09-05-1998
Chicago, Fireside Bowl
 
The last time I laid down was Friday morning at 9:00 AM Mountain Time. It's now 4:00 AM Sunday and I've laid down again. We made it to Chicago from Butte in 28 hours.

I'm very tired so I'll finish this in the morning.


Driving to Chicago in the Valiant was not so bad. It seemed absurd at the time and was comical all the while, but it was not so bad and I would do it again if a similar situation arose. After about fifteen hours we all started to smell pretty bad but that was the most unpleasant thing. Actually the most unpleasant thing was not sleeping for so long, and sitting on a not-so-comfortable car seat for many many hours took its toll on my butt, I'll tell you that, my butt is sore sore sore.

We passed the best landscapes -- Wyoming and South Dakota -- through the first night; by the time the sun came up on Saturday it was corn, and until Chicago it was corn. We stooped to eating only plastic-wrapped sandwiches from gas station deli freezers. We drank whatever spilled from the coolant overflow spout. When Chicago came within 150 miles, we wept.

The Fireside Bowl is a punk rock bowling alley filled with dirt and cigarette smoke and punk rock kids. It seems to be run by punk rock kids but somehow it doesn't get shut down -- like Tim said, in Seattle the plug would've been pulled in a week, and the kids at the Fireside has been putting on punk rock shows since 1972. Why we were playing there is anyone's guess, but since we'd driven thousands and thousands of miles to make the show we tried our best to get inspired. I drank lousy beer and whimpered, trying to get the attention of the hundreds of under age girls who'd crowded the place hoping to meet a manly rocker but judiciously avoiding my sorrowful gaze. Friends began arriving, thank God, and I bravely left the girls behind.

The show was not a great success but considering the circumstances it was a good one. The kids were excited. Some of them had tried to make the Champagne show the night before, driving 5 hours from Michigan only to find that we were still stuck in Butte, and they were excited. They hollered and hollered, then stood and watched in what appeared to be rapture but from my perspective was dazed exhaustion. Certainly we were playing with something resembling dazed exhaustion. I never fell asleep but the filth on my skin poured into my eyes with the sweat and I played much of the show in tears.

We stayed at Steve and Heather's. When we got back at 3:30 in the morning they had a massive luxurious pizza and pasta meal waiting which we leapt on like hyenas. It was frustrating trying to eat food that sat on a plate and didn't come in a plastic pouch, but we learned and were happy. Steve and I shot billiards on his new million dollar billiard table. I began to fade away and went to my room, and when I slept I slept like I was dead.


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