Today is a travel day, so I only really remember the bookends. I-10 through the panhandle has trees so it’s not unpretty, but its unvarying terrain renders it pretty unmemorable. Still, another seven hour day in the van. We saw none of the depressing insanity the Top Gear crew saw on their journey through the deep South, but then we had been warned by locals the night before to stay on the highway and stop only in the bigger towns, which we did.
Upon reflection I don’t think we thrive on days without a show to focus us, because once again this is where, in the admittedly minor way Wussy has, the wheels started to come off. It’s also true that we had all reached a certain level of weariness. Anyway, the night before a small schism had arisen as to what we should do this day. Certain factions really, really wanted to go to the beach, particularly Pensacola, while others thought we should go straight on through to Mobile and then they could go to a beach. After the show we went to our hotel in Jacksonville, which was a Radisson, where they have Sleep Number beds. * Apparently, Lisa’s bed got over-filled because she woke up barely able to move. She said she felt like she had been hit in the back with a baseball bat. So when she rolled out of bed and began to crawl across the floor like the one green army man who wasn’t supposed to stand, and thus in a small way is the only one that doesn’t piss you off, I, though not without sympathy, saw how this morning was going to go and took the steps to the lobby where I intended to stay until departure. You can think me an asshole, that’s fine, but I’m not new either and any help I could offer was still several hours away. When the last prisoner of rocknroll queued up for the van I went upstairs, quickly gathered my things, and we trundled off to Mobile.
We got in around dinner time, recipient of two free rooms from the generous and refined Mssr. Cam. The hotel, classic in that faded belle way the South does better than anywhere, had once played host to Bob Hope, and Elvis. We went to a small restaurant called the Mediterranean Sandwich Company, which would be excellent in any city. Unfortunately, shortly after dinner while walking around with John and Joe, I was stricken by a cataclysmic case of butt barf. I felt like hell but also was pissed that I was sick on a night off in a town I’d never been in. So in the first of a series of poor decisions, and after a brief recuperation, the three of us decided to go out for drinks at what would appear to be the chi-chi restaurant in town, called the Noble South. I went to put on pants because I believe in elegance, and with a sinking feeling realized I had left my shoes in the Jacksonville hotel. The downside of hiding out in the lobby and then hurriedly packing is this. Or maybe it’s Karma. I say let’s not bring large spiritual cycles into a forgotten pair of shoes. Not even Hemmingway’s baby shoes. The problem is that my orthotic insoles (The fruit of a decade wearing ill-fitting Doc Martins I believe. Damn you the ‘90’s!) were in them so I couldn’t even wear my jogging shoes. This is a big problem because I have very strict rules about footwear on the stage. Bare feet are unacceptable, but in some ways sandals, or God forbid Birckenstocks, are even worse. And sandals are all I have now. In the back of my mind I’m thinking we may have to cancel the show, but it isn’t until tomorrow so I wear my fucking Teva’s to the cool kids restaurant.
And it was weird because as we sat at the bar we noticed that the patrons of the restaurant possessed the uniformity of a WPA reforestation project. All of them were white women in their late twenties, had long straight hair, and wore pastels. There were two male JC Penny catalog models at one table, otherwise the only other men were three bald guys eating dinner and acting in a dignifiedly non-lecherous manner at the bar. Anyway, because I was doing the exact opposite of what my body required I made a concession and got fancy cocktails that seemed restorative. Such as the French 76, which contained Kettle One, lemon, St. Germain, Champagne, and a twist. It was delicious and well worth the mockery. Then I followed it with a Pimm’s Cup, which has Ginger Beer in it and thus is designed to be soothing.
* Sleep Number Beds suck. I’m not sure the technology but it feels as if there is a big bladder inside that fills up with air depending on how long you press the up button. Thus explaining Lisa’s assertion that she felt like she was sleeping on a turtle’s back. If you don’t fill it up you get swallowed in the sinkhole. Might as well just buy a damn waterbed.