I have to pee right now. Its 9.49 am on the morning of Good Friday. You would think that since we have been home for a week that the tour diary would have already been written. You'd think that one writes in a diary every day, at the end of the day. Well, let me tell you, that's just not the case. Just because the idea of a diary is that one writes everyday and has a complete document by the time one returns from the trip that one is documenting just makes too much sense. Certain diarists only take scrappy notes while sitting in vans for 10 hours a day with nothing else to do but practice breathing exercises and photograph sleeping band mates and their own deformed toes. A certain diarist has now acquired the technology (along with her band mates) to type elaborate documents complete with photos, illustrations, and web links, directly into her laptop computer while sitting in the back of a dirty van for 10 hours trips, and still this certain diarist chose to do nothing (oh yes, I now also like to measure my dangerously low resting pulse rate). She would rather be harassed and ridiculed by drummers and bass players to "get the fucking shit done already" for weeks following the arrival home.

I still have to pee. Smelly coffee pee. But it will come out in a bathroom NOT covered with the urine of strangers.

Monday March 13. The Apes are going to Texas! Spring has arrived and South by SouthWest starts in just a few days! The long dark winter is almost over and my entrapment in DC is about to end! We are going to see all of our friends, play music, eat greasy Mexican food, and drink yummy coffee and I will get to drive all these drunk-ass motherfuckers around while staying dangerously sober and getting really bitter about it!

We load the van Sunday night after practice, since we have to leave quite early Monday morning to complete the 9 hour drive to Knoxville. Everyone's main concern is that we arrive in time to get our free meal from the hippy restaurant down the street from the Pilot Light (even though the venue was changed at the last minute, we are still banking on that free hippy meal). We decide to go through the Appalachian Mountains down Route 81 since the directions provided by our booking agent originate in Ohio. We have never ever originated in Ohio. Not that there is anything wrong with Ohio. I love Ohio. Not as much as Pittsburgh, but quite a bit.

I start out at the wheel. I have a back pillow. I have a front pillow. I have a coat over my lap. I also have a book of matches. I hope one of these tools (or a combination of several) absorbs the odor of the hideously bizarre stench of gas produced by my mutilated intestines. Haha. Hahaha.

At one point, Jeff pulls at HIS new laptop and attempts to watch the episode of The Contender that he downloaded the night before. We are determined to be THE NERDIEST BAND ON THE ROAD. We will no longer speak. We will only IM each other. Or give each other the finger. [Jeff: Unfortunately, there was too much glare from the sunlight to enjoy my show, and the road noise drowned out the mellow tones of Sly coaxing the Contenders to fight for their dreams.]

The drive is quiet, peaceful, and mellow -- until we arrive in Knoxville, and the highway exit names offered by MapQuest don't exist and we are about to run out of gas (in the van, not in my guts). After a quick call to my mother (secretary) and a 15 minute long explanation of how to find the club's website online, I make another phone call to the club, and we are there!

We arrive at the empty bar and the lonely bartender gives me the number of the promoter. We are HUNGRY. She calls back a few minutes later. Apparently, she told our booking agent that she could make us some hummous if we got to town early enough. But we had to call her ahead of time to let her know. We hadn't done that. Now she was running late. She had only just emerged from the shower. Oh, that's cool, I said; real cool. It's always cool to arrive early when you are driving 600 miles.

We hit the strip. Jeff and Paul go one way. Erick and I go the same way with a safe distance of about 100 feet between us. We end up turning around and heading back the other way. We decide on Panera. I know I can bully them into making me a salad with everything except the lettuce on the side.

The girl at the counter is prepared for psychos like me. She has a complete notebook with nutritional information and ingredient lists for every item on their menu. I decide to buy stock in Panera. We eat, steal some free wireless connection, and head back to the club. The promoter is there and she is super apologetic. It was really a miscommunication on the part of the booker. She has made vats of hummous and Baba Ganoush, even though she was running late. She shows me the contract she faxed back to our booker. It clearly states what she told me. We eat the food later.

The other band we are playing with, Supersystem, has arrived. We chat, sit, fool with our pedals, and set up a merchandise table. We are psyched to be playing with Fangs, a band from Knoxville, whom we've played with several times.

The show is cool, despite starting after 11 pm on a Monday night. The sound is decent. Everything seems to be working. Shortly after 2 am, we head out to the country to stay with Paul's friends, Paige and Jay. We've stayed with them before. Their place is beautiful and clean and she has already dictated that I get the futon. That's right. Futon for the lady. Lady. Hah. [Jeff: So we get to the house just as Supersystem is pulling up. We tell Amanda to hurry up and park in the driveway so we can run in and grab the good sleeping spots. She says she doesn't care because she has already been promised the futon. I dash in and throw my sleeping bag on a big air mattress our hosts have graciously provided. Erick and Amanda come in; Amanda ignores the aforementioned futon and the two of them shove my stuff off the air mattress and drag it off to a little alcove of their own. When I point out what little bitches they are, Amanda starts spewing profanities. I tell her if they're going to steal my bed, she needs to go out to the van and bring in her Aerobed for me to use. She does, cursing profusely at me all the while. It should be noted here that in 4-5 years of touring, I can probably count on one hand the number of times Amanda has even bothered to bring her Aerobed mattress or her camping sleeping pad into the house at which we're staying -- she fully intends to grab the bed/futon/sofa every single night, and her pair of beds serve only as extra van clutter. Epilogue: After ten minutes of lying on it, the Aerobed is completely deflated, apparently having a leak somewhere.]

Supersystem is staying there as well. After a little wrangling with air mattresses, beds, and futons, we all sort of go to sleep (not before Jeff makes several attempts to establish a wireless internet hook-up). [Jeff: No internet, but I did get to watch The Contender while everyone else slept. I love you, laptop!] Only problem is that it's about the same temperature inside as it is outside and I think a sleep a total of 3 hours. Mostly I roll around shivering and pretending that I am above things like body temperature and sleep. I get up and stay up at 8am, determined to get the first round of hot water, knowing that at least 9 people need to shower, and we have to leave by 10 am for the next 10 hour drive. Somehow, Erick, the little creep, actually is up before me, and actually showers before me. This is unheard of. He was too freaking cold to sleep as well.

When The Apes leave at 10.15, Supersystem are all still completely fast asleep.

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