I’ve been holed up and laying low these last couple weeks. My shoulder surgery (the second one) went well and there is less and less pain each day. The real pain is having to go to the physical therapy sessions and watch the time tick by… sometimes it’s agonizing…. the time taunting me and mocking me as I have to sit still for such long periods… having to devote so many useful hours to these sessions that otherwise could be spent more constructively… on… useful things…. I’ve had to re-assemble my priorities and life schedule (again) and just sit… and slow way down…. maybe that is nature having her laugh and slapping me in the face to remind me i have no control… yet one more lesson kicking me in the life groin… again…

thank you life….

After a long drive from Texas and New mexico… I finally made it home… pulled into my neighborhood late tonight…. it’s a quiet and perfectly still ghost town… my sweet, fog horn, alarm-calls coming in from the jetty. My salty air. My white noise, wave maker. There is no one awake now. All the windows are blackened and asleep. No one here to greet me home or ask where the hell I’ve been. I’ve just snuck back in, exactly as I snuck out… invisible and off the grid… so lovely to be home…

As soon as I got in the door, it hit me smack in the face… like it always does… every time…. all these things that I have now lived without for so long. All the things I apparently do not need at all. One good thing about traveling and living out of a suitcase…. it’s easy to forget what you had before you left, and you forget why you ever needed any of it….

Memphis… same as last night, bar after bar after bar… a slick and disposable live band…. playing blues… I stopped in one and sat for awhile… just sat and watched and listened and drifted and lost track of time… but in the end, it feels exactly the same as Nashville… and no Elvis sweat…

Nashville…..
Cruising down the Broadway strip… like a little Vegas… bright lights and the annoying chaos of tourists clogging up the sidewalks… and every bar after bar, next to every bar, has its own live band playing its own disposable country music… each one slicker than the last…. at the very end of the street, there was quite a crowd of commotion swarming at the big something-something arena… ticket scalpers were everywhere…. I was curious, but not curious enough to go see what all the fuss was about… later, I found out Bruce Springsteen was playing… it seemed so un-Nashville-like…

I couldn’t be distracted… I was on a mission…. to try to find me some ‘Elvis Sweat’…. a novelty gag gift that was made years ago… every person i asked in every shop along the street had the same confused, perplexed then amused, look on their face…. followed by the same slow, drawly, “You want WHAAAT?”

Kentucky…. again… I am a little washed out… some days, the long drives can be wearing and tedious, without much to look at except for more of the wide open space. I sat this morning in a Waffle House (scrambled eggs around melted cheese, biscuits and gravy), getting seduced by the waitresses’ chatter in their sloooooow Kentucky drawl.

The waitress in my station had a boyfriend drop into the booth in front of me. She kept coming over to him, cleaning the tables and checking the sugar levels, and wiping glasses down at his table, trying to be near him. They were completely silent, and he tried to look busy drinking his free Coke… while they were staring long stares and speaking a million words without moving their mouths. They must have spent last night together and she had been working her shift since she left him sleeping in bed. I couldn’t help marveling at their young, awkward trance and secret love language.

Brooklyn, NY….. Last night I got back at about 4am, and moved my car around the corner to the next block. It was street cleaning day later in the morning, so I felt pretty good about being so smart and pro-active and got a solid night’s sleep…

I woke up and packed all my bags, mentally prepared myself for my 10-hour drive ahead to Ohio and Kentucky… and went out to load up and….

gone… car gone. wait…. wrong street? wrong block? walked to each end of the street… no… car gone…

Called and checked with NYPD to find out it was thankfully (?) towed… not stolen…
I had apparently parked it in a bus zone… no curbs marked… no pavement markings… no signs… I was supposed to just “know”… spent the rest of the day trying to get it out of the impound/tow yard… more comedy and drama at the NYPD station… long lines (of city revenue) and stress, watching others getting denied their car, throwing tantrums at the bullet-proof glass windows, flying into uncontrolled rages… it was Friday, afterall… and getting closer to 5:30pm… and all I could think about was the possibility of not getting to leave with my car… and it being trapped all weekend…. and me having to cancel the rest of the shows of the tour…

I finally made it to the bullet-proof window, and indeed there was a problem… a big problem… I had no I.D. (it was in my car) but the nice NYPD lady told me about a loop-hole, a way I could get around the problem… somebody else in line could sign for my car… a kind gentleman and his granddaughter… I am still not sure why that lady was so kind and helpful to me after all the yelling in her face she just endured… but I got my car… got on the road… and drove all night… drove fast and far away from New York… the tour is not canceled! The show must go on…

Johnson City, TN……. a good set tonight… seemed like it was winning. I keep finding new souls and deep hearts I want to explore and dive into, and then, I have to shoot off immediately to get on the road… there’s no time for dillying or dallying and I miss the open-ended-ness of being in some distant exotic country where you don’t have to worry about getting somewhere… still, time means little here, but it’s just not the same when you have to rip yourself away to get to the next town. I am a spinning top among the daybreakers and idle tea totallers and night-swimming beer enthusiasts escaping their lives…

New York….. I get a couple days off from shows and driving… it feels good to be out walking on my feet…

On my way uptown to visit Joe at the karaoke BBQ joint, as I was stepping onto the train station platform, right in front of me about 8 feet away, I walked straight into the action… of a guy swinging through, Popeye style, fully clocking another guy square in the jaw. RIGHT IN FRONT ME.

The guy who got hit didn’t even try to block it and fell backwards without putting his hands out to break the fall… he just fell back on the ground and laid there stiff and paralyzed for a couple minutes. His eyes were wide open, with a look of Christmas morning astonishment and disbelief… didn’t look around to anyone for help, just stared to the ceiling and laid there in a trance… some people started gathering around, then he just got up and walked away.

When I got to my stop uptown, I came out on Broadway Ave…. asked a couple girls walking past me for some helpful directions. They just kept walking… I continued talking to them kindly as they got further and further away, as if we were all in the same conversation…. when they reached the corner, without turning around, in New York chic fashion, they both flipped me off. As if they had rehearsed it. Both lighting up their birds over their shoulder. I thanked them… and New York.

Later, on my way back, it was 2am, I was waiting for my subway train… one of the workers was blasting a power water gun, cleaning the platform area… another worker was sweeping the sprayed areas…. it was so late and ghost town-like, we were the only three out there….. the water gun lady apparently needed to blast the area where I was standing, and yelled out to the sweeper lady, “Hey! Tell that girl to move!”

Goodnight, New York.

Millersburg, IA…. population: 187
Heading towards Dubuque, I was thrilled to see there is a town dedicated to me… so I pulled off the highway to investigate… yes, I had a show to play… but this is my town, my people…

I drove right through it, down Main street, past the Millersburg Middle School, the Millersburg Fire Department, the Millersburg Methodist Church… all pretty quiet… no parties or parades for me… not a single person came running out of their house to greet me… I gotta fire and hire a new community organizer…

I think we need a professional sports team, too… and I hereby declare free wi-fi for the entire town… also, the month of April will be peanut M&Ms and Gummi bear month…

Lincoln, NE….. played a show with Sas and Sean tonight. They’ve also graciously taken me in for food and shelter and it is the perfect, easy getaway. Time does stand still here. I have lost track of the days and hours… and their trees and ground are smothered in bright yellow and orange. I haven’t seen this phenomenon in years and years. I think it’s called Fall.