…continued on June 15th, 2004.

Hrm, Heather was taken back to one car and asked questions while another officer asked me the same questions back at the Saturn. It had felt like I was being cross-examined, and we were, but things must’ve been satisfactory, as we were shortly released with a warning (not even a written one, though) and sent on our way.

The host of the open stage at the Melody Inn, Otto. He's hyper, and strangely charismatic, and excitingly dangerous in an art school kind of punk rock way.
The host of the open stage at the Melody Inn, Otto. He’s hyper, and strangely charismatic, and excitingly dangerous in an art school kind of punk rock way.
Heather even made dinner last night over an open fire. She says it's ok to put this picture online because her Dad doesn't look at the Journal.
Heather even made dinner last night over an open fire. She says it’s ok to put this picture online because her Dad doesn’t look at the Journal.
Mud in Indiana.
Woooooorm in Indiana.
Mud in Indiana.
Mud in Indiana.

Anywho, the open mic last night was strangely satisfactory. We didn’t sell any CDs, and frankly, I didn’t feel like I played very well – but there was eye candy coming from all directions, distracting and delicious in multiple ways.

First off, the stage is going directly ahead of me, with musicians and singer/songwriters, but mostly comedians. As with stand-up at open stages everywhere, the quality was varying and the best were decent and the worst were painful.

Then, to my left and over the bar, there is television number one – Now, over the past several months, I’ve grown pretty used to any number of silent televisions over bartops playing sports or random television channels, and I have now watched at least four movies with nothing but Closed Captioning keeping me abreast of the plot.

However, this was Bike Week on the Discovery Channel (Discovery Channel in a bar?!!?) (Bike Week, on the Discovery Channel?!!?) and they were doing all sorts of weird exposes on bizarre motorcycles and (for some reason) gorillas, in between advertisements for next week’s Shark Week.

So, that was pretty fascinating.

Then, turn a little further to the left and there’s the blonde who’s attracting all of the eyes at the bar. Two guys to either side of her are vying for her attentions, and who ever is on stage seems to direct most of their spiel at her. She’s not spectacular, but she’s got the bar seductress sway to her walk, and that groin grabbing way of slithering on and off a bar stool. There are two women in the bar, and by definition, the blonde is the creature most coveted.

We can continue turning to our left, creating distinct discomfort in our necks, and then we’ve got the SECOND television. And for however disconcerting it is to have the Discovery Channel going on one screen, when the second screen is showing Cartoon Channel’s Adult Swim, the stage is suddenly fighting a losing battle.

I now have a craving to see Cowboy Bebop WITH sound.

So, is that enough yet? Not at all – if’n I can hold my body at a complete 180 degrees, I can watch the bartender playing pool. She, like the blonde, isn’t a creature that would turn my head on the street, but also like the blonde, she’s in her element

here. I’m attracted to startling gestures, and she’s full of them, ESPECIALLY while playing pool.

Add in the fact that the entire interior of the Melody Inn is covered in posters and broken instruments and mirrors and at least one helmeted deer head, and it’s an even greater compliment that during our slot, we had the room in the palm of our collective hand.

So, we return to our campsite, and I have a bathroom all to myself, which is what my world is really all about, and we collapse into unconsciousness, waiting for the heat of morning to wake us.

Now, let me make absolutely clear, that unless you count crashing in a tent in Tyler’s backyard (which I don’t) I have NEVER been camping before. I’m not TOTALLY sure if I count this, either, as we keep thinking about running an extension cable from the car in order to watch DVDs in the tent, and there are very nice bathrooms, and there’s a pool, and there’s showers – but some of the campsites DO have anthills under them, so that makes it all pretty wildernessesque to me…

The wind whips the tent from side to side, and the heat fingers us mercilously all night, but morning leaves us unmolested by outside forces, and thunderstorms are promising on the horizon.

June 16th, 2004.

Exhausted and smelling of smoke. I hate ending the night that way, but it’s an all too familiar way to end the night. Again, I’m very thankful for the notion of a campground with a shower, because it’s sometimes agony to spend the night in my skin, covered with the smells of my occupation.

A lot of offers tonight. A lot of small drugs out here. Heather says there’s a stereotype about Indiana meth labs, and it really does seem the thing to do. Young and old, male or female, that offer to smoke up is omnipresent. Stories of where to go to get tipped in joints, that sort of thing.

But we are well-received most everywhere we go. Why that doesn’t translate into everyone buying a CD, I don’t know. I wonder if we’d be better off doing our 3 song for $3 deals. We’d move more product, perhaps – perhaps we should have them along… just one more thing to carry.

DCF 1.0

Heather’s begun work on a journalist piece. I like the thinking, like the writing that’s going into it. It helps that we’re communication over it. It reminds me of our golden moments – when we’re truly working as a team, collaborating and swapping thoughts. We don’t do that enough these days.

Later that morning…
The rain hit us at around 6.30am. The time change and the late open mics have got us a little bit disoriented, so it may have been earlier, or it may have been a bit later. In any case, long before we wanted to be up, with the noise of storm, we were up.

Heather had long ago intimated that perhaps the worst thing in the world is packing up a tent in the world. I’m going to disagree with her on that point – but since she did most of the work, and I’m really comparing it to being in a car accident, you can be assured it’s still not a pleasurable activity.

We DO get rains like this in Maryland. But generally, our weather has the sense not exhaust itself in such a long-winded spate of sky sourced spittle, and isn’t quite so mindedly malicious.

Malicious as in it didn’t REALLY pick up until Heather and I decided we really couldn’t wait any longer, and we NEEDED to make a bathroom run. We might have been okay, except we said it outloud. Whatever vicious gods are in charge of making musicians moist and miserable immediately turned their full attention on us, and it POURED.

And it didn’t pour nice rain. It didn’t pour temparate rain, or even excitingly mixed rain, perhaps sprinkled with a touch of frog. It rained freezing, cold, arctic temperature rain. Struggling with the zipper to reseal the tent had me shivering uncontrollably, to the point that the last several inches were a shaking struggle.

The woman in the office just laughed at me when I appeared in the doorway. I muttered something about “veteran woodsman, I swear”, through our world into a waiting dryer, and stood myself in front a fan… shaking.

Rained on, disgruntled, unhappy rob. All I wanted was the bathroom.
Rained on, disgruntled, unhappy rob. All I wanted was the bathroom.

It is time for hot, hot food. There’s a magnificent Indian buffet waiting for us. Imagine that. An Indian buffet in Indianapolis, Indiana. Zop.

 

June 17th, 2004.

Indianapolis, Indiana has been a cool place to stay, but I’m not sure I’d want to Live here. It’s either nasty hot with DC level humidity, or insanely cold rains that pour out of the sky for hours. I’m assured that this isn’t normal weather, but then it’s intimated that they haven’t had as many tornadoes as usual…

Still, last night’s gig at the redundantly named CATH Coffeehouse was a success. We had an okay number of people by the end of the evening, but more importantly, they were all pretty amazed at what they heard.

We had a guy named Cory, a Tinsmith fan from years ago – he followed a link from the Tinsmith website to ilyAIMY.com, and ordered a CD two years ago. He drove an hour to come see us – and it was wonderful because he and his girlfriend reminded me of friends from home – there’s nothing like that to help get over the nervousness of having driven ungodly hours to come to play to what looks like is shaping up to be an empty room…

But it didn’t stay empty. One of the next entries was Doug. Possibly one of the most intimidating audience members ever – not a biker, not a former teacher, not an ex-girlfriend or an old friend that I was proving myself to – just an innocuous man seated at a front table… not intimidating at all, really – until we asked him how he’d found himself here, listening to us.

His answer was that he’d seen our poster, and only one poster over the past six years had promised so much, and he was here to see if we could deliver.

Cowed, we proceeded to set the room on fire. We had help from Adam, a percussionist we’d met at the Melody Inn a few nights before. We moved people. Physically and spiritually. Last night, I felt like I was filling that room with the spirit of what I’ve been trying to do, and only rarely succeed at. Last night I felt like we communicated part of our souls over to strangers, and they patched it into themselves. Last night, in short, was a good night.

Painted restroom at the Monon Coffeehouse, where we gleaned free wireless in Indianapolis.
Painted restroom at the Monon Coffeehouse, where we gleaned free wireless in Indianapolis.
Angry ducks at Monon. They were very... possessive.
Angry ducks at Monon. They were very… possessive.

After the CATH Coffeehouse, we wandered over to the Stone Mug to see what there was to see there, hung out until midnight or so, and then retreated, quite exhausted, to our first hostel of the Trip.

Run by an anonymous Indianapolitan (I’ve done introductions a couple of times – “hi, my name is rob, this is my partner Heather” but he never took the hint/returned the favour – later found out his name was Mike), the Indy Hostel is a nice little 80 year-old house, slowly being refitted into something new and special. The floors are beautiful, but at the moment, hidden beneath unused lumber, and the walls are beautiful, but at the moment, blocked from view by rolled up carpets – it’s just a nice place, and we’re so thankful to CATH for putting us up here.

We've finally hit a thunderstorm so fierce that we've had to pull over. I've had that happen to me ONCE before, driving my Volkswagon bus and being forced to pull into a gas station by memory in the midst of a hailstorm, nearly hitting the garage because I couldn't see it.  I-70's shoulder is being littered by pulled-over cars, and the lightning strikes are so close that we can feel the thunder through the tires. Frightening. It's amazing watching the storm stalk in. We saw it coming for miles, like a curtain. We're trying to find weather reports on the AM dial that aren't washed out by static, and you can't tell the passing trucks from the thunder.
We’ve finally hit a thunderstorm so fierce that we’ve had to pull over. I’ve had that happen to me ONCE before, driving my Volkswagon bus and being forced to pull into a gas station by memory in the midst of a hailstorm, nearly hitting the garage because I couldn’t see it.
I-70’s shoulder is being littered by pulled-over cars, and the lightning strikes are so close that we can feel the thunder through the tires. Frightening. It’s amazing watching the storm stalk in. We saw it coming for miles, like a curtain. We’re trying to find weather reports on the AM dial that aren’t washed out by static, and you can’t tell the passing trucks from the thunder.
DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0