Tag Archives: touring

Is Your Name Yo-Yo-Mama?

I decided that I want to date a rapper.  Preferably by the name, Yo-Yo-Mama, but I won’t get into how I came up with that.  It involved me, my Nana and my Aunt while watching a soap opera from the ’70s, so I won’t bore you with more details.  I’ll settle for a rapper that goes by another name, but I think I’m going to stay away from any whose stage name starts with “‘Lil.”  I just know that I could never successfully sleep with anyone who is serious about going by a name that starts with ‘Lil.  (I’m sorry ‘Lil Wayne, you’re awesome, but I could never sleep with you.)  Even if this imaginary rapper that I am not going to sleep with is really good in bed, I know I would inevitably start laughing out loud right when the thought that I am currently sleeping with someone who has the fake word of “‘lil” involved with his identity crosses my mind.  This thought would probably cross my mind every few seconds because I am convinced that my brain has a forever diabolical plan to sabotage me.  Anyway, I’ve dated enough fucking guitar players, and I’ve had my fair share of drummers and bass players and lead singers, so I think it’s time to test out a rapper.  It’s possible that this is the worst idea I’ve ever had because lead singers often have this severe condition called Lead Singer Syndrome.

Lead Singer Syndrome- A serious social affliction with an unknown origin.  Theories suggest that it could be a birth defect, and a symptom of such is becoming the lead singer of a band.  However, the most widely accepted theory is that after becoming a lead singer, the subject develops feelings of self-obsession and superiority and has a tendency to burn bridges (metaphorically speaking).  The lasting effect is that everyone secretly hates him/her.

Before I piss off too many of my friends, I would like to make a very important note which is, not all lead singer’s are plagued with this syndrome.  But it’s a solid majority.

Not that I know any rappers, but I am taking an educated guess that they may have the worst cases of the syndrome.  I suppose if I am being realistic, Eminem falls under the category of rappers that I do not know, though sometimes I like to imagine that he is my boyfriend and we know each others minds and bodies well.  He is a great kisser.  Well, I’ve made the executive decision that he is a great kisser.  Maybe that’s the difference between stalkers and everyone else.  I like to pretend that Eminem is my boyfriend and that he is a great kisser, but I understand that he is not actually my boyfriend and that I know nothing of his kissing capabilities.  I don’t think that the people who turn into true stalkers can make that distinction.  So if you’re reading this Eminem, don’t worry, I’m not going to show up at your house wearing a fancy dress with mascara running down my face and holding a gun, declaring that you forgot to meet me at our spot for our anniversary so now we both have to die.  The craziest thing I’ll do if we ever happen to meet is, I will totally ask you out on a date.

Sorry, I got on the topic of Eminem because I was in the midst of saying that it’s very possible that rappers have severe self-obsession characteristics, but I wanted to make it clear that in Caitlin World, Eminem does not fall under that umbrella of possibility.

The only rap show I had ever been to was a Tyler the Creator show sometime last year.  Or maybe it has been two years… after you turn 25, years are fairly meaningless.  I don’t know how the fuck I ended up at a Tyler the Creator show, considering that the only reason I had ever heard that name before was because when I was living in Los Angeles, my sister came to visit and she saw him at Amoeba Records and peed her pants over it.  Fat Face was going to the show with his hipster roommates, so I guess he just asked me if I wanted to join and I said yes because I had never been to a rap show and I generally say yes to any of his suggestions.  Unless it involves turkey, which in Fat Face world, seems to be a frequent occurrence.  If he mentions turkey, then I shamelessly say, fuck no.  Turkey meat smells and tastes the most like something dead. Anyway, the Tyler show was great.

My second experience with a rap show was very recently.  I started working at one of the local music venues while I’m home.  I just go in on days that they have a show and help with loading or merch or stagehand stuff or whatever they need.  One of the shows was Mike Stud.  I had never heard of him before.  He’s some white kid that played baseball in college and the only reason that I know that is because I googled him twice because I kept forgetting what his damn name is and I needed to make a spreadsheet with his name on it as well as the opening and supporting acts.  I actually just googled him again, because I forgot his name again.  So Mike Stud, if you’re reading this, you need a new stage name because clearly, yours is forgettable.  With that being said, you kind of won me over with your ridiculous show and though I would rather go on a date with Eminem, I wouldn’t mind making-out with you as a plan B option.

At first, I thought that the show was a fucking joke.  I got a sort of behind the scenes look at it, and after witnessing the sound check, texted 0069 (my good touring friend who does front of house audio) telling him, “You need to get a FOH gig on a rap tour.  I have never seen such an easy/simple soundcheck.”  He texted me back saying, “Been there.  They don’t like white guys.”  Fair enough.

Mike Stud had his whole crew on stage which was essentially just his friends, and they were all just doing the typical arm movements that white guys do when rapping or listening to rap, which to me, just looks like slow motion karate chops.  They were trying to go for a house party feel, and I thought it was lame.  I was literally laughing out loud, in the corner of the venue with my backpack on and boots and a “Brand New” t-shirt, while every other girl was 17 years old and wearing mid-drifts and those shorts that go up to your belly button.  They had a case of Bud Light on stage, and a bottle of some flavored vodka and they all kept chugging.  He had a boy band look and feel and I thought the whole thing was incredibly gimmicky and Lead Singer Syndrome-ish.  So if you’re a rapper, giving your friends stupid job titles so that they can come on tour with you is a real thing.  I thought that was an urban legend.  For example, the merch guy was never actually at the merch table.  He was busy being on stage and doing the slow motion karate chops while simultaneously texting and drinking Bud Light along with the rest of the “crew.”

Over the next hour I laughed at how some of the rappers kept kidnapping peoples phones so that they could film themselves rapping, and then give the phone back (an act that would never occur during a rock show). I chuckled by myself at how the “bodyguard” pretended to be relevant and kept coming on stage when someone reached out for a high five. It all seemed very unprofessional when compared to what I am used to.  But then, after a while of being a judgmental jerk, I checked myself and realized… I’m obviously being entertained! I stood here watching this when I could have just left and came back after the performance. So that means that it was a successful show.

Then I found myself fantasizing about making-out with Mike Stud.  There was something about him.  That’s common though in lead singers or rappers or front-men or whatever.  They are generally charismatic because… well, that’s how you become a lead singer!  You have to have that spark that gets people to want to watch you on stage.  That’s what also makes them the most dangerous.

The show that I thought I couldn’t relate to at all, forced me to remember that it’s the energy that we all have in common.  No matter what kind of music you like, if you appreciate the energy that live music provides, then you can find something to enjoy about any genre of live music.  Just don’t be all judgy about it the way I was at first.  Within Mike Stud’s peformance, I went from wanting to slap him, to wanting to kiss him.  His music is still terrible, but whatever, the show was fun.  Kissing him was very conceivable.  All I had to do was go out back after I was done with my duties and turn up my flirt notch.  I was tired though, and settled on the idea that I will find a rapper to make-out with when I am not exhausted.

So, if you’re a rapper that miraculously doesn’t have Lead Singer Syndrome, then call me!  My number is 727-686-4819.  I am a good muse, I like gin and juice, I am not offended by the word bitch and I’ll practice looking cool while doing the karate chop arm movement thing.

… And I swear on my sister’s life that as I am writing this, this cute black guy with dreadlocks is rapping after he just put down his acoustic guitar.  Bye!  Got to go flirt.

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2015 was Epic – Part 2

As stated in Part 1, my 2015 resolution had been to visit another country.  I had gone to Australia in June, and by September I was packing up a backpack with Fat Face and my sister as the three of us argued over who was going to carry the fat Lonely Planet travel book in their bag.

Raven and I had been talking about traveling somewhere together for a while, but it never seemed realistic because we are always broke.  This year was different though, so I basically made the executive decision that if we were going to travel somewhere together we had to do it NOW.  It was the first time that we both happened to have a little bit of money (well, I had a little bit of money and my Dad likes my sister more than me so he gave her a little bit of money), and we both had nothing tying us down.  I knew I had to take advantage of this timing.  Who knows, in another year or whatever, she may be in school or have a job that she can’t take time away from or get pregnant or anything!  Knock on wood.  So, we started googling “cheap and safe countries.”  Well, I started googling.  Raven sat on the couch and watched Lifetime movies.

A bunch of Eastern Europe destinations kept popping up.  I’ve always wanted to go to Istanbul, and I also kept hearing how amazing Budapest is, so we figured we’d do those two cities plus a few in between.  The trip went:

Budapest, Hungary > Sibiu, Romania > Bucharest, Romania > Sofia, Bulgaria > Istanbul, Turkey.

I wanted to go to the obscure countries that most people don’t visit when traveling to Europe.  The next most important decision was who to bring.  Fat Face was our first choice.  We wanted a guy, mostly for safety purposes.  Not that Fat Face could provide any protection whatsoever, so it was more about the facade.  Also, he and Raven know each other well and get along, but most importantly, Fat Face is not too annoying.  He absolutely does the most annoying things sometimes (like telling me he will be over in 15 minutes and then shows up an hour and a half later, strolling in like everything is just dandy), but he doesn’t have the annoying type of characteristics that one may be concerned about with a travel partner.  For example, he doesn’t snore, he doesn’t eat gross, he’s not stubborn and he doesn’t fidget his legs or anything like that.  Also, he’s a pretty go-with-the-flow kind of guy.  However, his mustache was immediately annoying and that was the very first thing that Raven and I took care of.

Fat Face has a beard (kind of) and he had let his mustache grow into his mouth.  It was fucking gross.  He kept licking the ends of it, so the hairs were always moist and for some reason he thought that this was acceptable.  Um no.  Raven and I got on the plane and informed him that the very first thing we are doing once we arrive at the first hostel, is trimming that thing.  He tried to fight us on it at first, but quickly realized there was absolutely no way he was going to win that battle, so he conceded.  I would have chopped that thing off in his sleep otherwise.

I just got worked up over his mustache again and lost my original train of thought.  Getting back to asking Fat Face to come with us, he said he wasn’t sure at first, which I kind of took as a no.  A couple of weeks later I got a text from him out of nowhere that simply said, “I’m coming with you guys.”  It made me smile.

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Yes, he is purposely being cheesy.

On the long plane ride, an older woman next to us thought that it was acceptable to lay down in the middle of the aisle.  She took her entire body, and laid it onto the floor of the center aisle.  Yes, the MAIN aisle.  The one that the drink carts go down.  Amazing.  It would be a solid five minutes before a flight attendant would come and inform the little old woman that it was probably one of the weirdest things that she has ever witnessed.

I loved Budapest immediately when the taxi driver pulled all the way up onto the sidewalk to drop us off at our hostel.  It was also the most beautiful city I have ever seen.  This wasn’t necessarily because of the natural landscape, it was because of the city landscape; the architecture.  Every single structure you pass is so pretty that you have to stop and marvel.  It was a good warm-up city too, because we were most in our element there.  It’s the most “Westernized” of all the places we visited.  It kind of felt like being in New York, but replace broadway with opera, English with Hungarian, pizza with kebabs and add thousands of more years of history and beauty.  Oh, and there are no fat people.  No fatties anywhere in Eastern Europe for that matter.  Well, Bucharest, Romania had some stocky middle-aged folks… but there was probably only eleven of them in the whole city and I’ll get to that later.

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Parliament building.

One of the great things about being in Second World countries, is that there are not as many bullshit rules and regulations.  You can drink outside, which is very convenient.  I doubt that it’s been “legalized,” it’s probably  just not illegal because their legislation doesn’t have a stick up their ass like the American legislative branch. We spent a lot of time on bicycles that we rented, and cruised from park to park, grabbing a beer and sitting in the grass enjoying the simple life.  People do that there still… go to parks and socialize.  The parks were packed with young people just sitting around and talking to one another.

One of the parks.

One of the parks.

There was a big palace thing that we were able to explore because like I said, they don’t bother with stupid regulations.  I’m not sure what this “palace” was exactly, or if it was still functional.  I suppose if I wanted to, I could fairly easily find out, but I’ll save that for a time when I’m feeling intellectually inspired.  Right now, I’m just drinking orange juice and picking at my toes, wondering why I was cursed with having Flintstone feet.  Anyway, we could easily walk into what were caverns I suppose, and we followed them down and around until we were in the pitch black, below ground and feeling like medieval prisoners.  It was very cool.  That kind of thing would be roped off if American’s had anything to do with it, so we got a nice jolt of adrenaline from the exploration.

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We found a restaurant that we considered ourselves regulars of because we went twice.  They had a drink called Tokyo Sex which Raven became obsessed with and Fat Face kept saying obnoxiously loud like a toddler.  “Lets get us some Tokyo Sex!  Whoo!  Can I get a fuck yeah?!”  This is real sentences that come from his mouth.

Face Face, Raven and Tokyo Sex.

Face Face, Raven and Tokyo Sex.

It was actually pretty funny and turned into an inside joke for the rest of the trip.  One could easily spend two weeks in that city, so there was a lot that we didn’t get to do and see.  Fat Face kept talking about this damn shoe monument.  I mean, I should at least pretend to feel compelled to pay my respects to the Hungarians who were murdered by the Nazi’s, (which is what this monument is commemorating) but it was just a couple dozen of pairs of bronze cast shoes by the river and I am a desensitized asshole like most of us, and I much rather wanted to go to a medical museum and look at what they used for abortion tools back in the day.  It was pretty gruesome.

Old school abortion tools.

Old school abortion tools.

Luckily, the three of us got into a fight the following day, so we split up and Fat Face was able to go see his fucking shoe monument that he kept talking up.  Raven went back to the hostel to use wifi for hours and I almost got molested by a creepy old man at a citadel.  We were secluded, he was clearly mentally ill, and out of the corner of my eye I saw his slack jaw with his tongue hanging out of his mouth, then him pulling out his penis, obviously expecting me to do something with it.  Gross.  I literally ran away.  When we all decided to love each other again, I asked Fat Face how the shoe monument was, and he said, “It was just a bunch of shoes… but it was nice.”  He should learn to always listen to me.

I stole this picture from Fat Face's Facebook photos. These are the damn shoes.

I stole this picture from Fat Face’s Facebook photos. These are the damn shoes.

The Turkish baths were incredible.  They are essentially big indoor natural hot pools.  The water comes from deep below the surface.  We floated around in those for a while and befriended a Canadian opera singer who was on tour.  I think right around this time is when Raven decided that when she grows up, she wants to be Princess Jasmine.  She was just chillin’ in the water, ignoring Fat Face and I as she fantasized about this bath house being her backyard, and cute servant boys bringing her Tokyo Sex’s on silver platters.  There were saunas as well, but they were quite literally only four feet wide.  Fat Face and I went inside one, squeezed in next to one another, then just said, “okay, that was fun,” and walked out after eight seconds.

Another merch person I know is Hungarian and lives in Budapest.  I gave him a shout and after bringing us to a rocker bar that had people thrashing around so hard that I thought they were going to break their own necks, he took us to a castle up on this mountain top right in the city.  As we walked around the outside of this incredible old castle that made you feel like you may look over your shoulder and see Lady Guinevere, Raven was becoming honest to god depressed because she is not Princess Jasmine.   Or Lady Guinevere.  I get honest to god depressed when I watch Dawson’s Creek and have to come to terms with the fact that Pacey Witter is not a real person that I can fall in love with.  However, I still try to will into existence that Joshua Jackson (the actor his plays the role) might magically be exactly like Pacey and somehow I’ll run into him and be with him forever.  In the same way, Raven was dealing with the fact that she will never be Princess Jasmine, while she was simultaneously trying to figure out a way that she might be able to will that into existence.  She just wants to be able to wear elegant flowing gowns, stroll through glorious towers and cobblestone paths while sipping on mimosas and looking pretty all day and night.  The lead singer of one of the bands that I have worked for actually lives in part of that motherfucking castle we were at, so when Raven heard that, she was prepared to partake in a blind marriage.

At night, we hit up a couple of “ruins bars.”  They were by far the coolest bars I’ve ever been to, but bar isn’t really the right word.  They’re more like… old abandoned buildings that are considered in ruins, and people have just gone in there and started selling alcohol and playing music and hanging out.  Like I said, minimal regulations.  There were a bunch of different rooms, but the center is all open air.  An open aired courtyard surrounded by four walls with rooms.  Each area had its own thing going on.  One area was more like a club.  It had a DJ and lame lights and all that nonsense.  The three of us were nice and tipsy at this point, so we thought it would be a good idea to dance.  Raven actually looks cool dancing, so I just try to imitate her, and then Fat Face thinks he is Michael Jackson when he is drunk, so he was off trying to impress the Hungarians with his dance moves, but ended up falling on his ass instead.  It was beautiful.  We laughed a lot that night.  Another area was a hookah lounge, then there were the bar areas of course.  There was also an area that had a live band playing weird experimental music and there was an area with people making food and then my favorite part… just a bunch of interesting art all over the walls.

The entrance to one of the ruins bars.

The entrance to one of the ruins bars.

 

Raven and I inside the bar laughing at who knows what.

Raven and I inside the bar laughing at who knows what.

The day that we were meant to leave by train to head to Romania, was the day that thousands of Syrians poured into the Budapest train stations…

To be continued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Merch Girl Rant #2

I thought I was going to start this entry by bitching about the absolutely mind boggling stupidity of the merch customers that I deal with every night.  However, I had the unpleasant experience of being back at Warehouse Live in Houston, Texas this week.  I hate that fucking venue.  I have unfortunately been there before, which is not uncommon in the touring world.  You end up frequenting a lot of the same venues across the country.  I swear that I must go to the Agora Theatre in Cleveland every time I’m on tour.  At least it’s a good venue.  The only good thing about Cleveland, by the way.

Many of the venues that I go to are pretty divey and rough to say the least.  They do their best with what they’ve got though, and for the most part, try to make you as comfortable as possible.  And I love dives!  I live in shitty dive bars and venues and I feel right at home.  Needless to say, I am not high maintenance at all when it comes to venues.  I usually spend my time sitting on the floor counting shirts anyway.  I don’t get irritated when there is not a shower, I don’t get mad when there are stairs for a load-in and I couldn’t care less about catering or the rider.  I only care about common courtesy.  When a band is coming to play at your establishment, at least have the respect to remove old moldy hair from the shower drain, and spend the $10 to purchase a new shower curtain once it becomes ridden with enough mold to give me a fungus infection.  Today’s venue had that, plus the most disgusting couches I think I have ever seen in the greenroom.  The carpet had those black gum stains that have been there for at least twenty years, and the smell… it smelled like the holocaust inside.  What are we supposed to do with that?

The merch area had to-go containers of left-over food in it and other random pieces of garbage.  The local crew was a joke.  It was the slowest load-out we’ve ever had on this tour, and the man settling merch with me had a massive attitude, to which I of course, put into check.  Usually, the venue takes a cut of the merch sales.  It’s ridiculous, but it happens.  20% of the cloth sales (meaning they don’t take on media/CD sales) is typical.  I think that’s bullshit.  I can understand 10%, just because they’re providing you with a place to sell, but that’s all they provide.  Usually they don’t help with merch at all, and the person who is settling with you shows up at the very end saying, “you’ll be settling with me and the cut is 80/20.”  Oh, hello.  Where have you been all night?  It would have been nice to know of your existance when I needed change or when I had to pee and there was no one around to keep an eye on the table.

I told one of the house managers at the venue how I felt.  I was so irritated by the end of the night and basically told him that they need to take a little pride in their establishment and have some respect for the people who are coming to put on an event that day.  I said that it’s just plain rude to make us work in an environment like this.  I don’t think he gave a shit, because I’m just the merch girl, but at least I felt a little bit better for getting it off my chest.

Now, onto the fun part of the rant.  The customers.  How is it that you’re a grown man and you do not know your shirt size?  A regular fucking t-shirt, when I ask what size, how is it possible that you look at me dumbfounded?  Like that question has never entered your mind at any point in your life.  Then!  I tell them their size, because I can tell by looking, and they proceed to say, “No… let me see an extra large.”  I get them the XL and then they hold it up, say it’s too big, and THEN agree with my assessment that they are a large.  Thank you for wasting my time, now go away.  Always trust your merch girl.  The boy with the white hair said that I should make stickers with that slogan.

On this run, I have a lot of different shirt designs, so they are all labeled with little signs I have made.  For example, one shirt is labeled “Mosh $25” another says “Green $25.”  I swear to God that I only get maybe two customers a night who actually read the fucking signs and call the shirt by the appropriate name.  Everyone else says, “can I have that shirt?”  And they barely point, it’s mostly an ambiguous hand motion.

“Which one?”  I ask.  Then they point a little bit better, but they are still quite a distance from the display, and there are ten shirts all lined up side by side, so it’s hard to tell which one they are pointing at, which is why I take the god damn time to label them!  “The one that says mosh on it?” I ask.

“Yeah, yeah.”

“What size?”  Blank stare.  Jesus Christ.

Right before doors open, the merch boy who works for the other band on the tour looks at me, takes a deep breath and says, “ready for four hours of stupid questions?”  He is so right.  It is truly unbelievable the stuff we hear.  If I could set up a camera in the merch booth, that shit would go viral.  We sometimes  get the fanboys who treat the shirts like they are the actual band members.

“Oh man!  Look at that one!  That is so sick dude!”  And they high five each other and then notice the hats  I have on the table, “Oh shit!  Look at the hats!  You got to get one man, that is so cool.”  Then they fucking high five again.  Once I am able to snap them out of being star struck over t-shirts, and am able to actually get them to make some decisions so I can get through this line that has been steadily increasing during the ten minutes that they have diddle daddled around like little girls at a prom dress shop, then they continue to stare at the shirts, even though they have already made their purchase and even though they have already spent ten minutes staring at ten of the same shirts.  You would think that the shirts have LED screens in them with a sports game playing.  It’s unbelievable.  Then I tell them to get the fuck out of the way so I can do my job.  I don’t say that, but I wish I could.  I’m only pretend nice for the sake of the bands I work for and I try to be professional.  So the assholes move over five feet, and then AGAIN hold up their shirts that they just bought, and giggle.  They look at the tour dates on the back, find the date for that particular night, point at it and say to one another, “there it is, man!”  Then they high five again, and if I’m lucky, then they’re out of my life forever.  Usually not though, usually these types find their way up to the merch booth a couple of more times a night.  It’s absurd.

Then I get the guys who continually ask me the same fucking question multiple times a night.  “Can I get that shirt in a large?”

“Sorry, we are out of that one in large.  I have medium or XL, or I’ve got large in the other designs.”

“You don’t have that shirt in large?” they say again.

“No, sorry, man.”

“Are you sure?”  They’ll ask as they look over the table, where all of the shirts are stocked.  Why the fuck would I lie to you about that?  It is not in my best interest in any way to not give you a shirt you damn moron.  “You got any in the back?”  Um… this isn’t Macy’s.

“No, there’s none in the trailer.”  Then they come back ten minutes later asking if I got any more shirts.  Yeah man, I got a fucking UPS delivery between now and when you asked me ten minutes ago.  Then, they will come back at the end of the night, thinking that I won’t remember them, and casually say, “Can I get that shirt in large?”  They think I’m purposely witholding from them or something.  What I want to say is, “I still don’t have that mother fucking t-shirt in a god damn large you annoying asshole!  Trust me, if I did, I would have happily given it to you with haste, so that I never have to talk to you ever again.”

Another absolutely amazing question I get all of the time is, “Which shirt has the tour dates on them?”  I never really know how to respond to that question because my display displays all of the backs of the shirts, and I currently have about six shirts with tour dates on the back.  So over half of my display is a sea of tour dates.  First, I honestly look into their eyes to make sure that they’re not blind and that I’m not about to be semi condescending to a disabled person.  When I deduce that they are not in fact blind, which they never are, I just kind of wave my arm across the entire display and say, “all of the ones that you see with tour dates on them, have the tour dates on them.”  I mean honestly, how in the hell else am I suppose to answer that question?!

Now let’s move on to the girl shirts.  The girly shirt is labeled “Girly” and it is clearly tapered in a girly form fitting way and it’s purple.  When a man is asking for a girly shirt, I want to believe that he is being nice and buying one for his girlfriend or daughter or something, but I know better than to assume that these people are not being stupid, so I always like to clarify.  Nine times out of ten, they didn’t fucking realize that the small purple shirt labeled “girly” is in fact for girls.

You’re probably thinking that these types of occurrences only happen a few times a night.  No.  I promise you, that only a few times a night, does it NOT happen.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you that maybe two to four people  a night do not ask me something stupid.  I love these people.  And if he’s cute, I’ll go as far as giving him a $5 discount, just so that I can award good behavior.  They usually end up giving it back to me as a tip, so it works out.  The stupidity levels vary from scene to scene.  The metal heads seem to be the dumbest.  Surprisingly, the black metal scene has the most competent fan base.  This is one of the reasons why working for the black metal band that I tour with is my favorite band to work for.  They’re great people, and also the people who come to their shows I can relate to on a human level, instead of being onslaught by stupidity all night long.  Black metal fans are usually Satanist, so maybe that has something to do with it.  You have to be at least mildly competent to be a Satanist because it usually requires some analyzing and research.

If you are reading this and go to shows often, please be one of the people who walks up and simply says, “The mosh shirt in medium, please.”  And have your money ready.  Us merch people love people like you.  And use cash.  Yes, we do normally accept credit cards, but they’re a pain in the ass and slows everything down and credit cards are just not very rock and roll.  You’re going to a metal show, have some damn cash on you for christ’s sake.

Rant complete.  For now.

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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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The Rules of Touring

1. Use common sense.

2. Be considerate.

3. Don’t complain.

That’s it. Those are the only true rules of touring. I started writing a book, and though I have never thought about listing tour rules, it began to organically happen while drafting one of the chapters. I had fun with it, and made a whole list of specific rules such as, keep the damn doors shut to bunk alley until everyone is awake, you inconsiderate bastard! But after going over my list, and after something Monterey said, I realized that it was redundant and everything came down to use common sense, be considerate and don’t complain. Simple as that.

A person who sucks at being a busmate will always suck at being a busmate no matter how many tours they go on because these “rules” aren’t learned, they’re just called, not being an asshole. I’m sorry, I know there are a lot of sweet people out there who are lacking in common sense, but you’re still an asshole, even if you have the best intentions. I absolutely have my daft moments, the English hooligan can attest to that after sitting with me in a freezing room for two hours trying to fix a string of paperwork the time when I forgot that 175 is not the same as 150. But! I have enough common sense to know that if I’m living on a bus with ten other people and one mini fridge, than I shouldn’t buy a gallon of milk.

Complaining is toxic. Just don’t do it. Next time you want to bitch about the venue’s catering or how there are no cups on the bus, remind yourself that you get to travel around the world for a living, so shut the fuck up and do your job.

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With a Little Help from My Friends

I started a fire with my bare hands.  I feel very primal and in touch with nature right now, and I think that I should go catch some game using a handmade booby trap Apocalypto style.  Side note, that is an excellent, and very underrated movie.  Trust me, I went to art school.  Anyway, I feel that I deserve so many cookies for starting that damn fire, but the delicious margarita Fat Face and I shared post fire session sufficed.

I was able to complete my 2014 New Year’s Resolution with a little help from my friends. Yes, I was a few days late, as I didn’t do this until January 5th of 2015… but that’s my style and it still counts because I feel like there is a week grace period with matters such as these. A lot of people are not into making yearly resolutions, but I think that’s because they set their sights too high and it generally just ends in feeling like a failure at the conclusion of the year. I feel like a failure for the majority of the year, so I like making small, realistic resolutions for my New Year’s goal so that I can at least feel accomplished for one of the 365 days.  I make resolutions such as floss more, learn to play a song on the piano, teach myself how to use photoshop, etc.  Pretty simple.  As I stated in Merch Girl Rant, my 2014 resolutions were to be nicer to strangers (which I truly believe I made progress in) and build a fire with my bare hands.

Here it was though, December of 2014 and I still had yet to build a fire. I mentioned this resolution to a couple of the guys who were on the crew bus with me and they were full supporters of helping me complete my goal. Monterey, who I spoke about in A Christmas Story, purchased a Swedish FireSteel igniter for me, and the LD of the crew gave me some helpful tips because he was a boy scout. Always trust a boy scout.

This is the sexy instrument that Monterey bought me which ignites the flame.

This is the sexy instrument that Monterey bought me which ignites the flame.

The three of us definitely would have made this happen, but the tour we were on together is a particularly grueling one with very little down time.  The only two days that we had off it was raining, and before we knew it, the tour was wrapped.  It ended  December 31, and then I went on a mini hiatus before returning home on the 4th of January.

I felt slightly disappointed in myself for not completing my 2014 resolution, and I knew that this was not going to help with my post tour blues.  “Post tour blues” is a term I think I’ve coined.  I won’t go into a lengthy description of what it is because I think it’s pretty self-explanatory, and anyone who tours will know exactly what I mean.  I’ll leave the discussion for another day.  I get the post tour blues BAD and while we were only days away from wrapping the gig, I asked Monterey if he experiences PTB.  He told me that he has, but he has taught himself how to avert it.  He makes sure to set himself little goals of what he needs to get done while he’s home.  Essentially a to-do list to keep yourself busy, but boys don’t make lists.  I thought that was great advice, and like a total female… I wrote out a list.  Number one, build a damn fire you piece of shit.

I will only be home for four days before heading out for the next tour, so I had already accepted that these days were going to be packed with real life shit.  I know that’s not a particularly eloquent way of putting it, but it gets the point across.  Real life shit is basically a bunch of errands that need to happen post tour, and is just stuff that you can’t get done on the road such as haircuts, teeth cleanings, taxes, make-out sessions, etc.  I put aside all of that garbage and made the fire my number one priority.

Step one, text Fat Face:
Me: “You want to try to build a fire with me?”
Fat Face: “I’m confused, is that a metaphor for something else?”
Like I’ve said, I suck at texting, so in my mind I answered him with details and a funny pun, but apparently I did not in fact text him back at all.   I got a call from him a few minutes later and I began to explain my predicament, but the long-winded explanation simply ended with, “I just need to build a fucking fire and you should do it with me.” And here is why I love Fat Face: “All right! Let’s build a fire! Fuck yeah!” He’s always down.

Step two was to get Fat Face awake and at my house at a reasonable hour. He generally sleeps until my day is half way over, but he surprised me with his 10:30am call. By 11:00am we were googling “how to build a fire” which he thought was cheating.  Considering that it wasn’t his resolution, he was very concerned with what was considered cheating and what wasn’t, and he was all about attempting to do it straight up caveman style. Um, no. He was delusional and thought we were going to walk outside, rub some sticks together, add some wood and BOOM!

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Step three was finding a place to do build this thing. I was concerned with finding a dry spot, a place semi secluded so that we wouldn’t be bothered by authorities and cultivating the appropriate materials. Fat Face was concerned with getting ice cream. He pretended to humor me for a moment while I thought out loud about the possible locations, then he said, “Cait, I feel like we can just build it on a sidewalk somewhere.” Oh God.

He went on to say that he thought this whole process would only take ten minutes. Once he said that, I knew I was on my own with packing a fire starting bag. I took my Mom’s GAP beach tote and put a knife, my gifted FireSteel and a shovel inside. Fat Face’s parents house sits at the edge of a wooded area, so we decided to go there. It was the best idea we have ever had.  If there is ever a zombie apocalypse, just go to Fat Face’s parents house.  I’ll give you the address, just remember to bring some champagne and Fat Face and I will supply the whiskey.

The backyard had EVERYTHING we needed. We needed to dig a shallow hole, then surround it with rocks, which we easily found. We also needed tinder, kindling, twigs and larger dry branches. Miraculously, we found all of this material within a 30 foot radius of where we decided to construct this fire.  I will say, Fat Face was looking pretty damn sexy as he was sitting in the dirt, being one with nature and using my flint fire starter to create a spark, the first marking of true human progression.  It was very primal and kind of made me want to either do him right there in the dirt or bite the head off of a squirrel and then roast it in the open fire while doing a sacrificial dance and chant.  I settled for a high-five.

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Monterey was there in spirit because he was kind of the fuel behind the fire (pun intended) and I was picturing him doing something on the other side of the country that is on his productivity list in that moment as well. He was probably doing something very adult, like making a business plan, or editing his reel… while I was crouched down, hoping that the city worker’s nearby might mistake Fat Face and I as children and not bother us. I mean, when is the last time you saw two almost 30 year old’s in a backyard playing with twigs and searching for rocks for no apparent reason.  I was banking on them assuming that we were just kids playing in a field so that they wouldn’t come over to inform us that what we were doing was very illegal.

The secret weapon to igniting the fire was the “fluff.” This is a term that Fat Face and I used to describe the saw dust we created. At first we were trying to ignite very thin peels of wood, but it just wasn’t thin enough. I was willing to resort to venturing to the nearby drying machine and retrieving some lint, but Fat Face considered that cheating, so I googled “tips on igniting a fire using FireSteel.” He considered my googling cheating also, but fuck him. I read that saw dust was the answer, and the fluffier the better. So, we created saw dust with my knife (thank god I brought that thing) and I kept saying, “we need more fluff!” I began getting a solid rhythm with my fluff creation, to which Fat Face said, “Ooooo girl, yeah, make that fluff.”  That made me laugh and I lost my rhythm so Fat Face had to finish creating the fluff. He was better at it anyway, as he made double what I did in about half of the time. After a solid half hour of trying to ignite the fluff, it finally caught.
From there, we just kept adding more fluff and then twigs and then branches and then we had a bona-fide fucking fire that we made with our bare hands.  YAY!!  We definitely had a moment. It felt extremely satisfying and a bunch of other adjectives I could throw at you, but most of all, if felt really good to share the moment with someone.  I feel better about beginning this new year now that I started that damn fire with a little help from Monterey, the LD and Fat Face.   2014 was a fucking ride, and now I feel okay about getting on the next one.

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This year’s resolution may sound far-fetched to some of you, but the more I travel the more obtainable it seems.  I want to leave the continent.  I’ve been to Europe before, but it was a long time ago now, and it’s just time to leave the continental US again. I’m pretty sure that I’ve been to every state multiple times now, and I’ve done cross-country Canada, so it’s time to cross an ocean. The more people you meet, it’s funny how the world starts to feel smaller. I know many people on different continents now, so obtaining the goal of visiting one of them does not seem so implausible.  With that being said, I will definitely need a little help from my friends to obtain this year’s resolution also.  I have a friend who lives in Australia, and we agreed to try to see each other sometime this year. Whether he comes here, or I go there, or we meet half way…. so he may be the friend who helps me realize this 2015 resolution.  And who knows, maybe there will be a story there.

 

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The Adventures of Touring – A Christmas Story

Often when I tell people that I’ll be spending Christmas on the road, they give me the sad face. In a half of a second expression, I read their thoughts which are clearly saying, Aw, you poor little gypsy girl with no stability, no presents and no family to bake christmas tree shaped sugar cookies with. Fuck that. I began enjoying Christmas the year that I stopped giving a shit. I’m no Grinch, I love Christmas, I just believe that people put way too much pressure on holidays with their empty traditions and obsession with consumerism.

I would roughly guess that it was 2006 when my Dad hit me with one of his very many wise thoughts. He essentially said that he doesn’t stress over buying presents because he would never want anyone to stress over buying him presents. While that doesn’t sound particularly profound, it definitely changed my outlook. I hated that panicky feeling that consumed the days leading up to Christmas when you still had presents to buy but you don’t know what to buy and time is running out. When my Dad said that, I realized that I truly would rather NOT receive a present than have anyone stress over what to buy me for a holiday. I think for the past 8 birthdays, my dad has simply given me a card and a six-pack of beer. Like father like daughter.  I’m now the same way.  Unless I know exactly what gift I want to get someone, I just don’t worry about it.  Or I’ll make a donation in their name.  I’m a pretty big nay-sayer of gaudy consumerism, so I like giving charity gifts.

Excuse my rant that is only slightly related to my original topic, which is to tell you how my 2014 Christmas went, and to set the record straight about holidays on the road. Sure, they can be lonely if you let it, but here is why it doesn’t have to be.

Christmas Eve started like any other show day. We loaded into the venue at 6:00am, I did a baby wipe shower in the lobby bathroom and applied some make-up and attempted to not let my hair look like a bee hive, but I stopped with that attempt when I remembered that I hadn’t washed my hair in five days so there was no helping that mess. I broke down a couple pallets and went back and forth between the stage and lobby with two hand-trucks and gave a guarded to smile and a coy comeback to the stage hands who insist on making some of type of chivalric comment about a female doing any type of manual labor. Then I took a nap on the lobby floor.

Me and lobby floors have a special relationship.

Me and lobby floors have a special relationship.

I woke up to the children in the lobby and decided to document the mild absurdity of the fact that our photographer/videographer who I will call Monterey; his job is to take pictures of little girls in tu-tu’s everyday. He appreciates the humor in this as well.

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We had two early shows that day, so load out happened earlier than usual, meaning that we had time to go drink. We started on the bus, as Monterey took one for the team and walked to a liquor store and brought back some christmas cheer. He got us all bottles and then also got some mini bottles that I’d like to think of as stocking stuffers. We didn’t have stockings, so a dirty tupperware would have to do.

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Then we all went to The Griffon, the best bar in Charleston and coincidentally, where we went last year at Christmas. A new, unconventional tradition. Last year, we were just about the only people in that place, so we hit it off real well with the bartender, whose name is Ben, and chatted it up with him while we drank our Christmas spirit into existence. This year, we went back to the same spot, and Ben was still there and he miraculously remembered us.

The Griffon

The Griffon

So It felt good to be back at the same place with the same individuals on Christmas Eve. Sitting next to Sue, as she told me about her ex husband, and sitting next to Monterey as we bullshitted about the geography of the middle east in relation to psychology, sitting with Laura as she shares her love for Gone with the Wind and sitting amongst all seven of us as we discussed what kind of drink each person would be (we decided Lucy is peppermint moonshine, Monterey is a mint julep, A-dog is an IPA and no one could come up with what I would be) and sitting across from Ben as he filled us with christmas cheer (a.k.a. liquor), it felt good to be in that dive bar with a makeshift family celebrating Christmas Eve like a band of misfits.

Somehow we all made it back to the bus alive and I woke up to nothing other than a truck stop on Christmas morning. I think that is wildly appropriate and semi ironic considering my life this past year. I was not complaining because I love shitty gas station coffee and I even treated myself to a splash of the machine made peppermint mocha in my luke warm holiday coffee. Merry Christmas to me.

I am almost always the first one awake, so I try to be quiet in the mornings while I get my start. I was absolutely still drunk, as it was 7:00am, and I was thinking oh fuck… here comes the part where you need to spend 15 minutes trying to get your life back in order from the night before. Nope. Everything was exactly in its right place. I love when that happens. More often than not when I’m wasted, the next morning I am consistently impressed with myself that I did not lose anything, and even managed to get my coat, boots and phone in the same exact place that they always are. I felt I deserved a high-five for that one. No one was awake yet though, so I settled for an inner congratulatory on being a professional drinker. A-dog and Monterey both woke up in a panic that morning, thinking that they left their phones at The Griffon. Anyway, I got my coffee and beef jerky and sat in the jump seat while we cruised down I-95 in the rain and finished the novel, “Half Broke Horses” until Monterey and Sue woke up at around 8:30.

Merry Christmas! Shots? Yes please! We dug into the stocking stuffer basket and the three of us did a shot of whiskey for breakfast while flipping through the television channels to find the station that plays A Christmas Story for 24 hours.

Then the waiting game. It was a day off, so that means we get a hotel room. We arrived at the hotel around 10:00am, and rooms were not ready, so we sat on the bus and waited while taking a consistent flow of shots from mini dixie cups while still in our pajamas and listening to terrible christmas carol covers.

Keepin' it classy.

Keepin’ it classy.

We were all too disgusting and hung over to try to do anything more serious than going to 7-11 before getting a shower. Monterey and I managed to get a load of laundry done, which was the one appropriately domestic thing we did that day considering that it was christmas and the general public is participating in mostly domestic behaviors while we fight over junk bunk space and brush our teeth using water bottles. So Monterey and I sifting through laundry together, getting excited about detergent pods and bantering in bunk alley about whose shoes smell worse was a true domesticated christmas event.

Once showers were accomplished, we went to go see a movie, because what the hell else are you going to do on Christmas? Then we got back to the bus and drank a bottle of champagne from the bottle (we’re too gangster for glassware) as he taught me about the “Rossi Toss” and we listened to Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” Him and I have discussed so much over the tours that I can’t believe we still find new subjects to talk about. He’s a true rarity. Without a doubt, one of the most intelligent people I know and can absorb information in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. I think he may have a photographic memory… or something close to it. He knows a lot about a lot, so the conversational possibilities are endless. I know a little about a lot of things, which is one quality that I think gives me the ability to be able to talk to just about anyone, but Monterey knows A LOT about a lot. So a quick stop at the bus before continuing on with our night, turned into an hour and a half conversation over a bottle of champagne that came in a fitted champagne koozie.  Brilliant.

The crew had originally planned to all be together on Christmas night, but on this particular tour, the girls always end up doing their own thing, and then I end up with the boys and we just end up going to a bar.

Somehow on this night, Monterey and I got separated from the pack, so him and I went to the beach for dinner. It was great. If anything, it was a really nice christmas present to not be in the freezing cold for a change. We were in South Florida because the show the following day was in Miami. We’ve been on tour mostly up in the northern states, and it’s been friggen cold, so the beach and shorts for christmas was very welcoming to us all. Sand is not Monterey’s thing, but he sucked it up while I frolicked on the shore and splashed around in the water underneath the moonlight. I needed to get that out of my system and he was a good sport about it. More drinks. More laughs. More conversations. Bus. Pass out. And that was Christmas. It was a good one.

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I missed my family and I do feel guilty sometimes about never being home, mostly because of my sister, but I think that the Christmas season should just be about enjoying people rather than things and that’s exactly what I did. While it felt like a normal day off while on the road, it was a particularly good day off. I didn’t have a christmas tree, gifts were not exchanged and there were no homemade dinners and pies, but I did have a great friend by my side, a bottle of champagne, the beach and some good laughs… and who needs more than that?

“He who has not christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”

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The Adventures of Touring with a Rock Band – Part 14

I am sitting in a dirty hotel room, on stained bed sheets, my teeth not brushed, my hair unwashed and on top of my head like a gypsy whore, crumbs stuck underneath my fingernails, a bloody knuckle, smeared eyeshadow and wearing an over-sized, wrinkly band t-shirt.  I have not done anything to change this situation because the last twelve hours were dirty, so I want to stew in the filth of last night so that I can properly account for the events that took place.  If I shower away the grime, I’ll shower away the grimy details.  There’s something about being shower fresh that makes last night’s memories seem cleaner.  No, I want the dirty truth.

Last night was roadie Friday, which just means that it is the night before a day off while on tour.  The day started as normal.  We did a show at The Gramercy Theatre in New York City.  Great venue, sold out show, and I got my New York bagel and cream cheese that I had been eagerly anticipating.  Coffee, found a book store, annoyed my tour manager, set up merch, sold merch.  Normal day except that it was the last show that the two other bands on the tour package would be playing with us.  These days are always a bummer because you almost always become friends with everyone, so the day the tour package breaks up is always characterized with heavy drinking, heavy hugging and hopes that paths will cross again.  One of the drummer’s and I started a cute, flirty tour courtship.  He was the only member of his band who had a beard, so OF COURSE he was the one I ended up getting the closest with.  My curse of the bearded boys.  Him and I would pass notes to each other during the show (because it’s always so loud, it’s difficult to talk), and try to steal a few minutes here and there throughout the day to have a real conversation and maybe take a hit from his pipe.  The point is, that it always feel like you are saying goodbye all too soon in this industry.

Back to the last twelve hours.  Things started going downhill when the lead singer of one of the bands hit on me.  Hard.  It wasn’t cute or flattering, it was demeaning, uncomfortable and dirty.  Him and I had got along great, and found ourselves in deep conversation on occasion, despite everyone telling me that he generally keeps to himself and doesn’t talk to anyone.  When we did speak, it’s always during the day, and I never saw him after the shows.  So last night, I made a point to find him to give him a hug and say goodbye before he went on stage because I knew I wouldn’t see him after.  He suggested that we exchange numbers.  Okay.  I’m fine with that.  He’s a cool guy and maybe we can work together again in the future, or at least send each other funny pictures of people we see at Walmart every once in a while.  I am so hopelessly naive because he then got weird.  He started speaking really low and saying things like, “I’m not going to pretend that I’m not attracted to you, and that I wouldn’t tear your shit up.”  I’m nice, and I don’t like embarrassing people or rejecting them, so I just tried to change the intent by making a joke about it and then saying I had to get back to merch.  That didn’t work, because he then grabbed me by the back of my hair and pulled it HARD, (the way you would to someone in bed) and brought my face into his chest so that his mouth was touching my ear and said, “I know you like that.  Don’t act like you don’t want it.” Um actually bro… no, I don’t want it.  He then went on to say that the next time he sees me he is going to “punish that shit,” as if I don’t have a choice in the matter.  The notion that I may not be into him didn’t even seem to be a thought in his mind.  Lead singer syndrome.  So that was shitty and was a bad last impression, and what started the grime of the night.

The second disaster happened a few hours later when the guitar player of the band I work for went Italian mafia on our driver.  It was epic and I was secretly hoping for blood to be spilled.  Very long story short, our driver pulled a little bitch, diva hissy fit and literally, huffed and puffed and slammed one of the inside bus doors, breaking the jam and essentially turning it into a swinging door.  If that wasn’t already bad enough, he continues slamming it over and over again, looking like a fucking idiot.  He failed at failing.  We were all just staring, open-mouthed trying to decide if we should laugh or yell or help or look the other way.

The guitar player stands up and is calm at first and says with his Italian accent, “what’s the problem, man?”  The driver explained, but that made it even worse because he was completely in the wrong.  Apparently, our guitar player had these same exact thoughts times a million because he lost his goddamn mind on our driver.  He was an inch away from his face, and screaming at the top of his lungs.  He then goes on to smash things and break things as well, yelling, “I’m mad now also because you disturbed me and my guest CAN I GO AND BREAK THE FUCKING BUS TOO YOU FUCKING BITCH?!!”  The “guest” was our guitar player’s flavor of the night, and I felt bad that she had to awkwardly sit through this ugly affair.  This went on for a good twenty minutes and spilled out onto the New York streets.  Our guitar player threatened to slit the driver’s throat if he ever disrespected him like that again, and the driver, just crumbled as he was being shoved and yelled at.  I felt like I was watching The Godfather.

The English Hooligan (our Tour Manager) came back to deal with the situation because what a TM really is, is an adult babysitter.  I regularly whine in a little girl voice at him.  Just two days ago he gave me a pair of his own socks because I was bitching that my feet were cold and my socks kept falling off of my ankle.  This took place only hours after I was claiming to be low maintenance.  Bus call was at 2:00am but obviously, we were not going anywhere at 2:00am as it was already 1:50am and there was a chance that our driver was going to be murdered in the next ten minutes. The English Hooligan basically ordered everyone to go to the pub and drink until 4:00am.  He had some problem solving to do, and was trying to make everyone happy again, so he handed me a 100 dollar bill and told me to buy everyone a round.  Word.  Between us crew, the band and their guests, we were an entourage of 14 people and we took over that bar until we managed to stumble back out onto the New York streets at 4:00 in the morning broken and better for it.

That would have been enough for one night for any sane person, but me, the Hooligan, 0069 and the Jackhammer are not sane.  We went on to have what we call, “a punk rock party.”  This title came to be LONG before I started working with the band.  I believe it got its’ name because the tour manager is from Liverpool and is a true punk rock hooligan at heart, and this side of him tends to come out when he’s drinking.  When we hear “London Calling” come on the bus stereo, everyone knows to run because a punk rock party is about to occur.  I didn’t run, and neither did 0069 or the Jackhammer, so we basically had a four man mosh pit at 5:00 in the morning while the bus was in route.  Twirling ninja kicks were involved and somehow I feel like I crowd surfed a couple of times with only four people.
This is what it looks like after a roadie Friday…

Hung over.

Hung over in a hotel.

I had fun during this punk rock party, and managed to get through it with only one cut and mild bruising.  However, things took a bad turn when Joe got a hold of my phone.  He knows my password to unlock my phone because I was stupid enough to tell it to him some other night, thinking a.) he won’t remember after this one time, b.) I don’t give a shit if he goes through my phone and c.) we are good friends and although he is out of his mind and known for playing practical jokes, I don’t think he would ever do anything with my phone that crossed the line.  I was wrong.

In the past, he has stolen my phone and done ridiculous things like pretended to be me while texting some boy, and then take a picture of his own ass, and sending it… that kind of thing.  Even though I have to do damage control after, it’s still a little bit funny and I usually don’t care.  This time though, he crossed the line.  The bearded drummer boy, who I mentioned earlier, and I were texting.  I made the mistake of telling 0069 that I kind of like this guy.  This is not something any of them are used to hearing.  They’re accustom to me having mild crushes on boys, but they know I’m an asshole and I usually just do it for my own personal entertainment because it makes the days slightly more amusing.  I typically find some shallow reason not to like someone after a few nights of flirting with a guy will say, “I don’t like him anymore because he pronounces library, libary,” or some reason equally as inane, and the Hooligan will roll his eyes, 0069 will exploit it, R-dizzle will say, “he seems like a nice guy,” (R-dizz is always the voice of reason) and Wolfgang will start singing show tunes.  So when I didn’t do that right away with this boy, I think it took 0069 off guard and he didn’t like it.  Like I’ve said before, I don’t do tour romances and Joe knows this.

He took my phone and started texting bearded drummer boy, pretending to be me, and he wrote some awful script.  After an inappropriate comment about “swallowing,” he then went on to text, “Listen, it was really nice to know you for a moment.  I don’t do tour hookups or after tour hookups.  Have a nice one.”  It went on.  When I saw this the next morning I was really upset, mostly because I was imagining poor drummer boy, who was nothing but nice to me, being humiliating by 0069.  If Joe hadn’t already crossed the line that night, he then crossed so far over that the line was not even in sight anymore…

Post punk rock party, while the four of us were just sitting now, beat up and drunk, Joe decided to bring up a lot of personal stuff that he is very well aware of that I don’t want to talk about because I have told him this on more than one occasion.  It annoys him that there are things he doesn’t know about me, so the interrogation ensued.  After Johnny and Joe made it to their bunks, the emotional onslaught that 0069 had blindsided me with caused me to have a crazy Caitlin spell, with the English Hooligan holding my shoulder telling me that, “everything’s all right, chuck.”  Chuck is a name he sometimes calls me.  Like I mentioned, he’s English, so he’s always using foreign words that I can only guess their meaning.  I assume that chuck is the equivalent to “sweetie” or something like that, but for all I know, chuck could be the equivalent to raging cunt.  Sometimes when I really can’t understand him I yell, “stop speaking British!”  This always pisses him off which always makes me giggle with delight.  One of my favorite things is listening to him and Wolfgang, our LD and also an English chap, go back and forth.  I call this, “British banter.”

I got myself together, patted Gus on the shoulder with a “thank you,” and passed the fuck out.  I woke up four hours later and walked out to the front, being welcomed by the morning light and the pure calamity of the front lounge.  It looked like five Cookie Monster’s on crack had come through during the night.  There was not one thing in the proper place, couch cushions were on the floor, coffee grinds spilled everywhere, and there was at least three bags worth of chips crushed up on the ground and everything was broken.  Tight.  Back to bed.

Now here we are, twelve hours later, and doing absolutely nothing except for dying in a hotel room.  Fucking roadie Friday’s.

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Next Time, I’ll Just Sleep with Him

I don’t know if the city of Los Angeles is a disaster, or if I am the disaster and that town just brings out the worst in me.  There I was though, back in the city of demons, having yet another head on collision with Hollywood after only being back there for twelve hours. Let me begin this tale by letting you all know that the whole reason that I was going back to the city that murdered my soul, was to spend two days with a guy that I had only known for two days because clearly, that sounded like an excellent decision.

It was at the end of the last tour that I was on and it was just me and the Tour Manager left on the bus, as the rest of the crew and band had already left.  We started the trek westward from Indianapolis, which for some stupid reason is on Eastern time and for some stupid reason it bothers me when states that are not in fact located on the East coast, are on Eastern Standard Time.  Also, in my educated opinion, I think that we should just get rid of Mountain time because there is only like nineteen people in that time zone anyway, and that’s where all of the irrelevant states are except for New Mexico which I exclude from the list of my “irrelevant” states because it has exceptional beef jerky.

We drove non-stop for 36 hours, from Indiana to Los Angeles and it was excruciating because we were heading West, so the days were getting longer.  We had two drivers, Gary and Lady Gary.  Lady Gary was our driver’s girlfriend who came onto the tour later, as an “assistant driver” (which is very unusual but I won’t bore you with the reasons why that happened), so we never learned her name and instead, took to calling her “Lady Gary” to her face because we’re assholes.  Because we had two driver’s who alternated, we literally only stopped for gas and so that I could buy $35 worth of beef jerky.  At one point during this agonizing ride, which I am surprised that we all survived considering that we had no drugs and no alcohol, (I don’t even do drugs, but if someone would have handed me a mystery pill that had a smiley face on it, or even a skull and cross-bones on it, I would have gladly accepted it and chased it with an overdose of Robitussin  just to cure the boredom), I began running up and down the length of the bus, attempting to sing rap music (which is always a bad idea in my case because the only rap that I’ve ever been exposed to is one Eminem song that came out in 1997), and stopping every few laps to breakdown into something that resembled jazzercise.  Rhett just stared at me with his mouth open because he was now used to my ridiculous behavior that he had been dealing with for the past couple of weeks, which I chronicle in Adventures of Touring Part 13. The moral of this part of the story is NEVER take highway 40 across the country because none of the truck stops sell alcohol.  They seem to think that Native American snow-globes are an adequate substitution.

Once we finally got to LA, it was 1:30am and we then moved all of the gear from the bus trailer to another trailer.  Don’t ask.  This ended up being a fairly painless, fast and efficient process because Mexicans were involved.  We then drove all of this gear through the Hollywood Hills as one of the Mexican’s was speeding us down Mulholland Drive like he had a death wish, but at this point, I didn’t care.  We arrive at M’s house which is the size of my hometown, unload all of the gear again, and into his garage.  It’s now like 4:00am, but Rhett and I decide to do about 15 shots with M’s roommate, anyway because we felt so deprived from our road trip and because it was the irresponsible choice to make.

The next morning is when I am supposed to meet up with Dan, the boy who I was staying with for the next two days, and the whole reason I suffered through the last 40 hours.  Being in Beverly Hills, staying at M’s house with a zip code that is literally 90210, you would think that some of these motherfuckers would petition for cell phone towers… or at least buy their own.  I’m sure that the owner of Verizon actually lives in that neighborhood.  Regardless, I couldn’t get any service, and all I knew was that my destination is somewhere in Silverlake, which is on the clear other end of town.  Remember that line from Clueless, “I expect you home in twenty minutes!  Everywhere in LA takes twenty minutes!”  This could not be further from the truth.  It takes twenty minutes just to back out of your driveway in Los Angeles.  I estimated that it would take 50 minutes to get to Dan’s house.  If he was someone who I had known for longer than two days, I probably would have made him pick me up, but since I was determined to come across as self-sufficient, and because I hadn’t yet decided if I was going to sleep with him, I thought it best to rely on my independence that boys so much loathe.

A straight cab ride would have been too expensive, and I don’t like Uber because I am like a drug dealer and only deal with cash.  My plan was to take a cab ride to the nearest metro station, then take the metro to the stop closest to Dan, which was then, just another quick cab ride to his house.  Of course, this is not what transpired. M’s roommate had even offered to drive me part of the way, but because I am a masochist, I thought it would be a better alternative to purposely inflict a painful day upon myself. More importantly, I just didn’t want to put anybody out.

Like I said, I had zero cell service where I was, but I welcome these first world complications, I see them as a challenge and a way to practice my anti-technology problem solving skills so that I’ll be the one everyone is following when the Apocalypse occurs.  Rhett was going to the airport, so he used his Uber app to get picked up.  I figured that I’d hitch a ride out of the neighborhood, into downtown West Hollywood where I would at least get cell service and a coffee, and be able to asses my current situation with more mental clarity.  I asked the Uber driver who came to get us, to please just drop me off at a coffee shop or something that was on the way to the airport so as to not inconvenience Rhett.

Apparently the Uber guy’s sweat that was dribbling down his bald head had drowned his brain because he was fucking retarded.  He immediately gave me anxiety when he pulled the car over after we had only gone a half of a mile down the road, and started screeching, “Do you see me?!  Do you see me?!” over and over again while Rhett frantically fingered his Uber app.  This guy was on more cocaine than Andy Dick at a drag queen show.  I choose to ignore the world of technology, mostly because of situations like this. I barely understand what apps are, so I was able to just play dumb in the backseat.  The driver was having a meltdown because something in the app wasn’t working (due to the lack of reception) so he thought it would be best to stay parked in one spot and repeat the same obnoxious outcry 508 times while I stared out of the window wondering if this guy was going to a.) have an aneurysm, or b.) kidnap us and sell our organs in exchange for the $1.50 he MIGHT miss out on due to Uber malfunctions in the 90210 area.  I told him that Rhett would give him a hand-job on the way to the airport if he would just continue driving the damn car.  I suppose it was cruel of me to volunteer Rhett, but I was in the backseat, so it just didn’t make sense for me to be the one to perform the sexual favors for the driver.

Ten minutes and a few miles later, and it’s not fucking funny anymore, this dude is seriously freaking me out.  I have no idea where we are, but I ask him to pull the car over and let me out.  Both guys looked at me perplexed, but I didn’t have the mental power to explain myself, I just needed to get out of that car.  So they dump me off on the sidewalk with my two suitcases and a giant backpack.  I put my over-sized sunglasses on (because in LA, even if you look like a sweaty homeless girl who is carrying everything she owns down Sunset Boulevard, if you add over-sized sunglasses, it makes it chic) and began walking through the glamorous part of West Hollywood where you would find the type of celebrities whom have purse dogs and are getting brunch and sporting their over-sized sunglasses.  Basically, I looked like a fucking idiot.  At least now I had cell phone reception.

I called Dan and decided not to tell him about my current predicament, and instead, tell him that all was just swell and that I’d be there in an hour.  I then heave my 200 pounds of luggage up the steps of “Urth Cafe,” a place that I already hated because misspelling words for the sake of marketing annoys me.  Thank you Dunkin’ Donuts, now the entire world thinks that you spell doughnuts, d-o-n-u-t-s.  This bougie cafe had at least 150 people in it, all wearing over-sized sunglasses, but all lacking 200 pounds of luggage.  At this point I am literally laughing out loud at myself as I am trying to find a place to park my suitcase so that I can order a damn green tea before these people think that I am a bum looking for air conditioning.  Actually, that is exactly what I was at the moment, but I was frantically trying to solve that problem.  So I grab a business card with the address to fucking “Urth” cafe, and call a cab.

The cab driver shows up in a timely manner, and he is a chubby, friendly, little Armenian man with a lot of arm hair who I was so grateful for because anyone was better than the coke-head, organ stealing Uber driver I just experienced.  The chubby Armenian informs me that I can smoke in the cab, but I explain to him that I don’t smoke.  For some reason this blew his mind.  Really dude?  Of all of the things that I am sure you have seen as a cab driver in Hollywood, me not smoking is really the most surprising?!  No one in LA smokes by the way.  They all even do that pretentious thing where if you’re smoking outside, even during a goddamn wind storm, they’ll still fake cough and wave their hand in front of their nose and give you and your cigarette a dirty look as they walk by.  That type of behavior actually makes me want to take up smoking.

Chubby then asked me if I’ve ever smoked an Armenian cigarette.  When I said no, he seemed even more shocked at this notion, because clearly, it’s alarming that someone who doesn’t smoke in the first fucking place, has never smoked an Armenian cigarette.  After turning down multiple offers to try one, I finally accepted the cigarette just to shut him the fuck up.

I drink coffee like it’s my job, so I consider myself immune to coffee caffeine, but for some reason, a single caffeinated tea feels like I just injected cocaine straight into my bloodstream.  So, I was already shaking from the tea I just had at the cafe that doesn’t know how to spell Earth, and jittery from the series of events which had just transpired, and now I’m adding this damn cigarette to the mix which is only heightening my anxiety.  The way Chubby was selling this thing, I was expecting it to have magical powers, or at least be laced with some hardcore narcotics that made me see Unicorns.  Nope.

So Chubby drops me off at the Metro Station, and I get onto the train with relative ease.  There is a nice looking black man a few seats from me who smiles sweetly and I consider for a moment asking him if he’d like to stop whatever productive task that he is in the middle of, and get a drink with me because I definitely need one.  I refrain however when I realize that a.) it is only 11:30am and b.) I am currently on my way to seeing another boy whom I have already forgotten about because of this disaster of a day.  I closed my eyes and pictured Dan’s cute smile and told myself that everything would be okay once I got to his house.  I then opened my eyes, only to witness a schizophrenic playing with fire.  One of the crazy’s on the train took out a crack lighter and was just keeping it continuously lit for absolutely no apparent reason.  At first, I thought he would just flick it on and off the way that people do when they’re fidgeting.  When that didn’t happen, I decided that he was going to light a bomb, so I came up with a ninja-like exit strategy in my mind, which included me and the hot black guy next to me busting out some tae-kwon-do and escaping just in the nick of time.  When the bomb had still not detonated after the schizophrenic kept the hand lighter lit for a straight five minutes, I thought it best to not test my luck, and got off at the next stop even though my stop wasn’t for another few miles.

I was about to call a cab to take me to Dan’s once and for all, but decided that it was not a good idea to let him see me in my current state.  After this fucking catastrophe I was definitely suffering from PTSD and determined that I needed to get a margarita, or six, to calm down and get my life together before seeing the boy whom I currently had a crush on.  I knew of a nearby Mexican joint, and impressed with my memory of the LA streets, found myself walking with 200 pounds of luggage down the sidewalks of Los Angeles yet again, but this time content because I had margaritas in my near future.

I sat down and ordered a 20 ounce margarita which I drank in 17 seconds, then called a cab.  The new cab picked me up and safely brought me to Dan’s house, and that is the last time that I will ever think it’s a good idea to act like an independent woman.  Next time, I’ll just sleep with him so that I don’t feel bad when I need to ask for a ride.

 

 

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