Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Thanksgiving (...or ungrateful-taking?)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving passed by us in an El Paso Denny's. That is to say we huddled, the five of us, in a booth for four, waiting on desolate service from apathetic servers, burnt coffee, screwed up orders, worn out jokes and sighs as time inched to the midnight mark and beyond. No apologies needed, thanks for even looking us in the eye tonight, thanks for comping the drinks. Gabe, our bubbling merch-guy, spilling over the side in perpetual positivity (that ever disolves the muttering ingrate in me) managed to remember to wish the waitress a happy thanksgiving to which she was clearly and genuinely grateful. I'll admit to you all that the true "meaning" of today has evaded me until just moments ago, until the day itself had actually passed. I've spent the greater portion of the day dwelling on what I lack (save for the few hours we lucked upon with our friend Aaron's unbelievably welcoming family for an early thanksgiving dinner, conversation, warmth, pie, backyard soccer, Arizona weather, hugs... That flew by in a satisfied yawn of unfeigned comfort and appreciation). I have more to be thankful for than ever this year, I have so much of the real important thanksgiving-ish 'things' to list off this year, but I'm finding that the more you get, the more you desire. (That one lost piece of the puzzle is never much of a frustration until only the empty space of its intended resting spot is glaring at you!). I won't get into the things missing from my life at length but I'll mention just the obvious one: that I have chosen a profession that leaves me anchorless and spending a day like thanksgiving driving through the wide and empty southwest is vivid and shimmering proof...

...But I do love not being tied down. We have become such learned houseguests, such veteran travelers in a matter of months (Joey of course being the exception with more than a decade under his belt)... Its just the tease of your own bed for one night mid-tour, the unconditional ear of good friends that appear in strange settings and disapear, the kisses that you forget to fully appreciate until the girl is a million miles away... But fuck it!! All these complaints go out the window when we're sweating on stage or beating inside jokes to death between the aisles of a truckstop convenience store.

I'm sitting shotgun. Joey is behind the wheel, ipod a-shuffle. Dane Cook, David Cross, Mitch Hedburg, Bill Hicks, Neutral Milk Hotel, Alkaline Trio, Deftones, disbanded and forgotten underground bands of his earlier days of touring... Ok -- now its just an Alkaline Trio Album -- Its 3 AM Texas time, I'm on 3 hours of sleep and 3 cups of coffee. Woke in a friend's strange house after going out to a strangely preppy Scottsdale bar...

We stop at a TX border patrol checkpoint. A jumpy drug-sniffing dog on a chain leash, two uniformed officers, desperate orange lights. "How many of you in the vehicle?" "All American Citizens?" ..."Five of us, we're on tour, yes we're American" ...eyes drop fron our van, an apathetic but rigidly official gesture of the hand sends us along again.

I spoke to my highschool friend just now until his voice became brittle on the other end and (beep beep beep) I lost service. Apparently the bay area wasn't actually errupting in joyous celebration without me, I wasn't missing reunions akin to "Garden State", emotional run-ins with teenage crushes, bar hopping, nostalgia... He was bored, sorting out matters of the business of life, playing scrabble, confiding in me... I guess I texted him happy thanksgiving while drunk last night. He's good people.

So many good people. I sent a few dozen personal texts from the back of the van, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy TG, Happy T-Day, Happy Day, Hope you are well, Hope all is wonderful, Miss ya buddy, See ya in December, Have a great feast, Hope you are stuffed, Hope tour is going well, Tell them hello, Send my love, Love You, Exclamation Point, Exclamation Point, Exclamation Point...

Thankful for all of you. I should think about that more often. I should say that more often.


P.S. Just passed Straylight Run's van on the long and open interstate 10. Head out the window. Arms Flailing. Laughing, bearing teeth. We drive way faster. What are the chances?