Sunday, May 25, 2008

St. Louis

11:38 AM

Feeling somewhat better, though my throat feels like I swallowed a handful of open safety pins. I barely slept last night. As soon as I return home, the g-friend is forcing me to go to the doctor to see if I indeed have Lyme disease. Fucking ticks. When we evaluate the symptoms, it looks grim for your protagonist: flu-like symptoms, soar neck, insomnia, irritation at tick bite, just no bull’s eye. Apparently the bull’s eye appears in 50% of cases. Sweet. I am fucked by a centimeter in diameter arachnid. Or insect. Or whatever.

Our hotel experiences the past 24 have been amusing. Jamie claims we’re missing out on the true nature of touring by evading staying at kid’s houses and opting for the safe normalcy of hotels. Last night proved more interesting than any house we stayed at on this tour.

We stayed at a Super 8 in Litchfield, IL. The room was cramped with a general filth about it. Ants swarmed the bathroom tile floor and cracked tub. Some ventured out into the room by the desk and the bedside table. We could look past those flaws though: the room was $50 and we were exhausted after a long of day of sitting in a Laundromat reading Spin magazine.

So we’re watching TV, probably Sport’s Center since I am in a band of jocks. I get up to swallow some sinus medicine, when I hear voices in the hallway. It struck me as strange, seeing as how one normally does not hear talking at 1:30 AM in the halls of a motel. Someone muted the TV. We hear, “Someone help. Help!” More indiscernible words. We tiptoe to the door, hoping it is locked. We hear a female voice, and a male voice, with words and phrases appearing from the din: “TV,” “knife,” “money,” “prank.”

At first, I think it’s two people cracked out on meth that roam the motel halls. It begins to sound like there is a struggle. We hear the woman say, “It’s all a prank. This is for MTV. The show Punk’d. Ashton Kutcher is right outside. It’s all for an MTV show.” We’re thoroughly confused and unsure how to proceed.

We hear another man and another woman. He asks, “What’s your name?” She responds, “Elizabeth Taylor.” “How old are you?” “21.” Then the first guy says, “She took money from me. She robbed me. She has a knife.” “No, no!” she shouts. “It’s all a prank. It’s for Ashton Kutcher. He’s in his car outside with Demi Moore. I don’t have a knife.”

More ruckus ensues. The other woman calmly says, “I want her brought up on assault charges. I have bruises all over me.” Then we hear a police officer, then cuffs clinking. He says, “I see a knife on the floor, is that hers?” Then he asks, “Where is the money?” followed by “Put your clothes back on.” Someone then explains, “She worked here as a clerk at the beginning of the year and was fired for stealing from the rooms.” The office asks her, “What have you ingested?” She answers, “Just a few beers, that’s all.” Then everyone is gone and all is quiet.

Later on I awoke at 5 AM and could not fall back asleep. The people upstairs made an awful calamity. Perhaps they raced horses around the room or set up a makeshift bowling alley. The TV then switched on just in time for a George W. Bush commercial. Ghosts of dead Republicans trying to brainwash us into voting for their boy? One can only wonder.

3:27 PM

Completely and utterly fucked. The sinus medication has ruined me. Everything spins and swirls. I can’t see straight. I can’t think straight. St. Louis is hot. I’m in a T-shirt and sweating. We ate at a small bagel place called Meshuggah in a hip area. Cue 7/5 time mosh here. The girl cut me a deal on my peanut butter and jelly bagel. Why are the girls cutting me deals? I look like a car wreck. I did shave today, but I’ve worn this Q and Not U shirt at least the past eight days. I’ve worn these jeans two weeks, the boxers with the dogs on them for at least five days and the argyle socks two days. I draw the line at the socks.

6:22 PM

Just ate falafel that completely devastated my stomach. No need to eat anything more today. We hung out with an old friend of Matt’s at the mall. He works in a funeral parlor. He offered lots of gruesome stories. For instance, they superglue the cadaver’s lips shut. When someone donates organs, the corpse is hung from the back of the neck on a meat hook. When fluids are drained, sometimes it leaks out of the eyes. He said his boss constantly jokes with him, asking him to stick pins into the dead bodies’ hands or having him handle the dead babies. Fuck food.

7:55 PM

I’m sitting on the curb outside of the venue. This is a super DIY arts space here in St. Louis. I prefer these spaces. There’s more space than a basement, though not as big as a hall and nowhere near as shitty or cliché as smoke-filled bar or club. They’re run for and by the kids. Sure, the PA might suck and there might not be enough power for the amps. But this feels a little more like home. I lifted Jamie’s amp and carried it inside. I felt hemorrhoids brewing in my groin, muscles popping in my shoulders and a tearing in my side. I’m a wimp.

St. Louis is an interesting place. We’re in the economically disadvantaged area, which the locals say is becoming gentrified. I see African-Americans, white punks and bohemians- indeed, the cycle commences. What can you do? Rents soar in “white” areas. So poor whites move into poor black regions. The more financially well-off white folks see that the area isn’t so dangerous and begin moving in, along with their cafes, restaurants, cars, art galleries and boutique clothing shops. Then the chain stores roll in. The original non-white inhabitants can no longer afford the rent and move out. What can be done? Big issue, one that I am no about to solve on this curb.