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So much to say, so much to say, etc.

As much as I’d like to claim that I spent the time since last Wednesday bound and gagged in a dank corner of a Turkish prison, that isn’t the case. The real reason for my negligence is much more mundane: one Erin Hicks, who has been staying with me since her fanfared arrival Thursday night. You know I’ve been busy when I break out the bullets, so here they are. I’m thinking about just registering and putting the issue to bed forever, but in the meantime…

  • Fate conspired to keep me from seeing Dave Matthews. First, the rental car reservation Erin had made the night before fell through with a rusty groan scant hours before she planned to leave. Then she missed her bus to Seattle by less than a minute and had to wait for the next. With nowhere else to turn, I frantically called Marta to ask if I could take her car, the spare keys to which she’d already loaned me. She didn’t pick up, so I just walked to her house and drove the car away. By five o’clock Erin was still MIA, and I was beginning to doubt the likelihood of our making the seven o’clock show on time. Eventually I decided to check my cell phone messages, and found three increasingly pissed-off rants from the girl in question, who was at that very moment hiking the thirty blocks south to my apartment from where she had gotten off at the wrong stop. I sped to pick her up, and we finally got out of the house at around 5:30.
  • Marta keeps the faceplate to her car system in an unorthodox location, cleverly concealed underneath a napkin, and I thought she had taken it out of the car. Rushing against the clock, I summoned every ounce of engineering skill I possess (a great deal, rest assured) and came up with a solution: speakers from two different stereo systems, my portable CD player, and lots of AA batteries and wires. There was just no way I was driving that far without music. When she called my cell phone fifteen minutes away from the Gorge and informed me of the missing faceplate’s location, I was bitterly disappointed that my ingenuity was only necessitated by my stupidity.
  • Driving to the Gorge is an ordeal to say the least – the roads are winding, the air putrid with fertilizer and ignorance, and the state police unforgiving. You’d better believe Marta’s car has more than enough juice in its aging engine block to break all kinds of traffic laws. The biggest scare came shortly before Ellensburg. I was doing an easy ninety when I spied Statey parked in a turnaround. I immediately slowed to 70, but as I passed his car he started inching towards the freeway, and I watched my rear-view mirror in horror as he pulled out and turned on his roof lights. I continued driving the legal speed limit as my endocrine glands pumped acrid adrenaline by the gallon into my bloodstream – it felt like I’d swallowed my heart. Luckily, Statey was actually after the car behind ours, a shifty-looking brown van. I still didn’t feel right again until after the flashers had disappeared over the horizon.
  • The concert. Ah, the concert. Dave was fairly awesome, and the Gorge was as beautiful as it ever has been. His show has increased in size and grandeur since when I saw him three years ago – there was a good size video screen behind him, and the light show was absolutely the best I’d ever seen. We only missed two songs, we think, which isn’t bad considering our late start in conjunction with the several wrong turns I’d made while driving.
  • After the show we had a choice: set up the tent at the Ellensburg KOA in the dark or just drive the extra two hours back to Seattle and sleep in real beds. We definitely made the right choice, but driving on a near-deserted highway that late at night is a trite roadside crash commemoration waiting to happen. My eyes refused to stay open, and every time I pulled off the freeway in search of a caffeinated beverage the stores were closed. Finally I cranked down the window and stuck my hand into the frigid jet stream. That shock to my system, coupled with loud, upbeat music on the newly functional sound system, kept me awake and out of the ICU, if just barely.
  • Friday night, Erin and I met up with Brett for drinks at the Ram and some wistful remembrances. I was too tired to enjoy myself very much, but I think Brett and Erin were secretly relieved when I announced that it was bedtime around 1:30.
  • Saturday I did absolutely nothing of note except helping Erin shop for and make a dish called “man killer”. The recipe reads like a Kevorkian-prescribed diet for a cardiac patient: 1 lb. Italian sausage; 1 pkg. chicken wings; 1 pkg. chicken thighs; 1 lb. prawns; 1 lb. Dungeness crab legs and claws; two or three hardy beers. The meat is first smothered in seafood and Cajun seasoning, then pan-fried, then boiled in the beer. As if to mock healthy food everywhere, the mixture is served over white rice. I ate so much I wanted to die and then ate more. It was a delicious affront to animal rights activists.
  • Sunday I took Erin to pick Marta up from her house in Renton, and then we all went to the Kabuto Japanese Garden. We wandered the beaten path for a while, then explored a shady trail underneath cedar boughs, knocking down spider webs every few steps (Marta with a stick, me with the fleshiest parts of my face). Back in the untended portion of the park we made a joyous discovery: blackberry bushes absolutely laden with fruit. We grazed our way around the circumference like adolescent caterpillars with the munchies, then loafed on the grass until our stomachs agreed to once more assume a reasonable size. We debated returning with pails and collecting enough berries for a pie, but then decided (almost unanimously) that we were too lazy.
  • Late that night, into the wee hours of this morning, I got the muse up against the ropes and pummeled her until she bled adjectives. The writer’s block appears to be cured, for the time being at least, and I ended up with this article, set for Wednesday’s publication.
  • I’m granting you people early access in return for your continued adoration, or at least tolerance, in the face of site down-time and my lack of updates. As chance would have it, another Daily staffer did a huge photojournalism piece on the Dave concert, and the head editor wasn’t sure if she wanted my article in addition to his. She agreed to publish me if I would express an actual opinion for once; I cringed and acquiesced. This increased the length of said article from 18 inches to 26, both measurements well over my allotted 12. Another victory for verbosity, pending cuts by my most dreaded nemesis: the copy editor.

    Posted in Musings.

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