We were sleeping at this guy Jay’s. It was an alright place, with some minor oddities. The shower was in the kitchen, almost every door was a sliding door, there was a mysterious loft that Sam slept in. These were perhaps just odd because of how quickly we were in and out of the place. We packed up and drove off, first to a US Bank, then to get a coffee. We were at this coffee joint for a long time. I was actually sitting in the van, chatting on the phone with Ian. And the boys weren’t in the coffee shop, they were off talking, I predict it was about the dour future.
We got an oil change, and as we studied our route we realized something. Our show that evening was in Tempe, which is right near Phoenix. The next night’s show was in Tucscon, which was actually 100 miles in the wrong direction – because the show after was L.A. We wondered why it was this way – and we confirmed that there was indeed no error.
Then I figured: since there was no guarantee in Tucson, and since there was just a potential to lose some money and time in that backtrack, why don’t we cancel the Tucson show, play Tempe, and then just blast into L.A. There was a flutter of thought about this, followed by an enthusiasm, and a joy. The previous shows had been rough on the boys, as well as for me, for a variety of reasons. Max called Nate and asked about it. After a few minutes of negotiating, it was a done deal.
Everyone was more ecstatic that I’d seen them on the entire tour. Which isn’t to say it’d been an unhappy time all round. But the idea of our desires and the coming events actually coinciding or coalescing was incredible – we’d taken the reins of our journey.
Nate then got ahold of me and tried to talk me back into doing the Tucson show. He gave me some compelling reasons. Like that if we needed an off-night, Tempe was the one to cancel. That the Tempe guy was a flake. That the Tucson guy was an honorable man. That it was an awesome, exclusive (elitist?) art gallery that he’d been trying to book for a long time. That Sam could have a great connection with his visual art. It was all considerable, so I said I’d talk to the guys about it. He made a quick quip about how it was more important than seeing my girlfriend in L.A. a day sooner. I was sure I’d been misunderstood from afar. All I could do was shrug about it.
Sam and Max and I talked it over, long and deep, and decided we still weren’t going to play it. I reported on what Nate had said, then tried to stay out of it because it wasn’t my decision to make. But Max was almost more adament not to play than I was; I had my desires, but he seemed very willed that we were going to get to L.A. But we told Nate that we’d take a look at the venue anyways, just out of good will (and we needed to make it look like we wanted to play the show, to foster a good relation for potential rescheduling).
We pulled off in Tucson and immediately hit an In N Out Burger and went to the drive-thru. Max was saying it was the greatest fast food experience anyone can ever have. And it would have been.
But the van broke down in the drive-thru, about halfway between the ordering radio and the food window. The manager was stumped, he’d never had to deal with it before. He was a cool guy though. He shut down the drive-thru and comped the food. We used our last Triple A call to get the van towed.
Joe was our tow truck driver. He took us to a place right nearby, which was closed. He said that this was no neighborhood to leave the gear in – it’d be gone by morning. This was South Tucson. So we went to a hotel where we could load out – a Western Inn just down the street. But he got another repair shop on the horn that could take the van into a garage that night. So he towed us all the way to the other side of town, talking about how he trusted these people, and how he only ate organic, local, free range meat.
We were told that we couldn’t get an estimate until the following morning, but that it was definitely the transmission. This is the kiss of death. We got a ride to the venue from one of the guys at the repair shop, who blasted “The Ocean” by Led Zeppelin, and made at least some of us feel better.
At the venue, we encountered… nothing. It was a cool looking place, but we found that the “honorable” proprietor was in Sedona for something going on in Sedona to do. The guy there was very slow talking and seemed very aloof about our troubles. I thought we were going to ask if there was a place to stay, but the boys seemed coy about asking. So I did, and got a very aloof answer from the guy there. It wasn’t “no,” and it wasn’t really “I don’t know” – it was something far more useless; so much so that I don’t remember.
So we wandered down Toole Street to the Congress Hotel and looked into a room there. It was a little out of our price range, but we got some leads on other spots. There was a nice hostel nearby that was $40, but Max didn’t want to take the tiny room. So we set our hearts to walking back to South Tucson, to the Western Inn.
In downtown Tucson, we asked a girl about good places to eat. She recommended the Iguana Café. It was really shitty, but we thought eating Mexican food in Arizona would be a political statement. It wasn’t anything at all. It really pissed me off.
So we walked three miles or so to the Western Inn. Sam was on the phone with his girlfriend and Max and I had a talk, which was really pleasant and refreshing, though I don’t remember what it was about. One part consisted of thus:
Sam, on the phone with his girlfriend, is basically a narrator for the events that have just happened, since he’s catching her up to speed. I said that I wished he were an infinitely wise sage who would narrate the events just after they’ve happened, but reveal and expose the deeper meanings to them. The deep drives behind the behaviors and the exact ways in which the transmission failed right when we were going to win. All I wanted was telos for this. But he could not, in reality, provide them, neither to his girlfriend, nor to Max, nor to me.
-for Wednesday May 9th, 2012