Space Needle City: Car Cramming In The 21st Century, Salsa Lust and Game 6
I remember my parents talking about goofy stuff they did as teenagers. Usually an episode of Happy Days prompted their memory of a Chinese Fire Drill, a particular wedgie or some form of bullying that was accepted back then; pulling down pants, tying shoe laces together, garden variety harassment and sexism. Ah, the good old days. friggin’ hilarious. Not that my folks were unusually mean or intolerant of others. They were from a different world however. The last generation of the old patriarchy. Children of The Greatest Generation just following orders. But by the time they had their own children sitting in front of ABC watching Henry Winkler expertly executing the scam I refer to as a Fonzie Scheme* a social revolution had begun. Mainly, women, the last of our slaves, were being set free. Their knowledge of this perhaps made it all the sweeter to tell us stories of their rambunctious, rebellious, rock n roll days. One of those wacky stunts was the cramming of a car with as many people as possible. This might have been fun to do for entertainment. Having to squeeze The Gourds and all our gear, luggage and merch into a mini-van though certainly lacks any of the goofy tickle of a youthful prank. Absolutely we crack wise with all manner of acerbic observations and unsavory analysis as we do it. Laugh’s are had as often as possible. A running commentary of the absurd runs through just about every situation we encounter. But, the improvisational methods of six men playing a game of tetris in a rental car parking lot at 11pm after having spent the day in Airport smack down mode is not what we would call a good time.
This is the way we operate usually. Like most people we cut cost and try to consolidate ourselves to make it as manageable as possible. Extravagant rock stars we ain’t. We are more like itinerant, semi-famous musical ambassadors from our own reality; secular missionaries devining for the right spot; the sublime point where art meets hoedown. But, in order to get to that hallowed ground we must fold our bodies into a minivan laden with tools of the trade. A pretty good job we did this time. Claude’s keyboard flight case is a big chunk that usually fits in front between the front and middle captain’s chairs laid on its side. Our luggage is laid like bricks on top of it to build an overstuffed wall of suspect structural integrity. The rear we reserve for our cased instruments. The finer tetris game is played back there. Everyman has his own vision of the pack. Generally, though, one must just make it work, somehow. Fortunately JR was going our way to Seattle. He carted jimmy and some of the gear in his truck, freeing up a bit of elbow room for us over in minivan land.
Generally Keith prefers to drive. The front passenger seat is occupied by a smart phone navigator. The rest pile in and continue the free form matching of wits, yammering and waxing vile. Let me say here that these are some of the brightest, most clever men I have ever known. It is truly an honor to be among them. They turn the tedium to tinsel, the boredom to beatnik bounty, the sadness to salty salutation.
An uneventful drive and soundcheck at The Tractor in fabulous Ballard, WA. and JR contacted former Missoula man, Gabe to arrange a place for us to watch game 6 of the Series. We were obviously rootin for The Rangers. We only had a couple of hours before showtime though. I had to have a meal and make a set list in that two hours, oh and try to watch the game. As we walked up the block I could not resist the temptation of my favorite Ballard restaurant, Señor Moose Cafe. I split off with thoughts of guacamole in my future. No TV, to hell with the game. Food=Happy. I saddled up to the bar and ordered my food, a dish called Ptalana, I think, chunks of beef cooked in a mole of various chiles with mashed sweet potatoes and salad. I asked for a side of the hottest salsa. I was given one made from chiles and peanuts, wow, crazy. Well, I wasn’t crazy about it. I wanted a hot, red salsa. But this place is interior Mexico, not my beloved tex-mex or my other beloved New Mexican. And also they sell their salsa’s as an app. I felt like I couldn’t ask for another one without buying the whole round of them. They had an order to go though, in which an order of salsa’s were placed. The guy ended up with too many red salsas for the order and sat it down right in front of me. I stared at that little plastic cup of red salsa during my whole meal. I ran through the questions, Does he know it’s there? Would he miss it? Could I just claim I thought it came with my meal? If possession is 9/10 of the law, then what % is proximity? If it is not really hot then is it even worth it? The small red salsa just sat there both mocking and entertaining me. I actually said good bye to it after I paid. I know it seems pitifully polite, or worse passive, this lack of gumption from a man who is not afraid to gyrate like a Solid Gold Dancer on stage. Perhaps I could be accused of running my own Fonzie Scheme. But, I have those moments like everybody else, I presume, when I just don’t want to be a bother. I didn’t want to seem like I was asking for something free twice.
I went to catch the end of the game afterwards. That game 6, I am assuming you all know about? If you don’t go and look it up. Texas Rangers v St. Louis Cardinals 2011 World Series. Go ahead, We’ll wait……Ok, so, yeah The Rangers had many chances to win the whole world series and could not get it done. So, heartbreakingly close they were. Former hero’s became goats before our eyes. I guess we all knew there was little chance they could come back and win in game 7 after that kind of loss. Card’s on the other hand could not lose game 7 at home after that. I think the rain out helped the Cards more than the Rangers. And home field of course was huge. I have always like Pujols. And of course I am happy for the great Lance Berkman. He deserves it more than anybody on that team. LaRussa, though, can go suck a sow’s ass. There I said it.
After Jackrabbit brought the good stuff for their hometown crowd we took the stage and refused to talk about what had just happened to our team. Much like The Rangers though, we played our asses off. A very different feeling from the previous night in Portland. We were absolutely on fire. From beginning to end we pounded it, laying utter waste to the tractor. Great show by any measure.
*Fonzie Scheme-when a person convinces everyone they are way cooler than they actually are. Ex. Michael Richards, Ashton Kucher, Napolean Bonaparte.