Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thoughts on the Road


It's the 24th and I'm on a flight to Orlando for a gig taking place at a conference for the global lieutenants of a fast food giant. I'm in pain. Bambi made me do some squats and upper body stuff yesterday that makes my butt and shoulders feel like they're on fire. I hope I'll be able to raise my arm above my shoulder tomorrow so I can draw. The presentation I'm recording isn't until noon so I can sleep in at the hotel. Then I work for an hour, go to the airport, and fly home. I've never been to Orlando without ending up having dinner in a sports bar. They're everywhere. I bet when the taxi pulls into the Marriott there will be a place called Rudy's right across the parking lot.

The last time I was in Orlando it was for a Graphic Artists Guild mid-year meeting. One of our executive committee members was a goth from Portland who wore Victorian attire, had a beard that tapered to a point, and looked unhealthy like he really did just claw his way out of a coffin. He liked to carry a pair of plastic vampire teeth with him that he could pop in whenever the moment called for it. There was a sports bar across the parking lot called Buddy's or something and we all trundled over there to eat. The incongruity of our goth drinking a Miller Lite at Buddy's made a strong impression on me. I wish I could say that it freaked out the tourists but they really didn't seem to notice. Everybody sees vampires on TV. But what really surprised me was that he found and befriended some actual Orlando goths and the next day they went off together. Probably to a place called Dudley's that served Blue Moon on draft and chicken wings.

Last week I was in Santa Cruz filming one of those RSA knockoff whiteboard animations. It went great but then on the way home the clutch on my truck committed suicide and I was stranded on Santa's Village lane just fifty feet off the highway where she came to rest. A fierce-looking mute tow truck driver took me to Integrity Automotive and left me there. After Enterprise rent-a-car gave me their special "stranded motorist" deal I sat in the mother of all rush hour traffic jams for hours.

It took three days of Integrity to manage the installation of a new clutch and so the weekend arrived. I was getting used to driving the Nissan Altima and the memory of my old pickup was beginning to fade. On Saturday I picked up Oscar from his sleepover party and we headed toward Scott's Valley where the truck was being kept. Oscar said that the new car smell of the Altima stunk like cheap plastic. He also stated that he had only gotten four-and-a- half hours sleep the night before, the ten-year-olds had partied so late, so he was feeling sleepy and cranky. I told him that we would go to the beach. He said, "I hate the beach at Santa Cruz! The sand is disgusting!"

I was listening to some Mose Allison music the other day and it struck me, that's Oscar. He's a ten-year-old curmudgeonly southern jazz pianist and songwriter.

Don't waste your time tryin' to be a go-getter
Things'll get worse before they get any better

Those lyrics sound like Oscar wrote them.

Anyway, much more hilarity ensued and I eventually got my pickup back. The high point of the weekend was taking it to the car wash where Oscar blasted it with the pressure hose. Afterwards he asked me for a dollar for the service.

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