Whew. It's been quite busy around here since Robin got back into town. I've got my better half back, and it feels really good to be able to hate humanity with my partner in crime by my side.
The night she flew back into Portland, I was more anxious to see her than I have ever been before. I couldn't think about anything else. The day seemed to be frozen in time. I was not only looking forward to seeing her, but finally getting the chance to see Banner Pilot play. The only thing I could do to calm my nerves (before riding with Shamoo to pick her up from the airport) was to drink a bottle of red wine. It did the job of balancing me out quite well, and Shamoo and I even had a pretty in-depth conversation about life and beliefs while in transit.
We circled around the terminal a couple of times and on our third go-around, there she was. Glowing with the airport lights and a smile stretched across her face, there she sat, the love of my life. I practically jumped out of the moving car we embraced. For a few seconds, we didn't even care that we were blocking traffic. There wasn't possibly enough kisses and hugs that could be given in those brief moments of being reunited.
We held hands all the way to the show, directing Shamoo via GPS. Everything was right with the world. The night opened up and the cool, rainy air of the city permeated the car. We found our way downtown quite easily, paid eight bucks for parking a couple blocks away and walked to the show.
After spending a couple weeks lonely and bored, it felt like I was being taken into the arms of a kind and caring city as soon as we walked through the doors. My loneliness evaporated, It was a friendly atmosphere, buzzing with talk and alcohol-fueled smiles. We made our way to the bar, ordered beers and met up with Heather and Mike immediately. We had made perfect time. Lost City was only halfway through their set, and there was still another band scheduled to play before Banner Pilot.
We passed the time by shit-talking some bands, smoking cigarettes and drinking. I felt alive, pulsing with the music and pouring beer down my gullet. I couldn't keep my hands off Robin, kissing her at every opportunity. Eventually, commotion became louder and louder as Banner Pilot began taking the stage to set up. We slammed our empty beers on the bar and drunkenly barreled our way to the front. I had waited six years for this moment, and there was no way I wasn't going to be up in front.
With the exception of them not playing "Milemarking", their set was perfect. It was loud, gritty, anthemic. The songs maintained their pop sensibilities even though the live versions were altered a bit. The band showed no signs of wear and tear and they looked to be having a blast. Robin and I were in the pit (yes, there was a pit) the entire time, dodging elbows and flying feet. A couple of shithead kids were crowdsurfing and it was obvious that no one approved. They were quickly yanked down and tossed to the floor. I wound up with at least two fat lips.
After their set, we all mingled for a while. Plans were being made collectively and we were to all go our separate ways by the end of the night. Robin and I had plans that wouldn't be altered even with a nuclear holocaust.
Nick, vocalist of Banner Pilot (and one of my absolute biggest influences for, well, everything) was lingering outside the venue after the show. Blending in with the crowd, he wasn't much for conversation. I was drunk enough to actually talk to him in person. We've corresponded via email relatively consistently over the last few years, and I finally wanted to come face to face with him. Without a word, I turned around and offered him a cigarette. He kindly accepted and I introduced myself. After a couple minutes of introductions, a light bulb went off in his brain. "Oh, yeah! Dean Omighty!". I laughed and politely corrected him.
I prologued the conversation with "I'm gonna get fanboy on you for a second...". We proceeded to talk about how much the band meant to Robin and I. The lyrics, the entire feel of their music was something we both can totally relate to coming from the Midwest. We talked about the last time they played Portland. It had been almost four years. We discussed the many merits of John Fante's work, a huge influence of both of ours. Eventually, the conversation hit a good stopping point. Nick had places to be and the rest of us were ready to go home. "You know what, dude?" I said to Nick, "Gimme a hug. It's the least I can do". A look of pure appreciation flashed across his face and we hugged. We parted ways and the fanboy in me was excited to the point of dancing.
Shamoo, being the responsible and generous DD for the night gave us and Heather rides home after the show. The night eventually wound down and I crashed out hard, more physically tired than I have been in a long time.
Robin and I woke up later that morning wrapped up in each other. We stayed in bed longer than we normally would, content to finally be together again with no immediate obligations. She didn't have to work until later that afternoon, and I had the day off. After running a couple of errands, we settled down on the futon and ate pizza and watched "America's Funniest Home Videos". It's the simple things like that that are incredibly fulfilling. It almost reminded me of being a kid, back when the Sunday night routine was to eat dinner and then watch an hour of AFV.
Stuff like that, the routine of AFV on Sundays & Looney Tunes on Saturday mornings, is something that our generation was the last to experience. Kids nowadays are force-fed hip, pop culture drivel that are marketed as "cartoons". There's no heart, no humor. There's no anxiously awaiting to get out of bed at 6am to watch the Road Runner get chased by Wile E. Coyote. Maybe that's why I feel there's no hope for the youth today. That's the kind of stuff we grew up with and now, as adults, we can still find the merit in programming like that.
I spent the rest of Sunday watching "No Reservations". Anthony Bourdain's rhythm of words, his smart-ass cynicism and chain-smoking propensities is inspirational in a sense. I didn't feel like a bum, though. Watching that show is like reading a book about any given exotic locale. So much information and knowledge is crammed into an episode that you spend most of the time actually learning. We wiled away the rest of the night just being content to be lazy. We were back to our routine.