Hello earth. I’ve been off in San Francisco for a while just kind of catching up on my vodka, cranberry juice, avocado, sushi and bagel intake all week and I’ve been playing some shows with some bands that I used to be in back in my more wiry and dynamic youth when I was the kind of person that thought that I could be in the best band in the world and that band could potentially have trumpets and shit in it.
The entire week ended up inadvertently being kind of a ‘this is your life’ situation for me in that pretty much every night was based on an era of my ‘career’ for lack of a better word, complete with different friends, different colleagues and different familiar strangers. The only night I didn’t play, I went and saw the Alkaline Trio, who are easily my closest friends that have gone on to achieve anything approaching real success in the world of rock and roll, the band that has introduced a lot of people to the various bands I’ve been a part of, and thus also as relevant to me as anything I was actually ever a part of.
Now, I don’t want to make this sound like I think this entire festival was somehow about me, because the shows I played and attended were just a small part of it, but as I’m sort of necessarily myopic, and playing out the eras of your life in daily hour long segments really feeds into that, uh, I dunno. It was weird. It was also one of the best weeks I’ve ever had, and I’d like to thank everyone involved, particularly the people in the bands I played in, the people who came out to see us and of course, Mike, Skylaar and all the AMR 15 crew that made everything run smoothly. No fatalities or drunken rum-slurpee fueled gangrapes were reported. That’s pretty good for a festival these days, folks.
It also bears mentioning that those of you Chicagoans that missed the party (or just don’t want it to stop just yet) can come check me out playing solo at Pancho’s on the 25th with Kevin Seconds. It’s gonna be a sweet jam, folks. Okay, enough of that shit.
I spent all yesterday traveling and it wound up being one of the most painless travel days I’ve ever experienced. That said, it still sucked the dick off a dog. Air travel sucks. Everything about it is a bummer except for the fact that you can wake up in San Francisco and fall asleep in Chicago on the same day. I hate the drive to the airport, I hate the check in, I hate the security line and the constant worry that shit’s just gonna stop, or that you’re gonna turn the corner and run into an impossible line. I hate the boarding process and the smell of planes. I hate the seats, I hate the tiny cups and the bullshit food, I hate the feeling of taking off and flying and landing. I hate the ride from the airport to where I’m trying to get and I hate the fact that when a trip is over that I wind up with a suitcase full of my wrinkled stinky clothes sitting on a chair in my house for a week.
Now, of course I love the speed and relative convenience of air travel too, but I disagree strongly with Louis CK (who I also suspect hates flying, despite what he says) who has a bit where he states that because we get to experience the miracle of human flight that we have no right to complain about any of the less savory aspects of the process. That’s complete horseshit as far as I’m concerned. Here’s why:
Air travel sucks, but pretty much everyone can remember when it didn’t. It’s not as though it HAS to suck (a relevant analogy here would be like sitting in a restaurant with your friends and complaining that the food is served a little cold. That’s fine. Now, if you’re sitting with a room full of say, Darfurian refugees, you may seem like an ungrateful dick by bitching about the relatively trivial disappointment in the face of abundance and ease, but if we take that back to the flying analogy, that’s like complaining about airport lines to Tom Joad or Meriwether Lewis and that’s clearly not what’s going on, so again, fuck this notion).
I’m not gonna get started on the whole United/American ‘too big to fail’ bullshit that still, a decade later makes me so fucking angry that I can’t see, but suffice it to say those two completely shitty airlines and their process of systematically fucking people out of every last bit of comfort and convenience has become the modern era’s new airline business model and it sucks.
There are profitable airlines everywhere that don’t charge for bags and drinks, that don’t screw you on ticket prices and that don’t oversell every flight and cancel every flight with an empty seat. There are also secure safety screens across the globe that don’t require me taking off my shoes and not having a bottle of water. The fact that TSA plays catch up in the wake of attempted (or successful) terrorist acts rather than trying to anticipate the next move is a topic that’s overdiscussed and that I’m not gonna really get into, but it should be noted that right now it’s easier to get a hard plastic boxcutter that’s in your pocket onto a flight than a sippy cup full of milk.
In fact, the ONLY thing I enjoy about flying is the airport bar. It’s an amazing place. It’s the one time on earth that there’s absolutely no reason not to have a drink. You’re in a fucking airport, first of all, so what the fuck else are you gonna do? Secondly, you’re about to be stuck sitting somewhere for at least an hour where you can’t really do anything and third, you’re guaranteed to sit next to a wild, hastily assembled and completely hilarious cast of weirdos from all over the world who want nothing more than to chill for a moment and talk intermittently with the old, asian bartender guy about what’s on the TV.
My friend Summer has never had a beer in an airport and I think that’s sad. That’s like only jacking off when you’re sweatily wasted and never having an orgasm or watching the opening bands and leaving before the band you want to see comes on. That’s like going to the zoo for the food and not watching the animals, it’s like giving birth to a little girl, raising her until she’s one, giving her away and then taking her back when she’s fourteen. It’s all the work without the part that’s awesome.
And that’s why, to conclude, if you don’t drink at the airport, the terrorists have won.