Wednesday, September 11, 2013

legend of don pablo parking lot: the 48 hour tour (part 1)

When JB picked me up on Friday, I came shuffling out of my apartment with my merch suitcase, messenger bag, rolled up blanket and my beloved body pillow.

"I know it looks like I'm moving out," I croaked, "But I am sick and need my comforts."

Indeed I was a bit of a hot mess. The stupid cold busted in on Wednesday and grew into the weekend. We had a reading in Canton on Friday night and another in Columbus on Saturday. I sounded like a frog with a whistling nose but hell--how many times do you get to travel for what you love? There was no way I was going to miss out.

JB was a great traveling companion. The basics: he volunteered to drive. He had all of the directions ready to go. He also put up with being exposed to my plethora of germs(in the car I had a plastic bag full of an absurd amount of used tissues).

Perhaps the best thing about traveling with JB is that he hates the highway. He uses an actual map--one to be folded and unfolded, finger tracing projected routes. He'd rather roam the side roads, the long way. It's a simple thing yet I've managed to avoid this method when I travel alone. Usually I am driving to see the family and I want to get there as soon as possible--I go the highway. I take the same way and, if I can help it, I stop at the same gas station to refill the tank and use the restroom. I relayed this information to JB, as it is a reasoning that makes sense. However, I was still blown away by how much MORE sense taking the long way makes for someone like me. JB does it right.

Our first show was Friday night in Canton. It was a fairly quick trip. I blew my nose a lot. JB and I searched for dinner before we were due to be at Karma Kafe, which was a coffee shop on the edge of a line of multiple stores(me: We are reading in a strip mall, Jase). He got a kick out of me yelling out store names on reflex. Best Buy! Target! OF COURSE THERE'S AN APPLEBEES! We were in the middle of strip mall hell. To our left, to our right, in front of us. But I squealed at the sight of Red Robin--they have a vegan burger option AND limitless steak fries. Sold. We sat outside and I tried not to cry when I realized that I couldn't taste a damn thing on my plate. I mean it. Not a single thing. This is also where the initial spark of our Don Pablo jokes/references is born.

The gig itself went fine--not a huge crowd, but fun nonetheless. A lot of the actual reading from this night is a fuzzy sideways mess. I was a fidgeting frog full of discomfort. The cold made me feel like I was crawling out of my skin. JB had a killer reading--his set was strong from start to finish. I opened my set with a new, mostly unfinished piece and it sounded right coming out of my mouth. It was scrawled down 3 days before the show on a found-again notebook on my living room floor/yoga mat. Sometimes that's how the good shit happens; you just roll with it.

Our host for the night was amazing. He had a DECEPCON license plate! "Someone stole the Darwin fish off the back of my car," He explained. JB and I had a good chuckle over the fish-shaped glue mark left in its wake. Another example of how amazing: he set us up in twin beds in the basement apartment at the house he shared with his father. He set out towels and soap for us. I found him to be tremendously detail-oriented. The beds were dressed in his childhood sheets--JB took the Ninja Turtles and I had Transformers. Before konking out in my Nyquil-induced slumber, JB and I traded Don Pablo puns. I was laying in bed and he was standing in the dim light of the doorway and we were cracking each other up by simply rhyming things with the word "Don." Don Pablo's traveling cousin Gone Pablo, and his musical aunt Song Pablo, his pothead brother Bong Pablo. Afterward I crashed and JB did some reading. It was a bit surreal waking up in a dimly lit barely furnished basement in cartoon bedsheets. And gosh bless 'em for setting the alarm and getting up to see us off, despite being a serious night owl. Kindness and care on the road must never be taken for granted. We made our beds, checked the map, and hit the road.

We checked out Das Dutch for breakfast. I saw the word buffet and that's all I needed to see. I made JB test out the mystery condiments at our table since I couldn't taste a damn thing. Their containers were like miniature bee hives. One was caramel and the other was apple butter--also known as the one we couldn't stop eating. Even through all of the congestion I found my hints of cinnamon. That damn apple butter was incredible.

We pecked our way through the General Store area of the restaurant--at the counter I found myself staring at a box of "Inspirational Buttons" that were all God or scripture related. I asked the cashier if they had some kleenex and she said no, but there was a stack of napkins around the corner. I passed on the offer and held out for the Dollar General where I scored some sweet, sweet aloe-infused tissues.

We were just about ready to leave Amish country, but not until seeing a horse IN a tiny covered bridge and a horse and buggy passing us on the road. Oh, and that strange roadside religious propaghanda involving a giant crucifix and one GIANT hand nailed to it. One slightly bloody dismembered hand. This was leaning over the road to our right and we both had a solid shiver about it.

Before our departure, we decided to seek out the local thrift store, described to us as "really awesome" by an audience member at our show. And if "really awesome" translates to "will scare you a bit," then her description was spot on.

This is where I'll end part 1 of our weekend tour. Part 2 coming soon...

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