Animals: Stellar’s Jay
“The antichrist’s apple tree” – from a screed handed to us by a woman who believed pretty much all technology – including having your picture taken – were tools of Satan.
“It’s like biting into a salamander.”
SIARPC: Don Wrinkles
We had to get up and get going because we were due to be at KEXP by 10:00 for a live broadcast performance. I’m sure I rhapsodized the last time about everything KEXP has done for us so I will keep it brief by saying they are one of the handful of entities that have helped us so much our little career is unimaginable without them.
I once applied for a job because I wanted to know what was behind the employee’s only door*. I need to know what’s around the corner. It’s a compulsion and drives most of the wandering that requires the band to text me and say it’s time to go. So I get a thrill seeing behind the scenes of arguably the best radio station in the country. When you walk through the load-in door the hallway splits to the left and right like you’re at home plate and are about as half as wide as a hotel hallways are. The walls are unsurprisingly covered with signed posters of bands broken up and unknown to me. Lots of interns in their twenties sit at computers wearing clothes I’d look like an idiot in. The room we play in is dorm room sized and if you’re curious you can see it on their youtube videos. It’s pretty damn exciting to be wearing headphones, with 3 crouching people holding video cameras, knowing that for better or worse what you play is being broadcast all over the country.
And as we were leaving King Buzzo from the Melvins was walking in for a solo segment he was going to record. I didn’t know enough about his band to introduce myself but Chuck and Lisa got their picture taken with him. He was very gracious and possessed truly magnificent hair.
Afterwards we went to the Portage Bay Café’. I don’t get the sense anyone wants to hear about meals but it was lovely. Oh, and I had sipping chocolate at a place around the corner. Yes, I just say yes to this. I split of from the band because who wouldn’t, got some Seattle coffee to see what the fuss is about, and walked to the Pier. Good touristy shit.
I got back to the van about a half an hour before everyone else so decided to hang in the park across the street from KEXP. Almost all the benches were taken by sleeping bums but one in particular was snoring in an epic, echoing fashion that was as impressive as it was worrying. I sat as far a way from him as possible. In a few minutes a toothless elderly woman with gray hair sticking up Don King style came cackling up the walk. Now I like to pretend I’m a good liberal man of the people, but unpredictable folk tend to make me flee. I put my sunglasses and hat back on and prepared to go as she was making a beeline for me, but she had such joy in her laughter and a healthy looking little dog trotting around her feet that I took a breath and tamped down my instinct and waited for her. She sat down and said, “What are you doing sleeping on benches snoring like that?” “What? That wasn’t me, that was a guy over there.” And by now she’s bent double laughing, “Did you hear that? He calling the cows home that one. Oh my oh my…. I ain’t been with a man in a long time but I sure as hell wouldn’t sleep next to that!” After a bit when we’d exhausted that topic she sighed and said, “I was just heading out to get my one beer for the day.” Me, “That sounds like a good idea, you should go right on and do that.” “Aww hell, I’m too broke.” Now I’m not new, I know a good play when I see one, but I told her I’d be happy to buy her a beer. As I reached into my pocket she said, “You’re going to fund that?” “Sure, why not?” “I ain’t asking for money.” “I know, I want you to have that beer.”
It was a sweet exchange but I think that’ll be it for talking to strangers for awhile.
* I got the job, fell in love with my future ex-wife, met a woman who upon returning from her honeymoon was diagnosed with brain cancer, worked with a gay co-worker for the first time, (I’m from a small town) and for a brief time had an adopted family full of love and drama that must mean I was in my twenties.