Nerd Alert: over the course of the ten hour drive to Baltimore, I spent most of my time thinking about Battlestar Galactica. I won't bore you with why you should have been watching BSG if you weren't, because this isn't really a story about a TV show. But I watched the last episode of the show, went to bed, woke up early and got in a car headed east. I had a little Cylon on the dashboard of my rental car, and I was taking special pains to be nice to him. I'm trying to break the old cycle, right?
I've never driven east before. The mountains (the hills?) were sloping and broad. I like them in retrospect, but I remember wanting to get out of West Virginia. It felt good to arrive in Baltimore, though the directions from Google Maps dropped me off the highway farther west than I might have liked. I made promises to myself not to think (or at least not to talk) about the Wire in the lead up to my trip, but it was hard not to when I got off of 70. I've been in rough neighborhoods before -- I've lived in rough neighborhoods before -- but this was honest to goodness block after block of buildings that were boarded up, but not abandoned. One two separate occasions I wondered why dudes were trying to hail my car like it was a cab, before realizing they were simply offering me a unique business opportunity, much like D'Angelo or Poot. I looked straight ahead at stop lights and turned down my Morrissey cd, lest the rental car stereo be more powerful than I might realize.
Adam called while I was following the internet's labyrinthine directions to their apartment, and I tried to be clever as I a) told him I was nearly there, and b) realized his call had instantly distracted me from an important split in the road I was traveling. So I tried to follow my spider-sense out of the Wire's establishing shots and the apartment of my friends, and as you may have already guessed, I eventually made it there safely. I picked up Adam and Kate Lynn, changed my shirt, ate a veggie burger, and we went to see a Talking Heads cover band.
Adam brought up seeing the Psycho Killers (natch) when we were emailing about trip specifics, and I took a moment before responding, and then decided not to be a dick about it. On the one hand: a cover band? On the other hand: Talking Heads! As I yelled to KL during their set, it's not like I'm going to get to see the Talking Heads perform in a club in Baltimore anytime soon ... but after about two and a half songs I was ready to not be listening to a cover band anymore. On the plus side: their David Byrne looks like the son of Dave Matthews and Jon Favreau, and that was kind of awesome.
One of the many TV shows I have made up and secretly journaled about is about a rock band, and it was fun to watch the band on stage and imagine the relationships at play. The singer/guitarist was obviously the most interested in what was going on ... one of the two backup singers got bored and left after the first song turned into a ten minute jam session ... the bass player never looked at anything but where the walls met the ceiling ... the drummer would continually get frustrated and try to catch the singer's eye so he could wrap up the song. The keyboardist looked 17 and overjoyed to be playing Talking Heads songs. Adam also told me the drummer had had a thing for Adam's high school girlfriend when she went off to college, leaving Adam at home for his senior year. He would continually update Adam that he was "looking out for her" at school. Secret failures and embarrassments ... and the feeling I wasn't getting the whole story. I liked that.
The night may have ended with an episode of Flight of the Conchords, and then a phone call to KM. I don't entirely remember what happened after the band though. I met a lot of Adam's high school chums but I couldn't hear anything they said to me. I was hoping they would ask what I did for a living, because my prepared response was "street juggler." And then, in case they asked me to juggle something, I would say, "Look, I don't ask you to suck my dick on YOUR day off, do I?"
(This is not something I would have actually said; rather, it was a thing I told Adam the next day after seeing an ACTUAL street juggler, and it made us laugh, and I put it here so I don't forget it.)
Next time: The Po' House, crabs, clawed tour guides.