We’re back in Asheville (note: seventies style cop buddy movie set in the mountains, Back in Actionville? Back in Aksheville? Or set in Arkansas. Back in AKshville.) We’re playing a show tonight at the Burger Bar, a deceptively named dive towards whom I still nurse a small resentment for that one night when I really really wanted a hamburger.
We went to the Odditorium last night where everybody who couldn’t afford the six dollar cover charge sat outside on the patio with their dogs, conning people who had paid to go inside to buy drinks for them. Mickey and Ali went off with a pixie looking widget named Sarah to play tunes in a field. I slouched around for awhile, smiling with my face and talking and generally proving myself as an accredited human bean. I met a teacup Pomeranian named Hooker (named for her affectionate nature) who looked like a golden dandelion puff with a face. She weighed 3.1 pounds. I met another one of Aaron’s high quality ex-girlfriends, who now has a chunky blond baby with enormous cheeks and fat ankles. His name is Max. I am comforted in the fact that should Aaron and I ever part, I will be joining the ranks of a distinguished and lustrous organisation. Of course, they spent most of their chat together arguing about exactly how long they dated for, with poorly concealed affront and butt-hurtedness on both sides. I squeezed the baby’s fat ankles and noted, aloud, that two such neurotic and high strung, greyhound-like individuals would no doubt have made a poor couple, that they still made a poor couple, and that they should in fact shut up now because they were boring. They laughed like I was joking. The baby shrieked like a pterodactyl. I excused myself to the bar.
Another, oh, twenty minutes of charming everyone in sight, and I went and got my book, to sit on a curb under a streetlamp down from all the bars til the white-boy alt rock and satan-lite metal blended into a sticky aural toffee that was mostly quashed by the wind. I read a story about dead cats until the dust got in my eyes too bad and rain was starting to fall on the pages.
They were still going strong back in the bar, dreadlocks a’swangin, Cousin It hair a’quiverin, small muscular men bouncing around, their bald bullet heads making intimate contact with other people’s softer bits.
I will confess, I love to mosh. It’s the natural extension of the fighting style I developed to beat my brother, the Boxing Octopus. You just flail like a psycho, taking up maximum room with your limbs and creating maximum unpredictability about what part of their body is going to get hit. It is more scary than painful, but it works well until your opponent figures that out. Garek, unfortunately, discovered in pretty quickly.
So moshing is like the support group for Boxing Octopi. We can come together and flail and hit each other and not mind. Nothing like seeing somebody rise up from the floor like a goddamn phoenix, beaming at you through bloody teeth.
The lead singer of the last band sort of looked like a professional kayaker, or some other slightly irritating modern sport. He was covered in bright cheerful tattoos and wearing cut-off khakis and screaming into the mike til all the veins on his neck popped out. Somebody hit me low in the legs as they went down and took me down with them. A skull hit me in the cheek. I rock climbed up people’s t-shirts and threw myself back into the bodies.
I was probably only in there about ten minutes, the very end of the show. I walked out trembling from the adrenaline. And probably dehydration.
Vaden, who is rock-hard skinny and blond and pre-occupied, stumbled past, calling, “Gonna puke. Right back.” He was. He stared at us with a blank, serious face. “I was just really over-heated and some guy hit me under the ribs with his head. Also, I ate too much popcorn.” His face crumpled up and he giggled.
I got tired pretty soon after that and started the very lowest gear of whine. Forty-five minutes of steady acceleration got us into the car and home. I made a silent midnight grilled cheese and we sat on the porch swing, looked up our respective McScottish ancestry and compared plaids.
I woke up all peaceful and centred and Zen, but I was so peaceful that I fell back asleep. The second time I woke up I was in the more familiar hyper-active squirrel of foggy and sourceless Catholic guilt state. I made kebabs and tried not to experience anything too too much. Aaron was in a wussy car accident, so then I had to experience a thing, which was watching the tide of emotional manipulation rise up in me and mostly not reacting to it. “You did a thing wrong and now I will make you feel as bad as possible so that I have the moral highground and can hold it over your head for when I need things, and also just so I can be in a dominant position.” All this is mostly indicated to the person in question through a turned head and flattened tone. It’s very effective, but feels nasty and separates you from your loved ones. I hugged and forgave, decently free of smug condescension.
I don’t really have a moral for today. Um. Go outside in the sun. Get off your phone. Let yourself have an honest emotional reaction, even if it’s gross. I love you.
About To Play