We awoke early to catch the continental breakfast that was supposed to end at 9:00 in the morning. I don’t know what the emotional consensus was, but the breakfast was literally made up of Hostess cakes and Sunny Delite. We grabbed a bunch and took them to the car. Max had an idea – I think he’d gotten it from Andrea – to hit up a Holiday Inn’s continental breakfast. I’d also done the same with one in Portland when working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. We did this; it was not very good.
After passing the Alamo, which was relatively nearby, we set our GPS for Las Cruces. We got on I-10 and it told us to keep going for 500 miles. So we drove out into the great wide open, and into a rain storm. And there, about where I-10 meets 290, we ran out of gas. We pulled off onto 290, thinking it was Fredricksburg, but we found out Fredricksburg was 49 miles off.
We waited on the side of the road in the rain for Triple A, and in that time we shat and pissed, and felt prudish and laffy. The man came and gassed us up with nine dollars worth, enough to get us to Junction, Texas. Sam informed us that we had one more free Triple A call. We would need it.
We got back on the road with Sam driving, Max sleeping, and I riding in the back. The weather cleared up. We hit Junction and refueled, I bought a comb at a general store, and we went through a thrift store. Back on the rode, Sam and I put on Rust Never Sleeps and I had some kind of life epiphany about myself and my life since 2005. That was a good feeling.
Eventually Sam got tired so I took over driving. Driving through the beautiful Texas countryside, parallelling the border of Mexico, with deep, heavy clouds off to one side or straight ahead, I put on In The Aeroplane Over The Sea and had another sort of epiphone about sex and its meaning. Part of the revelations came out of a rush of clarity – I’d been sad and anxious the night before, and I felt in that moment that everything was going to be alright. I just needed to focus. It meant a lot to me, except one other thing dragged me down a bit, and would prove to drag me down further in the coming days: Jeff Mangum is a worryer.
We drove through El Paso in a colossal thunder and lightning storm during rush hour. Visibility was only a few feet and I was stressed, but we pulled on through. Not long after, we crossed over into New Mexico and I believe into Rocky Mountain Time. It wasn’t long after that before we rolled into Las Cruces, AKA Hell (only sort of).
We couldn’t find the venue. The address we got was a dojo. There was some kind of art space nearby, but they didn’t know where the venue we needed was. We sat around in that area of Las Crucus, which was far from beautiful aside from the tremendous rolling clouds in the sky and several rainbows. Nate was telling us it was some practice space.
Somehow, after asking someone, somewhere, we found out that it was a door on the side of one of the warehouses marked only with an ‘X’. We found it, but no one was there. After waiting a little longer, patience running thin, sure we probably weren’t getting free meals or making our guarantee, someone pulled up. It was another band, Vampirates. We talked with them for awhile, then went to find food.
It all hit me at once. The hunger, the lack of nutrition (all that junk food), being upset about this venue, lack of alone time, and weird anxieties all came in at once. I was on the phone with Sarah after doing some grocery shopping for a simple meal, and I realized it. I had to cut the call off and eat something. I felt awful for ending the call so soon. She’d just gotten to Los Angeles and had had a great day.
Dinner was hummus and shit in the front seat of the car. Then we drove back to the venue and loaded in. I was surprised that it was just one room that might fit 100 people in it, but it still smelled like every other practice space I’d ever had. I was crawling out of my skin, just like the night before. All the clarity of the drive, and my commitment to focus, had burned off. I tried to talk to Sam, but he had to call his girlfriend. I tried to talk to Max, but I found I could only speak in vague abstractions. So I told him I was going to take a nap, and did on a couch while the bands played.
Wizard Rifle played and I sat behind their merch table post nap, and I sold nothing. A girl that was traveling with Vampirates sat next to me drinking vodka from a big gulp. I wanted to kill myself, after poking the big gulp with a pen. We found a place to sleep – at the first band’s house, where the second band was also staying.
I called Sarah again and smoothed things out, apologizing from cutting the conversation off. It was a nice, tender conversation. I followed it up with a kitchen shower and a bed with Max.
-for Tuesday May 8th, 2012