Time To Split


Day Sixteen.

 

When I started writing this, I wrote "Day Fifteen” at the top and had to double-check. I have officially lost track of the passage of time. We've just pulled into Sacramento. The bus is idling outside of Harlow's. Someone is plucking at an acoustic guitar at one end of the bus- I can't tell which. Our anointed crew is hard at work assembling our battle stations. I am recluding ("reclude” being the verb form of "recluse,” which is definitely a real word that I totally didn't just make up right now) in my bunk and trying to get this here entry started. I need a haircut. I need to eat lunch. I need a nap. I wonder which of these things I'll be forced to neglect. I wonder if I will accomplish any of them. Lunch is probably safe. In fact, I'm going to get lunch now.


I attempt to roll out of my bunk, become entangled in a web of headphone and power cables, and utter a stream of compound profanities. I right myself and make my way off the bus.


I look for sushi. The streets are all letters and numbers. They are lined with an unusual mix of palm trees and less exotic varieties which I lack the botanical knowledge to identify. It looks like December outside, but it feels like early March. I walk past a row of colorful houses. Past a Starbucks. Past a few hundred thrift stores. Past a barber shop...


In a way, this stretch of J street in Sacramento reminds me of Magazine in New Orleans- the square, tree-lined blocks, the low-set buildings, the mishmosh of commercial and residential real estate- who knows? Maybe I'm just homesick. We've come so far, and yet we have so much further still to go. It occurs to me how cushioned I have been from the rigors of touring in recent months. We haven't spent much more than a week away from home since September. I've gone soft. I'm getting old.


Back in the day, we'd go out for three weeks, come home for a couple of days, and leave again for a month. We crashed on couches and floors, tapping old family friends and occasionally trusting random strangers we met after the show not to murder us in our sleep. Made some damn good friends that way.  When we got desperate, we'd splurge on a hotel room or two and double up in beds. How soon we forget. We once made this same trip with just six of us in a van, doing everything ourselves. This time around, we did most of the traveling in our sleep, and I'm acting like it's the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.


Still, despite the tenor of this entry, I have to say that this has been an extremely enjoyable tour. I think that my efforts to document it, whether through minute accountings or rambling non-sequitur, have kept me centered to a degree. I've been more focused on the things that I find rewarding about this strange life we live out here on the Road- capital R- and all of the things we do and the people that we meet and the challenges and triumphs and heartbreaks and seriously you guys what is up with Ace Hardware? It's always like "Ace Hardware by Stevenson's Drug Store,” or "Ace Hardware and also a Jamba Juice.” And who the fuck is Harry?


Anyway. Listen to me, speaking about the present in past tense. We're in Sacramento tonight. Three more after that. Let's go.