Whew! I've only been home a few days in the last 3 weeks. Heading out for the weekend. I'll be home for 3 weeks, and then going traveling for 2 months.
Is this thing on?
…yet again, from a moving truck.
We've traveled 7711 miles so far. The tour is over, we've packed J's parent's stuff in the truck, and we're driving west. By the time we get home our travel will top 10,000 miles…
In the past weeks i've tried to write these mostly with the goal of making you laugh. I'll probably think of something funny before i finish this journal, but i'm also aware that i feel kinda burnt out. I wish i was home right now, preferably in a big cuddle pile.
That said, we're currently in Kansas going west on Highway 70 towards Denver. The golden rolling hills are aflame under patches of sunlight poking through masses of fluffy clouds. From time to time we see shrubs, trees, and the occasional lazy gang of cows.
In short, it's pretty.
J's Dad gave me some computer speakers, so we're listening to MP3s offa my laptop. Most of you know i tend to lean towards electronic dance music, punk/metal, and bombastic classical music. But there's something about the landscape here, we're mostly listening to Paul Simon, Brett Dennen, and The Proclaimers.
I realize that i've been covering over some of my feelings in these journals. I see myself quashing some of my sadness and presenting it as cynical humor.
Yesterday i burst into tears, J and i sat in the cab of the truck crying for an hour.
I think i'd finally reached my limits of TV and billboards that said, “God Bless American, In God We Trust” “Abortion Stops A Beating Heart” or “Freedom Isn't Free. Support Our Troops” The worst of the entire tour was, “My America supports it's troops WHEREEVER they go. No aid or comfort to our enemies. No way!”
J once used the term “Heartsick” when she was describing to me how she sometimes felt about american culture. That's how i feel these days, heartsick. I want to go back to our bubble in Eugene where people touch each other, recycle their waste, and aren't caught in a cycle where they work themselves to death to buy shit they don't need. I felt so much better after i cried for a while.
J and i talked about this later on. What do we do with this? We can't just hide out in Eugene, but the longer we spent out here the unhealthier we feel. I just can't even imagine it anymore, living in this constant barrage of fear-news and advertising and stress.
Of coarse look at me. I'm tooling around to clubs and college campuses driving a gas burning vehicle 10,000 miles to get famous and sell college students shit they don't need. Sigh. So much for right livelihood.
The best we've been able to come with is that it's important for us to live somewhere healthy and it's important for us to get out here and interact with folks who live in this mess. I'm happy to have a little money to live off of, so i can spend my time doing volunteer work, activism, and music.
We've also been trying to live as best we can. We've brought tupperwear everywhere with us and have argued with innumerable hotel and university staff that we wont use their damn styrophom and just put the goddamn burrito in the tupperware.
And those automatic flush toilets, you know, the ones that flush like three times as you try to situate yourself in the stall. I hate those things. In the past 11 states i've been sticking tape over the sensors so people can use the button if they chose to flush. I should print up little stickers that say, “These things waste water” and put those over the sensors. Grrrrr…
Anyway, sorry for the preaching. I'm worn a little thin today.
We did see a few billboards that we thought were funny;
There was this billboard with a hip skater kid holding a bowl of rice and it said, “Rice. Awesome!”
On the same highway was one with this totally pimpin' looking guy, and it said, “I'd slow down if i were you.” He was even winking. Nice.
So anyway, our plan is to stop in Laramie, WY and then probably Twin Falls, ID. Then we'll maybe crash (no, not literally silly) in Portland, then finally Eugene.
…hanging at a high school
I hope you're sitting down.
We've decided to do some more gigs for another week.
Yeah yeah, i know, we're stupid. Oh wait, let me rephrase that in heart-of-now NVC speak. I feel in my heart that i have the idea that we're really stupid… and i feel sad because my need for intelligence isn't being met.
Speaking of intelligence;
We are, and this will come as a shock to you, in another unusual place. Today we're doing a show in a high school, the Illinois Math and Science Academy. The school is a weird mix of… well, pretty normal students, and really freaky staff.
The staff at IMSA are, and i mean this in the strictest Non-Violent Communication sense… fucking crazy.
And paranoid, man are they paranoid.
This morning we walked into the school through a gymnasium entrance. I didn't notice that the doors were locked until a student who happened
to walk up to the door at the same time as us waved his name tag at a sensor. The door unlocked with a loud click. J and i looked at each
other, shrugged, and walked in glibly behind him. [J's note: There's nothing odd about walking into a high school, right? Wrong.] We wandered for a while until we found the front desk. I didn't recognize it at first because it was enclosed in a movable iron cage.
J went up to the woman behind the counter and said, through the bars, can you tell us where to find [our contact for the show]?”
“Are you new students?”
“No, we're doing a show today.”
“But wait, how did you get in the building?”
“We walked into the building through the gym, with a student.”
“Oh my God! A student let you in?”
(as you might imagine, we were a little put off by this point)
“He should have escorted you here.”
“Perhaps he thought we were students.”
“He should have known better!”
(and here J said something that made my heart sing), “You didn't.”
At this point she called in another assistant who explained that we must wear name tags at all times, “and keep them visible at all times.” We must not leave the area of the show without permission, and that we would be escorted to the loading dock. There were signs everywhere, and every one of them used the word 'must'.
The woman behind the iron cage finally started to seem embarrassed by their behavior and started to apologize, over and over. I mean like
every other word was 'sorry', she eventually told me that they were just trying to be “safety conscious”, and here her voice came down to a
whisper, “you know, since 911.”
You would have been proud of me, i didn't shout, “WHAT THE FUCK?”…
…well, in my head i did. I didn't ask her why they thought freedom-hating terrorists would want to blow up a high school in rural Illinois. I didn't even point out that with all of their crazy overblown security, we were able to waltz into their school without even trying very hard. OK, fine, i didn't practice radical honesty or give her reflection either, i just forced a smile and backed away slowly.
The students are pretty chill, basic high school students, maybe a little smarter, maybe a little nerdier. J used to compete against
this school in math tournaments when she was a nerdy brainy high school student. We spent most of the show chatting up the students about Dance Dance Revolution, Anime, and asking subversive questions about why their school needed to be more secure than the pentagon.
Anyway, like i said, we agreed to do another week of this madness. We have another college show in St. Louis on Monday and Tuesday, and one last one on Thursday down in Arkansas. Then we drive BACK to St. Louis and start the long drive back to Oregon.
Why'd we decide to do another week? Hell, i don't know. Mainly it was so we could fill the truck with some of J's parents junk and drive it to Oregon for them. Also we'll make a little more money.
Stupid stupid stupid…
Feb 3rd 05 – 4:30pm; From the show
Rainy day today. We're in South East Missouri State after a whirlwind run from Abilene Texas, up to St. Louis, and now down here. Tonight
we'll be driving to St. Louis. The charm of this trip has worn off, and i'm starting to get sick. I hate music, schools, our fans, and
especially big yellow trucks.
Oh, and i hate loading docks, food courts, and most especially hotels. In short, i'm sick of this. The good news is that we have one week left
and then we'll be heading home.
I do love Wifi though. This school has a wireless network so i can actually send this to y'all right after i write it. Oh and i love J, even after all of these stresses together, we haven't killed each other. And you, i love you, but i hate everything else.
On the way into town we saw a house, which from this point forward i will call 'The Valentine House'. This person really loves valentines day. I mean REALLY loves it. Every inch of their front lawn was covered in hearts, cupids, teddy bears, and red ribbon. The entire HOUSE was covered in red hearts. A sign above the front door screamed, “BE MINE!”
Now i'm not a big proponent of valentines day. I try to show my loved ones that i love them more than once a year. I don't like the whole
capitalistic aspect of Valentine's day, and i bristle at the idea of a mandated heterosexual monogamous couple day. Something like that. Or
maybe i'm just worried that since i'm poly, if i honored valentines day i'd have to write a hundred valentines cards every year (i'm kidding.)
The thing is, let's say you're into valentines day, and let's set aside my deep social-political analysis of the holiday. If i understand it
correctly, you might celebrate Valentine's day by writing “be mine!” onto a heart shaped piece of paper and hand it to the person you're
attracted to (i'm also going to set aside my creeped-outedness at the whole possessive nature of that endeavor, “be mine”, ugh).
Setting all of that aside, what the hell does it mean when you put a giant fucking sign above your door proclaiming to the entire world, “BE
MINE!” I mean is this some sort of request for the largest harem ever? Or is just an offer to the first person who is walking by and thinks to
themselves, “Oh what the heck, why not?”
Maybe i'm just a big scrooge. Bah Humbug.
Feb 4th 05 – 11:30pm – At J's parent's house
Ok i'm in a better mood now. We're relaxing in St. Louis. Yesterday confirmed the cold symptoms that had been building in me, but a good nine hours of sleep has helped some. J and i celebrated Imbolc in our hotel room near the school. We burned candles and had a nice ritual.
Actually i shouldn't say that so casually. We were in a non-smoking room, there was a big sign in our room that said, “This is a non-smoking room, if housekeeping detects any smoking in this room, you will be fined $50.00.” We did it anyway. We nervously snuck candles into the hotel, only to find that we didn't have any matches. J left me there and searched half of the town for flame-making implements. She finally ended up in a bar, which inexplicably didn't have any matches either. But the bartender went around asking customers for some until someone gave J their lighter. It's nice to see the whole community supporting us pagans.
The tour is officially almost over. We have only four more shows left, starting on Monday. Then we have to do a fair amount of traveling around. But then we'll be heading home.