Monday, April 14, 2008


Just after crossing the Illinois/Indiana state line last Thursday, while still in the truck, I called Brad to find out a good place for Pat and Salim to drop me off, as they were routed straight through Evansville. An hour after receiving the coordinates, the truckers let me out, about half a mile from the intersection Brad named (because there was plenty of room on the shoulder to pull the truck over, while we were unsure whether there would be such space up ahead).

At 4:30 I arrived at our meeting place and lit up a Pall Mall from a pack Pat had given me. I figured I'd finish the smoke, then call Brad to find out when he'd be around, but Brad pulled into the gas station's parking lot before I finished smoking my evil cancer stick, shortly after 5:00. While loading my backpack into the back of Brad's Jeep, he introduced me to his son, Kam, who was riding in the back seat. On the way to his house, Brad showed me a little bit of Evansville, including the railyard.

At his house, Brad immediately dug out his hair clippers and fixed my scissorjob with the 1/4" attachment. I took a shower and started on my laundry, most of which I'd not even worn but needed washed anyway because, as you may remember, all my stuff was soaked in Georgia. (I'm going to redo my head with the 1/8" attachment before I leave Brad's house.)

I had some clothes that were still clean enough to wear in public, so sometime Thursday evening we headed out for dinner at what I guess is Brad's favorite Evansville pizza joint. I think it's called Turino's. (Brad, correct me if I'm wrong.) First we took Kam to Brad's ex-wife's house and picked up Brad's good friend Ben (who marched with Brad in the Limited Edition Drum & Bugle Corps the year after my final season). Then we headed to the pizza joint.

I usually prefer a simple pizza with only cheese or pepperoni, but Brad and Ben were Jonesing for something with a lot more stuff on it, so I decided to try a pizza loaded with toppings I've never considered eating before. I think it had pepperoni, sausage, black olives, green olives, and a couple other things on it, but I didn't pick anything off of my pieces and I enjoyed it. (Thanks for helping me broaden my repertoire of tastes, guys.)

Shortly after the pizza arrived, Steve Groves and his wife showed up. Steve marched in Limited Edition one of the years I was in the corps, but I didn't know him very well. It was cool to see him again after all these years; his wife is very cool.

Since Brad had to work early Friday, we didn't stay out very late Thursday night.

I used Friday to catch up on my e-mail and mess around on Brad's computer. When he got home from work, we went to his girlfriend Lora's house, then to another pizza joint, where we ordered their signature item, "stromboli." I was confused with the menu because they did not have a list of several different types of stromboli. "Stromboli" was just listed at the top of the "Sandwich" menu, and there was just one variation, which the menu does not even describe.

When our "strombolis" arrived, they turned out to be sandwiches. They were sliced sub rolls with ground beef, cheese, onions, peppers, and maybe some other stuff. Considering this pizza place was clearly a favorite hometown joint (with three or four locations), I just sat there and wondered, "Has anyone ever told them that this is not a stromboli? How do they not know already? What the fuck?!?"

Confused, I ate my not-stromboli. I thought the previous night's pizza was much better.

After dinner, we spent most of the night hanging out at Lora's house.

Saturday was very interesting. We wasted the day and prepared to have a night on the town. Sometime in the evening, we picked up Lora and headed toward downtown Evansville. They wanted to show me around, but the warm day had turned into a cold and windy night. We parked about a mile from the heart of downtown, beside the Ohio River, and started walking toward the action. But after five or ten minutes of walking, Brad (who had no jacket) couldn't take any more, so we headed back to the car. That was fine with me because I was cold even with a jacket, particularly because I'm used to having thorough insulation atop my head. Without my signature mop on top, I now get cold much quicker.

Upon returning to the car, we headed to one of their favorite bars.

Just before we entered the bar, they informed me it was a gay bar. No, it didn't freak me out. I've been to gay bars on many occasions before. And no, I'm not gay; I'm just not a fearful bigot.

So we all sat at the bar, consumed some adult beverages, and eventually began talking to a very gay guy named Stephen. Stephen was cool. He was also into drum corps; however, he never marched in a drum corps.

A couple hours later we went upstairs, as the show was about to begin. What show? The drag queen show.

I couldn't really get a good picture from where I was sitting, so here's a crappy one.

I have another picture that might be a little better than that one. Maybe I'll get it up here some other time.

Anyway, I got some video footage of the drag queen show. You'll probably never see it because it's not really all that interesting, especially if you're gay and have seen 50 such shows already.

Since this is getting pretty long, I have one more thing to say right now about my time in Evansville: Yesterday, at Lora's house, Lora decided to make some food for me and Brad. She started by rolling out a canned pizza dough into a rectangle. To the dough she added ham, turkey, and cheese. Then she rolled up the dough lengthwise and sealed the ends before adding an eggwash and putting it in the oven.

In other words, she made us a stromboli. Not just a random food creation someone just decided should be called "stromboli," but a true stromboli. She didn't know it was a stromboli, though, because she thinks the pizza joint's sandwich thing is a stromboli. I can't remember if I pointed that out to her.

I preferred her stromboli to the pizza joint's "stromboli."

Also, Lora's really nice. And Brad, you are a very good dad. It's obvious that your kid loves you, so keep doing it right.

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Call me sometime; I get lonely. 614-738-3867

Suicide Solution

I've been listening to Brad's Motley Crue Shout at the Devil CD because for too many years I have been deprived of one of rock and roll's greatest albums. Looking through the liner notes, after all the thank yous and whatnot, it says, "Caution: This record may contain backward messages."

That's funny because it's obviously a smart-ass response to the hysteria generated by all the shitty, uptight parents who, in the early 1980s, made harmless metal lyrics a scapegoat for their horrible parenting skills.

I want to thank you, Motley Crue, Ozzy, Iron Maiden, Dokken, Queensryche, Dio, King Diamond, young Metallica, Ratt, Twisted Sister, GNR, Slayer, and all other "Devil Music" bands for refusing to numb my young mind and for helping me develop a personality and a sense of independence while most of the other kids my age were sedated and brainwashed by top 40 bullshit.

A double devil sign to all of you, even those of you who went on to suck. (I'm not positive, but I bet Pastor Lew gives me an Amen on this one.)

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Call me sometime; I get lonely. 614-738-3867

Transcontinental tales

All right, so let's see if I can stop talking about myself and start talking about some of the people I meet.

Patrick Clancey is a trainer for a large trucking company. He is originally from Long Island but now lives near Knoxville, Tennessee. Equipped with more of a Brooklyn accent--as opposed to a Long Island accent--Patrick is a huge Ozzy Osbourne fan, which seems to drive his current trainee Salim ("SAH-leem") Napier a little nuts sometimes because, as you might have guessed, Salim is black and likes R&B music. It's not a hostile kind of nuts, though; more like a "Jeez, I wish he'd turn that shit off" kind of nuts.

Patrick and Salim get along very well, and I got along well with both of them for over 5,000 miles. In their cab you'll hear a lot of playful references to chicken, watermelons, and crackers, as well as some other usually-racially-derogatory terms, but it's all in fun in their particular Freightliner.

On to Patrick: When Pat is sleeping, he is both funny and scary. He apparently has narcolepsy and sleep apnea, along with some other custom-made, freaky sleep habits. When he sleeps, his snores sound like a lion's roar. He often sleeps sitting up, occasionally talking in his sleep, making for many confusing moments.

There is a fine line between consciousness and unconsciousness with Patrick. When he is not driving, he bounces back and forth between sleep and not-sleep just about every few seconds. There were many times when he would be sitting on the passenger seat asleep, only to wake up and light a Pall Mall, take a hit or two, then fall back asleep in an upright position with the lit cigarette between his fingers. A few seconds later he would wake up and take another hit, then likely fall back asleep for ten or twenty seconds. During these episodes, Salim and I usually paid pretty close attention to Patrick because, well, that's kinda freaky.

Even more freaky was when Patrick "drove the truck" in his sleep. Sometimes when Salim was driving and Pat was sleeping in the passenger seat, Pat would reach for various instruments on the truck's instrument panel, like the parking brake controls. Salim would have to keep a close eye on Pat at moments like this because even when asleep, Pat's brain seems to remain operating an 18-wheeler.

Thursday morning while sleeping in the passenger seat, Pat reached for his door handle and pulled on it, slightly opening the door. Salim was quick to notice this and vigilantly shouted something to Pat, in an attempt to snap him out of it. It worked; Pat woke up and pulled the door shut.

This kind of stuff happens very regularly when Pat is not driving. Obviously it is kind of stressful for the other people in the cab. But when Pat is behind the wheel, he's as solid as a rock. He does not drift in and out of full consciousness; his attention is totally on the task at hand. He is a very safe driver.

As of right now, Salim has about a week of training left before he becomes a regular employee. Even with the good relationship between Salim and Pat, I'm sure Salim is more than ready to move on. His nerves must be totally shot by now. He told me he is going to be a team driver when he finishes his training with Pat. I don't know if that is his choice or if you have to start out as a team driver; it sounded as if he chose to drive as part of a team.

Anyway, I'll probably see one or both of these guys somewhere down the road. Pat and I exchanged phone numbers, so I can see myself potentially climbing back into his blue Freightliner again someday. It certainly will not be for a ride back and forth across the entire country, though.

Here's a pic of Salim. I never got around to taking a picture of Pat.

In other news, I'm going to wait until tomorrow to leave Brad's house, rather than today, because the weather is supposed to be a little better tomorrow. I intend to write another post later today about some things we've done here in Evansville.

In something totally unrelated... Brad, I looked up the lyrics to that Pretenders song we heard at the airport. Here's what she says:


I've been wondering for years what the hell she says there. (I'll probably forget in five minutes.)

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Call me sometime; I get lonely. 614-738-3867