Went to the show out in the country on the front porch with the crazy eyed mini horse and the four big horses, Lovely, Levi, Lightning, Lucy and I don’t know, Phil, possibly. Moonshine. Tunes. Corns fields. Upsetting dreams sleeping on that couch, all squooshed against Aaron. Talked to thin silver haired beautiful massage therapist and carpenter boyfriend. Played pretty well. Could hear each other much better.
Drove to MC’s house out in a misty valley, where all the musicians were gathering. MC just broken up with Katie, all awkward and weird. Shot the shit with Chris and Ali. Max played with Lizzie, and Chris Acker played. Chris Acker kind of snapped into focus for me as a person once I heard his music. Some people don’t want to admit to depth but they can’t help but be honest with their art.
Thousands of beers. Centuries of cigarettes. Set up the tent drunk. Dogs everwhar. Flirting like A DEMON with Mickey. Not totally understanding the dynamic until Aaron explained that Mickey was removing his attention suddenly as a way to attract attention and then I could see it happening. He fell asleep on the couch and I snuck in to steal a cigarette out of his breast pocket. I knelt like a knight, all silent, and slowly pulled the pack out. His hand snapped out and seized my wrist with his eyes still closed, like James Bond or something, and there was a long moment of thrilling fear. He opened his eyes and it took him a second to register who I was. “Cigarette?” he muttered. “Yeeees. Sorry. Go back to sleep.” He fumbled one out of the packet and put it in my hand and was asleep.
Show went really well. Getting a better sense of cello and when to bow to get the beat where I wanted it. Band cohesion increasing exponentially with every show.
Next day went on a horrible mission to get coffee that ended up with us everywhere except a place where coffee might be. Drove through the mountains. Ended up in strange little town with coffee shop that felt like aliens had been told about hip youthful coffee shops and made one that was almost right. Uncanny Valley feeling. Coffee was weird. Apple cider tasted like hospitals. Dreadlocked baristo was nice in a not quite real way, perhaps as though he had read a manual on how to be nice. Obviously an alien.
Managed to get out to Aaren’s (our unnaturally cheerful and boisterous host for the night) flute workshop and drove out to go swimming. Wonderful swimming, cold, avoided all poison ivy (thank all you gods and little fishes). Dear neurotic dog paddled around. Four of us crept in an inch of shrinking flesh at a time. Aaren ran in and splashed us like a cruel beast, and then went off to scale a cliff or something. Big purple gray water spiders, the size of the palm of my hand. I have small hands, but still. A crayfish half hiding under a rock. Eating day old croissants, a bit chewy but very welcome, and squatting in the sand. Sat on the edge of the small rapids with the water pulling at us and a little bit pretended I was a naiad. A black bathing suit, lesbian haircut, gap tooth naiad.
Went to Charlottesville and busked, quite successfully. Little Chinese brothers playing classical cello and violin in the square. Their father put a buck in our bucket later and smiled at us. That excited smile like we were in the same club. It was a good smile. Aaren on clarinet. And bass clarinet. Aaron on tenor banjo, Ali on guitar, Mickey on banjo mandolin. Went off to the corner store and an young Arab guy with a comedically thick accent said, “Hey girrrl.” With a very rolly r. I gave him a dreadful look.
Read for a while, slept on Aaren’s small hard bed curled up against Aaron. Slept well with good dreams. Woke up looking at window at small, high, brave clouds pushing across a bird’s egg sky. Ate potatoes and eggs and salsa, packed up and set off, remembered the things I had forgotten, turned around, got the things, set out again with revised directions from Aaren that Aaron hadn’t heard, suffered doubt and cynicism from a faithless passenger seat but was firm and rewarded.
Got to Richmond in a foul mood. Strip malls and strung out looking people on the sidewalks. A shock after all our green and spacious nests. Found the house, long haired ginger boy with skinny knobbly limbs welcomed us in. It smelled of cats. He was making a huge pot of chili. Many hip young collegey people talking about poetry and the noosphere. Felt old and critical. Was, in fact, critical. Only old in own head. Gave poor mustachioed poetry major a lot of shit about him not respecting rhyme and the challenge of fitting into a form. He burbled, defending his position but to PC to tell me I was a big jerk and should shut up.
Beers on the front porch. Moonshine. Again. (We’re still working on the same jar of moonshine, it’s not that we have some infinite fount of moonshine.) Listened to a completely kick ass harmonica player whose name I’ve forgotten, then played. It went well, they danced and hollered, although I’m sure they were badly broke and it reflected in our poor hollow hat.
Woke up, Mickey and Ali had a fight about coming to Wellbourne or not. They didn’t. We bid them adieu and they drove off in a gently boiling silence.
We were hard tired, and hung over, and low on blood sugar. We had weathered their fight without being drawn in or alienating anyone. I’m pretty sure. Time will tell on that one. We were so ready to be out of Richmond, for which we had developed a possibly unfair hate, partly due, on his part, to his inability to find coffee and on my part to my general dislike of youths. Youthes. Yuuuthes. This is not some kind of uninformed prejudice. I disliked teenagers when I was a child. I disliked teenagers when I was a teenager, leading to an M. C. Escher superiority self-hatred ouroboros. I dislike teenagers now, as a slightly-older-than-a-teenager. I look forward to a long and satisfying life of disliking teenagers.
Anyway. We drove forty minutes out of Richmond to a Indian restaurant cleverly concealed in a strip mall (damn. I guess they have some value.) At this point, we were pretty much fainting with hunger. Nursing the desperate hope that the food would be good because we had no reserves and might burst into tears if a lopsided leathery samosa swimming in pale pink chutney water was placed before us.
We burst into tears anyway, honestly, because we were very hungry and it was very very good. Everything seemed golden and kindly. I picked up my perfect samosa in my paws and grizzled over it for a minute before gnawing off its top and slavering all over its potatoey insides. I did. I cried. Aaron and I stared at each other through a misty haze of well-being and swelling love for the world, India in particular, and for humanity, our waiter in particular. It was a perfect moment.
Made our way up to Wellbourne, a northern Virginia plantation house where older caucasian gentleman sit on a huge front porch and drink bourbon and listen to jazz on the victrola. Except for those not rare occasions when they bring live jazz up from New Orleans to complete that time-traveling effect. Thus, our presence. They run the place by keeping horses who have aged out of competition. Fancy horses much loved by their owners but serving no set purpose save beauty. Bed and breakfasty type stuff too. I took a big nap in our big bed and when I delicately emerged at cocktail hour, no one demanded too much of me and a drink was pressed into my palsied hand.
To Be Continued When I Feel Like It Probably