There's something off-putting about seeing a man drink while he's behind the wheel of a truck. It's like watching somebody build a home without blueprints or eat a bran muffin on the toilet: it's not just ignorant, it's aggressively idiotic.
We ran into one such man at a Penzoil in Adel, Georgia. We chatted him up. He wasn't driving at that time, but he looked like he was on mission to spend his off-day swerving through the streets of that tiny Southern town, careening off lamp posts, mailboxes, and Piggly Wigglys. That said, he was a happy drunk. He fingered us as a band with the greatest of ease and demanded a CD. We said, sure, but even with the "getting blotto in the driver's seat discount," it was still going to cost him ten bucks. Cashless, he offered to pay for a sixth of our oil change, which the Penzoil man agreed to, and, voila: some weird, three person pseudo-barter was enacted. It was like Burning Man, except there were no hairy armpitted womyn on mushrooms.
While we were testing the principles of a trade-based economy, we also have noticed the real economy is a clusterfuck of colossal proportions. Yes, yes: bad shit and heaps of it. The whole situation is unraveling so fast that we, men without newspapers, internet, or a coherent idea of which weekday it is, have been left behind. I'm so incredibly ignorant of how all this works that I'll refrain from analysis: just hope everyone out there is keeping their head up and investing in the only tried and true commodity left on the planet: Birdmonster t-shirts. Stockpile them while you can.
Right now, the South's unfolding into a kudzu-choked straight-away outside of Louisiana. The old-man beards of Spanish moss are fading behind us and New Orleans, in all it's culinary and musical splendor awaits us. I was lucky enough to visit this singular city before Katrina with my girl on what I used to call a "vacation" and now call a "ludicrous pipe dream" and it was one of the best trips I'd ever taken: all beignets and shellfish and alligator tours lead by toothless swamp men with half-fingers, courtesy of the aforesaid reptiles, men apparently ignorant of the lessons of the grown-up man-boys Peter Pan and Happy Gillmore. By which I mean the lessons of Captain Hook and Chubbs. By which I mean: dude was chewed up. I'm really curious to see how the city is now. The band visited back a year or two ago, in the fairly recent aftermath of that destructive hurricane (our hotel still had the entire bottom floor closed due to mildew from flooding) and, as has been reported many times (in many waaaaaays) the city was uncharacteristically somber; slower. Quieter. It's a beautiful, unique, singular city---in fact, the only city which smells so much of rum and upchucked rum that you could call beautiful. No offense Isla Vista and Chico: y'all are ugly. I'm optimistic; I've heard I have every right to be.
Speaking of optimism, I had little of it heading into Orlando. If I associate a city with a mouse and a duck with no pants, a creative yet horrible despot, and general humid mugginess, I tend to approach with caution. But you know what? Shut my mouth. Orlando was great. The club was a little leaky and there were no drink tickets (a veritable sin of omission), but the crowd was great, and, well, sometimes places just surprise you. Orlando was one of those. Hats off to that.
But man, oh man, does it rain in Florida. They've got these things they call "white outs," where the rain comes with such force that you can literally not see through it. And since it's humid as all get out and up in the high 80s, getting across the parking lot to your car is like taking a shower with your shoes on then stepping into a sauna. In other words: unpleasant.
Alright. The Gunslinger book I'm reading is demanding my attention. Be still, my pet. I'm coming.