Coming home from tour after forty-some-odd days and 10,371 miles is, to put it mildly, surreal. I always feel half-giddy and somehow, strangely nervous. Obviously, the world doesn't stop without you and the homefront doesn't bother either. New paintings are hung in your absence, new roommates have settled in upstairs, and there's always a hernia-inducing amount of mail to sift through. Of course, some of this is good mail (so and so is marrying what's her name), some of it trash (Guitar Center's Fifth Annual Third weekend of March Green-Tag Orange-Tag Brown-Tag Super Sale Sale SALE!), some it downright intimidating (if you do not pay this parking ticket, we will steal your children. If you do not have children, we will steal your pet. If you do not have a pet, watch your knees: we're sending Johnny Knuckles.) But really, I spend most of the first two days back just smiling. I slowly realize that I don't have to load gear four times a day, I get to sleep in the same bed twice, three times, forever, and I can eat food that hasn't been deep fried, re-fried, or three-fried. Some people call this normalcy. I feel like it's fairly novel. Either way, I'm enjoying it. If you're ever bored with where you're at, I'd recommend driving thousands of miles and sleeping in motels with mysterious, blood-colored stains on the doors and walls. You might still come home bored, but you'll definately have an appreciation for that boredom hitherto unrealized. Unless your room is already covered in blood-stains. And if it is, I'd appreciate it if you stopped reading this blog. Thanks.
Being home also allows us to take stock of what we learned while on tour and, as always, we learned plenty. In list form because, let's face it, I'm lazy:
- All borders should be abolished. I say this not because I'm some sort of NorCal anarchist (I smell too good for that---and I don't smell that good) but because the Border Patrol attracts the most frustrating flavor of humanity: petty little dictators with small physical deformities and monstrous mental abnormalities. I'm pretty sure that Nurse Ratched would've worked at the border if she hadn't found torturing Randle Patrick McMurphy oh so enjoyable. Of course, if there was no border patrol, these people would filter into other sectors of society, say, the DMV or high school sports refereeing. So maybe it's wise to keep them all quarantined where we can keep an eye on them. Either way: avoid the Canadian Border Patrol. Use parachutes.
- Somehow, no one ever told me The Kings of Leon were incredible. I was gifted their first LP early this tour (and by gifted I mean I burned it while I was waiting for the mechanic to show up to half-assedly not-quite-fix our van) and it remained on repeat the entire time. Sure, I have no idea what the guy is singing about, but when has that ever stopped anyone from enjoying a band? You heard Dylan lately? He's gargling marbles.
- Before traveling ten thousand miles, get your car checked out. It could save you at least...nine hundred and seventeen dollars.
- When possible, try new foods. After all, very few things give you a more keen insight into a particular region than cuisine. Texas, Kansas, and much of the South are famous for their barbeque, not to be confused with what Californians call "barbeque" which is really just grilling or, as the Sammies called it, "cooking out." Chicago is famous for it's particular style of pizza, which is more like lasagna, which is, frankly, goddamn delicious. And somewhere in Missouri, there is a road side diner that sells frog's legs. In a fit of spontaneity (and, perhaps, idiocy), we decided to try these. They tasted like a fried, slimy cigar. And sometimes, a cigar is not just a cigar. Whatever that means. Best part of the frog's leg experience was the menu though: "Just like you used to catch!" Really? Am I wearing overalls?
- In a similar vein: Ann Arbor is not famous for its Mexican food. In fact, any place that isn't California, Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas should probably avoid calling what they serve "Mexican food." It's more like a bean-pita. But in Ann Arbor, Mason Proper took us to a local "buritto" shop and, on the wall was a note from none other than Bill Walton. I quote: "Dear Josh and Jacob, Thank you for making me the best burrito in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD!" If you don't know who Bill Walton is, sorry: that probably wasn't funny. But if you do, it fits right in with his patern of egregious hyperbole. Playoffs start soon. Go Warriors.
- I'll say this: There's depressing and then there's Oklahoma City.
- Extended tours mean you get all your news from tabloids at gas station check-out stands and brief glimpses at CNN at three in the morning. In other words, I know everything that happened in the last six months: Katie Holmes is under house arrest, Don Imus is a prick, and Brad & Angela might've broke up or adopted a baby from some place I barely knew existed.
- If you have someone who's away for their birthday and you know they'll be at a bar, you should buy them a bottle of champagne across the country. It's about the best gift ever.
- And lastly, I know it sounds like a great idea, but never end a tour in Las Vegas. It's a harsh thing to not want to drink or gamble and be in the drunken gambling-est place on the planet. It's like going to Willy Wanka's Chocolate Factory the day after getting a root canal.