On the Road Again

The night before we left town for the second leg of the tour, Matt called to make sure I would be there at 7:30 sharp so we could leave at 8 sharp.  Mary told me not to hustle to much because we almost never leave on time.  However, I err’d on the side of caution and got theree right at 7:30am.  Apparently there was some delay with the truck we were taking on this leg of the tour and it might be a little while before we could leave…

8 hours later we were on our way to Pennsylvania on what turned out to be a 36 hour bus ride.  We pulled in to our motel at 5:30 am – 2 days after we left. Needless to say we were a little tired.

And on drums… Derwood Lesh

Today turns out to be Der’s birthday.  Der is short for Derwood Lesh.  He’s the drummer in our band and long time friend to Matt (producer, director, bus driver…)To celebrate Der’s birthday we went to Patrick’s Restaurant & Lounge for dinner.  There was a poker tournament in progress and several of the guys bought in and played.  It wasn’t long at all before our fearless leader returned wearing fuzzy consolation dice around his neck.

The atmosphere was wonderful in this little pub and we all enjoyed each other’s company as we talked for hours.
One by one the boys who had bought into the game returned to us.  Every one of them – except Paul.
Paul as it turns out is quite a card player and he was in it till the very end.

As Paul battled it out with the rest of the locals.  The staff brought out a piece of cake for Der and sang Happy birthday in about 4 different keys at the same time.

Matt bought everyone a drink and we all rose a glass and toasted our friend Der.
Matt also took this opportunity to tell us that although he had yelled at everyone over the course of the past few days that he was glad to have us all along for the ride.  This was the closest thing to an apology we were ever likely to receive and whether he meant it that way or not was debatable, but in a way it offered a little bit of closure for us all and at least for me put things right again.
As the night went on the Men all sang a song from the show called Shenandoah to the delight of everyone.  Especially me since I knew from the start that they had started it about a third too high and poor Steven would be reaching notes only dolphins could hear.
It was a very manly evening there singing and drinking with everyone.  It helped to drowned out longings for home a little.
By the end of the night Paul had come away the winner of the Poker tournament.  He won a poker table top which will be fun on the bus, except now that we all know that Paul’s such a card shark; no one will want to play with him.  I mean – Would you feel comfortable playing poker with a man who brings his own poker table with him?
When I got back to my room Lauren, Lydia and aLicia all came in and we talked about everything under the sun.  It struck me that in my normal life I would never be able to spend this much time talking to anyone and it has been a delight to get to know them all.
At about 2pm we all decided to call it a night and everyone went home.  But I couldn’t sleep so I turned on to the TV and checked my email.  There was a beautiful email from Mary back home.
She wrote that although she was doing fine, she didn’t feel complete and I must say I concur.  It hasn’t been very long yet, but I have had an ever present feeling that I just wasn’t whole.
When two people get married it is the joining of two into one and I am beginning to feel a lot of guilt at having separated us this much for so long.
If I keep real busy and talk to people and party and play games I can mask that emptiness a little, but there is still a voice inside of me asking where Mary is.  The voice is not unlike my son’s in that it is incapable of understanding why there is so much distance between us and why I can’t come home RIGHT NOW.  I try in vain to reason with myself that it is a matter of practicality and that the money and new experiences are somehow worth some sacrifice.  There is no silencing that voice within.
I can only try to see this through and know that although the distance is hard; our love is strong enough to weather this and much much more if necessary.

The Meeting and Dark Travel

Day 2 was now over and sleep and food had been in short supply.  One thing that hadn’t been in short supply was whining, griping and complaining about communication and food and on and on.  Of course everyone has their own set of beefs with how things are being handled.  Most of the concerns are completely substantiated and needed to be addressed.
Well at noon, or Director, Producer, Writer, Talent and Bus Driver, Matt decided it was time to address them.

Matt gathered us all together and laid into us all with as many expletives as were possible.  This went on for a couple of minutes and I’ll need to paraphrase a little to convey to you the jist of what he was trying to say.

Basically he told us we were on our own for meals and that if we were hungry we needed to find a solution on our own instead of depending on him to appoint meal locations and times.  His biggest beef was that we had all whined about it over and over, but hadn’t actively tried to be a part of the solution.  This was what got him angry.

These are the first days of a close symbiotic relationship between 16 very different people and we are all working out how, where and when to be.  Now that he had said we needed to fend for ourselves we all know we are responsible for finding our food either by ordering Pizza or stashing granola bars or what not.

His point about whining was also a very good one.  We had all gotten pretty negative.  HOWEVER – The stern cussing out we all endured was, in my mind, uncalled for.  Steven got up and left and I considered it – as did most of us.

I stayed because I could tell Matt was genuinely ticked off and maybe even hurt.  From his perspective, he’s doing EVERYTHING and trying his hardest to make everything work and we’re just complaining about how bad a job he’s been doing, so I can see how he might be upset.

That being said, I don’t know if many of us would put up with another verbal thrashing like we received today.

With no generator there was no electricity or lights or air-conditioning on the bus.  We were forced to travel with the windows open and lights off.  As long as the bus was moving it was actually very nice to have the cool breezes of Alabama and Tennessee floating by.

The lack of electricity meant that when batteries died as they tend to do on a 9 hour bus ride, we had to resort to talking to one another for entertainment.

I spent a couple of hours talking to our new bass player Lauren.  I learned all sorts of things about her that – had I been buried in my laptop I would have missed out on.  It’s nice when circumstances pull the plug and cause you to get back in touch with where you are.

Now, as it was getting dark I settle back in my seat and called Mary to check on how things were back home.  She seemed good and I was feeling better about being trapped out on the road being cussed out and sleep deprived.

Then, I talked to my boy.  There’s really nothing quite like hearing your own offspring talking to you from thousands of miles away.  He was bright and cheery and sounded genuinely excited to talk to me.  I started to loose it on his second sentence.  Or conversation went something like this.

Where are you daddy?
Well, I’m in Alabama sweaty.
I don’t know where that is.
Well, it’s pretty far away.  About a thousand miles.
Are you coming home?
Well, I’m afraid it’s going to be awhile sweetie.
Are you coming tomorrow?
Well, no.  I’ll be home after Halloween.

At this point Max started to cry and it was hard to tell exactly what he was saying, but I could tell he was upset and I think he may have thought I was telling him he couldn’t dress up for Halloween.  He started to cry and say he wanted to be Pablo and dress up like a Penguin.  I was a mess at this point and couldn’t talk anymore.

Mary took the phone back and asked me if I was okay.

I wasn’t.  I’m still not.

In the back ground I heard him saying I broke his heart.  I know it was 8:30 or so and he was past his bedtime and therefore prone to dramatics due to his need of sleep.  I also knew that he missed me and I missed him.  He wanted me there and I couldn’t be.

I thought I was doing alright, but apparently not.