04-25-2003
Houston, Fat Cats
 

It's taken me forever to write anything about this Texas trip, and only recently did I understand why. I suddenly understood because Andy sent an email suggesting that the Texas trip had been too short, not enough time to relax, not enough time even to go to the Salt Lick BBQ in Austin, which was the whole point of going to Texas in the first place! And though I'm not a particularly big BBQ fan - I mean, I like it, I enjoy it tremendously at times, but I'd much sooner seek out, say, the best huevos rancheros, the best flan, the best oatmeal shake - I am a true fan of having time to relax. Indeed, such time was notably absent on this trip to Texas.

This is not to say it wasn't an enjoyable trip. Just hurried, over almost as soon as it began, with several of our attempts at pleasuring ourselves rudely interrupted by time or other constraints. Like this first day, a full day for Tim and Andy and I to crawl around Houston in a rented car, Houston Texas, right? We get to the target BBQ, named after some basketball player guy, and the fucking thing is closed. Fuck! So I boldly asked a plump middle-aged gold-toothed african american gentleman in a gleaming and massive SUV where we could find an appropriate replacement. He sent us up the road to a decent though unspectacular cafeteria-style soul food place called "This Is It," where we sat in the blinding sunlight and filled ourselves with grease. I spent the entire meal gazing in rapturous awe as the remarkably built waitress at the bar next door slowly and lovingly placed chair after chair on the patio. In order to carry the chairs, she had to arch her back in a certain way, which clearly affected her muscles as after each chair was placed she would stretch her arms to the sky. I gummed my chicken-fried steak in wonderment.

That doesn't sound so bad, does it? No, no it doesn't. I even fell in love with an argentinean woman in the cafe across the street. It just gets better and better! And from there we went antique shopping, found a decent motel with a glamorous swimming pool... but now it gets bad. The fucking swimming pool was locked! I'm out there in my skivvies and flip-flops, and I'm locked out! And the cocksucker at the front desk tells me that the pool's closed, that it's closed until the next day. The next day! Who gives a fuck? But he claims, of course, that there's nothing he can do about it, and sends me up the street to a park that supposedly has a pool in it somewheres.

So I walk and I walk, nearly get hit by many cars because there is no walking in Houston, and after over a mile I get to the fucking swimming pool - and it's closed! The fucker is still fucking closed for the winter! I was ready to kill all of Houston at this point; but instead I sat in the shade of a shady tree, read my book, and dozed off.

Andy woke me with a phone call about eight minutes into my snooze, and I trotted on back to the motel. The New Year were already at the club, they'd driven clear from Austin or something and were already dead drunk and miserable. It was good to see them though, good to see Biznono, good to see that the liquor store next to the strange little club had closed for the day. The guy who ran the place was friendly and funny, I forget his name but we met him about eighteen years ago when we first played in Houston. Crazy.

This night provided, for me, the best food of the trip: the all-you-can-eat crawfish, something I've only witnessed once before in Louisiana but never actually crawled through myself. Delicious! Brutal! And followed by key lime pie. I would bathe in glass if it meant I could have some key lime pie. And this was a restaurant! All you had to do is pay for it! So I borrowed some money from Biz and I got myself some pie.

The show tonight was alright. None of these Texas shows, we never really had our balls out onstage, we never quite shot the moon, but it was fine. Tonight may have been my favorite of the bunch, really, though it's hard of course to say why. Limited expectations, perhaps, expectations easily exceeded. Our first encounter tonight with the Florida Four, four guys from Florida in a rented car who flew out for the weekend and came along for all three shows. They weren't alone, there were others, and were they all Silkworm fans? Maybe ours were just the loud ones in the front row. I mean, yes, those were definitely our fans.

Nearly absconded with someone else's groupie when she somehow associated me with a local funk act, Funky Christ or something, who happened to be staying at the same motel. Luckily there were others in my room and groupie theft was not an option. I did pity her, as there were african american men in Funky Christ, and, as she admitted to me in a deafening stage whisper, she "can't stand black people."


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