One of my com padres was talking the other day and he said something that struck me as pretty obvious and at the same time, a bit of a revelation..."You never know what it's like to be on tour until you do it." Well, yeah. Same could be said about jumping out of an airplane or lion-taming, neither of which I intend to do by the way. But I have found out that there are a few things that come at you that you might be totally unprepared for. And these can range from something as mundane as not having clean clothes to wear to actually seeing your life flash before your eyes. Yeah, pretty extreme, I know, let me explain.
Since I like to travel light to most of the places we go I have chosen for myself the equivalent of about three outfits to wear with about twice as much socks and undies. Though that means I am in no way going to be the sort of fashion plate that I aspire to be, with a different outfit for travel, dinner and the theater every day, it nontheless has served me pretty well up to this point. Because, most of the hotels we go to have a guest laundry ( Did you know that? I didn't. ) so the convenience has come in very handy most of the time.
But there are exceptions...
Apparently rich people don't like to do their own laundry. I found that out because some of the hotels we've stayed at, especially on our days off or "golden days" ( days off with no performance and no travel) are five star hotels...pretentious, richy rich,nose in the air, posh, posh, uniformed doorman trying to polish the brass on the door when all you want to do is get in or out and you feel guilty because now he has to put down the polish rag and get his oily fingerprints all over the door again because he has to open the door for your sorry ass, type of hotels....with NO guest laundry. You know, places you or I would not normally be able to afford. Well anyway, some of you may remember a golden day I spent in Pittsburgh when I said rather than pay $4.00 apiece to have their service clean my designer briefs, I packed up my bag and walked over the bridge a couple miles to Germantown and did my own laundry while I ate my $3.99 breakfast at the Victory Grill. (great place by the way)
Well, I must be getting less ambitious as the tour goes on because I opted out of a recent company laundry run only to find out the five star hotel we were staying in doesn't think an extra washer and dryer might be a nice idea for the hoi polloi staying there...Oh yeah, mints on your pillow and a tiny can of Pringles costing $3.50 they see as essential, but a washer and dryer? Not so much. So I decided to wait for the next hotel to do my ever increasing pile of dirty clothes because we were staying two days and I thought, quite confidently, I'll have plenty of time to do my washing. But, no such luck, no guest laundry and no nearby laundromat. No worries, I'll wait till we get to St Louis...nope. I'm starting to worry, I've already made the second round through my ensemble and was coming to the end of my fresh delicates fast. What would I do? Well at one point, having run out of socks, I washed three pairs in the bathroom sink. Maybe Oklahoma City would be my Downey-soft haven....nope.
Dammit! What the hell am I going to do now? Next stop was Abilene TX and if it didn't happen there, people would start coming at me like villagers carrying torches and drive my foul stench off the bus forever! "RRrrrrr!, I am not an animal, I just need clean undies!!!
Well, I was feeling pretty upset by all of this, as you can well imagine. Sitting in my seat grumbling away, complaining to anyone who would listen."This isn't fair, it's ridiculous to have to put up with such nonsense!" "If I had a trailer to pout off to I'd do it right now, I would!" Then, at the very moment I felt my most angry, indignant and spoiled, the bus's brakes lock up on the highway doing about 75 miles an hour! Before I can raise an eyebrow to see what was going on, George the bus driver shouts out " Everybody hold on!" I look up, and out of the front window of the bus I see a sight that no person with clean underwear should ever see! If any of you know the freeway scene in the movie "To Live and Die in LA" you will know exactly what I'm going to say next. A tanker semi going sideways, with it's brakes locked up about three car lengths in front of us, tires smoking, loudly screeching, horns blaring from the other semis all around us... basically auto-Armageddon. If I didn't already have soiled underwear they were certainly going to be in that state very soon. Needless to say, I'm sure there was more than one foxhole conversion and a few Hail Marys in what was a terrifying tumult of vehicular vociferance unfolding in agonizingly slow motion! And yup, I had one of those, life flashing in front of your eyes moments...And you know what? I don't recommend it.
Well, as you've guessed by now, I came through the experience without a scratch, though emotionally, I'm scarred for life. But no one was hurt, the truck righted itself at the last moment and before too long, all was right with the world. But the moral of the story is this....Be aware of what's really important in your life because while you're distracted and upset by the minutiae of the day to day, something awfully big might sneek up on you.
Oh, and that thing about wearing clean underwear in a traffic accident...I wouldn't worry about it.
Be back soon