Saturday, January 25, 2014

Why Being At Home Is No Proof Against Being On The Road

I am constantly in motion. Even if I'm sitting on the couch at home as I am now, just pecking away at my laptop's keyboard, I'm always in motion - or maybe it's just the shakes from too much caffeine. No, seriously. I'm always in motion, going somewhere or getting ready to go somewhere. Let's face it, Port Angeles is an isolated community, and going anywhere is always a chore. Getting paid to do it makes it easier, but not as much as you might think.

Case in point: After another drab week at the Atlantis, I froze my tuckus off driving home, this time rolling home through the Sierras of California because old Calvin wanted me to buy him some liquor. Thanks to All-Star Liquors of Holbrook, CA for helping me keep the old fart soused. Later on in the trip I came to something of a revelation, discovering the true meaning of irony as I pulled off of I-5 to eat a messy Chipotle burrito in a parking lot in Lacey, and only after finishing said burrito did I look up and realize that I was in the parking lot of a Taco Time.

And after dropping Calvin's liquor for him, he made me an offer I couldn't really afford to refuse, asking me to come back down the following Friday to play drums for Powerlight for a show at a bar in Federal Way whose name I shall not mention. This was going to be something of an all-star show for the band, as old pals Curtis Seals and John Studamire would come out of the woodwork to play keyboard and bass for Calvin and Jackie. Joy wasn't feeling all that well, but decided that she just couldn't let me travel back down to Tacoma by myself.

And she also wouldn't let me leave on time, either - forgetting this and that, she wasn't fully ready to leave town until just past four in the afternoon. And did I forget to mention that this show was supposed to start at seven? We made it to the bar at just a tick past six, and I wasn't worried about much anything. Y'see, Calvin told me that I didn't have to bring much anything, other than my sticks and my suit because he was setting up his Roland TD-8 electronic kit for this particular show. His hope was that this show would potentially lead to a house-band gig that would nicely supplement my income from Steppen Stonz, playing anywhere from two to four nights a week a couple of weeks out of every month. That said, hope doesn't feed the cat. And neither does what I saw as I walked into the bar.

There was nothing set up on the bar's tiny stage. NOTHING.

Needless to say, I was a bit confused. I got back into the truck, and Joy and I went over to Calvin's house - he wasn't home. Curtis was there, however - and he seemed completely unaware that there was a gig to be played tonight. Joy and I both called Calvin's celly, and he called Joy back first for some reason. She handed me the phone, and he informed me that the gig had been cancelled the day before. He apologized to me for his failing to contact me about this little oversight, and asked me to stick around for a few minutes while he and Jackie returned from the grocery store to talk a little business. There was a little business talked, and he gave me twenty bucks to help defray my gas costs before we left for home.

After a quick dinner at a Taco Time in Tacoma (Joy is just obsessed with Taco Time - I can't stand their food), we headed north to explore a place I'd only heard about in the last few days, The Point Casino just outside Kingston, just a few miles past where we'd turn off to take the Hood Canal Floating Bridge back to the Olympic Peninsula. Owned and operated by the Port Gamble branch of the S'Klallam Tribe, The Point is a nice enough place with a nice little live-music venue they call The Boom Room. Too bad that the band playing there last night sucked out loud - two singers with varying degrees of talent trying to sing Pearl Jam together made me want to storm the stage and start stabbing people. Joy and I met their drummer, and he seemed a nice enough guy, though he clearly wasn't happy at having to play quietly. At least he dressed professionally - if only the rest of the band looked as good. I texted Curtis (can't text Calvin's celly for some reason), said 'we should be playing here'. We'd have owned the place. After leaving Kingston, Joy bascially browbeat me into taking her to the Central Market in Poulsbo before we headed home so she could browse a while and pick up a few snacks, and we didn't make it home until well after three in the morning.

Pulling up to the house, I wrote my mileage into the logbook - just over 250 miles for pretty much nothing. Forty bucks in gas down the tubes, and the twenty Calvin gave me went to the dinner in Tacoma. But we talked business, and that made the entire trip tax-deductible. And looking on the bright side, I won ten bucks at The Point. I wouldn't mind playing there, or even just going back to dine and/or gamble there. But I can't afford wasted trips like that. And I don't think I'll be playing local gigs here in PA anytime soon. The silence that's descended upon this town after Ron DeFrang's passing is deafening.

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