No that's not a real fireplace. Did you read the Day 3 entry?

Wednesday (!), February 27, 2008
Justin's House, Astoria, NY

It's late and I know that I'm cheating on timing on this. I'm sorry, it won't happen again. In fact I'm a few days (including one dentist appointment) away from these few days that we spent out on the road. But not so removed that the quiet gauze of false memory has settled over what really went down. Oh no.

Turns out I got the breakfast I was looking for on Sunday morning. Well, mostly anyway. Thad and I got our act together and checked out of that junky nonsense of a motel and, after a few minutes on the Takonic Parkway, hit a diner. There we experienced what must be an enduring tension in the non-cosmopolitan places of the USA that don't have anything like their own Craigslist: They realize that they must appeal to the broader American palette, the taste buds that now buy more salsa annually than catsup. So, as the managers of thousands of small diners across the US decide one by one, they will put a Mexican omelet on their menu.

And yet ... and yet. And yet, as Mitt Romney could not convincingly pull off any reference to 'bling', these hideaways of cheap comfort food are not what could be called 'ethnic'. They are well buttered Wonder and Tropicana and coffee that tastes pretty good and just keeps coming. Still, Thad and I felt relaxed and each made the mistake of getting the Mexican breakfast special. We reasoned that the cruel results of free trade actually made it very likely that the person cooking the food could honestly cop to the nationality we were ordering. But we got Velveeta injected eggs dumped with cold Tostido's salsa (medium) and were expected to close our eyes, take a big bite and think of Comandante Marcos. Pero no sirve.

Still, the coffee met/exceeded reasonable hope and we were fueled and off to Boston. The ride up the Taconic to the Mass Pike was quite beautiful - the kind of thing that makes you think "this would really be a special thing if it wasn't spoiled by the road I'm enjoying it on." Fortunately, at 59 mph, those thoughts are fleeting. Rolled into Boston at about 4PM and hit the club.

And what, my friend, do you think was waiting for us as we entered the venue? Thad and I, jetting away from two wives and three kids between us to play loud rock to the rock crowd over a long weekend? Fate, she likes her lessons subtle and smarting. 'Cause Thad and I walked into a bar of 'punk rock families' - hipster/sexy moms, dads with thick glasses and male pattern baldness and lots and lots of cute kids: all swarming the place to see three or four kid-oriented rock bands. The kid crown was REAL young - 1 year to maybe 5. In other words, pretty much the age range of the kids that Thad and I had abandoned for the weekend. The guy running the door said 'come back and load in at 7' with a you-guys-have-NO-idea look. I tried to give him a you-have-no-idea-how-much-of-an-idea-we-really-have look, but even I couldn't figure out what that would be. We left.

After a trip to the local indie movie house to catch whatever was starting right as we showed up (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)(two and a half AP stars), we got back, brought our stuff in and got settled. An hour and a half later - and after local Boston killers Disappearer powered though their very good and muscular set - Thad and I were comfortably on stage. The crowd was fair; Thad remarked later that after we ripped through the first and second song, it was like "if you guys didn't like that, I can tell you now it's not going to get any better". Still, some nice folks told us later they really liked it as they held their new Genghis Tron t-shirts. Boy does that band know how to move product. We each spotted them passing horse-choking wads of bills back and forth. My guess is that the early crowd had the later crowd fully beat in the enthusiasm department.

Then came my least favorite part of the trip. I'll keep it short since you've been nice enough to read this far: I locked the keys in the car. We were loading the trailer, I got too wrapped up in paying attention to many different things quickly, I was switching shirts and talking to someone while I closed the trunk ... I locked the keys in the car. To my everlasting gratitude, Thad (it was now about 1 in the morning and Thad had agreed to get the kids back in Brooklyn when they started to wake up around 6:30) quietly noted the problem and offered to keep loading amps out of the club while I called AAA. So I did, pretty much totally losing my shit in the process - emptying my pockets (wallet, ipod, phone) onto the bench of a bus stop and leaving them there for 5 minutes, mumbling "idiot idiot IDIOT" to myself, aggressively staring into the back of the car to where I KNEW that the key was. AAA showed up and got us in, Thad navigated my psychosis to find the key and after a few hugs with GT and Steve, we were ready to go.

Jesus I am dumb sometimes.

So Thad tried to bank some sleep in the back as I nailed it back to NYC. There were a few moments of lane drifting but I got us about 3 hours before I had to call quits. My bandmate did the final stretch and we were back home.

Good to see the family, good to tend back to work, good to do laundry. But there really was a point on Monday when I quickly, fleetingly was aware that we were not playing a show that night. This made me feel quickly sad about the day. It didn't last, but it was there.

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