and go with me outside (though I’m sure he didn’t want to) and shoot hoops for fifteen minutes or however long it took for me to get the antsiness out of my system, before returning to his homework or whatever it is that he was doing pre Penny neediness.  So nice.  And he defended me.  In my opinion, that’s the most powerful way to express love.  You know you love someone when you can wholeheartedly defend them to anyone.  I was not there, but some night that he was at a party, this girl, who he was good friends with, called me some stupid name, and Chewonki slapped her drink out of her hand and yelled at her, which apparently led to this girl crying.  I got wind of it the next day and asked him about it.  I remember I said thank you to him as I was leaving and then he pulled me back, grabbed my face, looked me dead in the eye and said, “No, you don’t ever have to thank me.  I will always defend you, okay?  Always,” then he kissed me.  That is probably at the top of the most romantic moments of my life.

Here is where my syndrome starts to become relevant, so stay tuned for the next chapter of this story…

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