Thursday, June 26, 2008


For those considering a 2-day Greyhound bus trip, allow me to advise against it. The boredom didn't bother me; I read, I listened to a lecture series released by the Teaching Company about Nietzsche, I napped, and I contemplated. The physical discomfort, on the other hand, is a severe bummer. My legs cramped, my knees became sore, and sleeping for any length of time required Nyquil, which I hated. I rarely take medicine designed to treat symptoms (other than for allergies), partially because I don't like the idea of it but mostly because I prefer to try to listen to what my body is telling me and address the underlying cause. I rarely get headaches, but if I do, it probably means I haven't been eating right, sleeping enough, or doing enough to relieve stress; if I can't sleep, I get up and do something else for a while until I feel tired, and, for the week or so each year that I have insomnia, I try to really deal with whatever emotional issue is getting in the way; if I'm tired, that means I need to sleep more or get more exercise while I'm awake, so I don't use caffeine to artificially wake me up. But on the bus if I didn't use Nyquil, I would have slept in shallow 20-minute intervals and been a total wreck. But perhaps the most bummerific consequence of the long ride was that after spending 2 days sitting down, our ankles and feet were disgustingly swollen. After the first few weeks of the trip, Sean and I were pretty psyched about our legs. Sean, particularly, takes his lower-body physique pretty seriously, and my personal theory is that vanity is more often the reason for leg-shaving among cyclists than performance. So I was upset and Sean was crushed to see our fat ankles, the tops of our feet spilling out of our shoes. Luckily, after several nights of prone slumber, our pedial shapeliness has returned.

The next Greyhound-associated snag was  the fact that our bikes did not make it to Seattle as quickly as we did. In the middle of the night in Billings, MT, there were too many people waiting to get on the bus so they split up the group and added a second bus. We stayed on the same bus but our bikes didn't. We were told that our bikes would arrive on the next bus, so, per the suggestion of my buddy Vibe (Jennette, if you are reading this, I'm sorry), we wandered in the direction of Capitol Hill in search of vegan food. We had some pretty decent pizza and met up with Vibe, who generously walked us back to his swanky, kitten-filled apartment where we showered, did laundry, and watched TiVo  with him and his girlfriend, both of whom were very gracious hosts when it turned out that our bikes were not on the next bus and we decided to stay there for the night instead of heading up to the U district, since they live closer to the Greyhound terminal. 

The next day we walked back to the dirty dog where our bikes had finally arrived, re-assembled them, and rode to Hillside Quickie's where we enjoyed sandwiches and the company of Danny and his badass car from the late 1950s. Danny has seen better days, and it's always a bummer to run into a friend who is not at his best, but it was still nice to catch up. Not being able to immediately cure my friends' emotional ailments has always made me feel like a terrible friend. If you've ever gotten unsolicited advice from me, now you know why.

After a few hours of killing time in the U district, we rode to the screen printing shop where the merch magic happens for every hardcore band in the northwest and folded shirts late into the night with Ace and assorted cameos by legitimate bros allstars, all of whom have nicknames that are similarly idiosyncratic to NW hardcore. Ace claims that he is not in the habit of waiting until the night before tour to print several hundred shirts, but being no stranger to the concept of punk time, I suspect that this was not the first time things have been pushed to the last minute, nor will it be the last.

We slept that night at the Bro Dangler - an historic punk house known (by me, at least) for the prolificness (prolificity?) of its hardcore-playing inhabitants - and spent the next day getting in the way of On's tour preparations. I ran into a handful of tour-friends, which is always a good time, made a few new ones, and ate too much food. After On left and Roger and RJ returned to their respective homes we found ourselves alone at the Dangler with an evening to kill and a sizable collection of VHS tapes. I'm not generally the type to speak celebratorily about the wonders of punk rock and hardcore, but I must say that you don't tend to get this kind of treatment in many other circles that I've experienced. This was, in fact, exactly what Chicago was missing (although it turns out that we had a contact of this sort in Chicago, we just didn't get in contact with her until it was too late). I'm used to showing up in nearly any major city and having a friend of a friend who is not only willing to let me crash on the couch but actually treats me like an old friend upon first acquaintance, and as thankful as I am for the hospitality of Bill and Ben in Chicago, there is a unique character to the welcome you tend to receive at a punk house. Though I've known Ace for several years, we don't know each other especially well, as our friendship, if it can be called that, has consisted mostly of running into each other at a handful of his band's shows, and I had never met any of his roommates  before yesterday. Nonetheless, when 3/4 of the house left for tour (including Ace, the only person who actually knew who I was), Beej showed us where a key was hidden and we were welcomed to stay as long as we wanted. This is pretty much the usual treatment in my experience, and it's pretty easy to take it for granted.

1 comment:

Nathan X Lane said...

Those teaching lectures on him are HILARIOUS!

"I have something I must admit...I-am-in-love-Nietzsche"

Great blog brah.