Monday, March 20, 2006

The Wayward Son tours Texas

Posted By on Mon, Mar 20, 2006 at 8:26 PM

Getting out of Austin was a lot harder than getting in. After eating a Schlotzsky's sandwich (important side note: Schlotzsky's, a Texas chain, claims to be "home of the original sandwich." This is written without trademark signs, so there's no way to tell that their "original sandwich" is actually a sandwich they made up themselves with Italian meats and olives on sourdough; it's not the orginal Earl-of-Sandwich-two-hunks-of-bread-and-mutton-with-mayo sandwich. The slogan's misleading, but it's not a lie, however, because they call this original sandwich of theirs "The Original." So Schlotzsky's does indeed have the Original sandwich, but it's not the original), I strolled down to the departure gate to find that my flight from Austin to Dallas had been cancelled due to...I don't know. They didn't tell me, and I never asked, because knowledge hurts sometimes, people, it hurts.

Music editors often have to think quickly on their feet, and I had to decide whether to wait for the one employee at the ticket counter to tell me what to do or jump over the counter and beat the information out of her. I'd gotten some practice in the thinking-on-feet exercise from the Austin bartenders, who seem so indifferent as to whether you tip them that you have to decide quickly how much to leave, if anything at all. Every fucking person who receives tips in Austin has a fucking tip jar somewhere near them, and they have been instructed upon pain of death not to pay any attention as to whether you drop anything in the jar. This makes drinker-bartender relations nearly impossible. In Kansas City, our bartenders wisely keep their tips safely stowed back with the liquor. Also adding to the dilemma in Austin is that the servers & bartenders there have not adapted, by means of natural selection, to the brutalities of dealing with scads upon scads of South By Southwest barhoppers. It's my theory that when they finally do evolve, not only will they become more docile, they will develop hard, armor-like plating down their backs and begin foraging for their dinners in the upper parts of trees. Only then will drink + dollar = bonhomie in Austin, Texas.

So, after, like, all that happened, and after I called some friends who I knew were about to drive back to KC, I was handed a flight itinerary for the following day (today), that put me on a flight out of DFW in Dallas, through Chicago, then finally home, a process that would kill an entire extra day. Bo-o-ring. They then herded me and the other unlucky passengers, including an incredibly smartly dressed cadre of festival goers returning to various parts of Great Britain (I wanted to have sex with all of them because I'm an Anglophile-chappist, but travel delays always render me impotent) onto a bus bound for Dallas. I called my friends and told them I wouldn't need a ride and had to apologize profusely because they were already almost to the airport. There was no room in their car anyway, and I was told that if I rode with them, I would have to lie across their laps and service them orally and manually the entire ride home, at the same time allowing them to play hide the salami with any and all of my orifices, too, so it was really a lucky break. Those "friends," by the way, have a dog named Mr. Ruggles. Look into it.

Most inconvenient of all is that my iPod battery was not dead, but half-dead, and I have a fear of making extensive use of half-dead things, which is why I usually turn down propositions from senior citizens. I listened to a little of the new Field Music album and some Highway 61 Revisited, but mostly I watched the rain and the slow traffic and worried about the British people. Oddly, one of the Brits — a Scotsman, actually — was named Harper. He had tight, tapered jeans, a trucker hat and long hair and said he was the editor of Clash magazine. I resisted the urge to schmooze, though, because at that point I felt like talking about the music industry would make me begin to bleed from my ass.

Steven Tyler, proud bringer of pestilence and death.

Many hours later, I was at a hotel somewhere in the vast, soulless suburban sprawl of Dallas. A Bennigan's was within walking distance, so I went down for a little surf 'n' turf and murdered a steak and a family of shrimp and several Harp lagers while thick-necked hicks attempted to prolong their weekends before going back to their jobs driving pickups and working on their sunglasses-shaped facial tanlines. The jukebox played the most atrocious selection of '90s music, including several hits each from Matchbox 20 and Aerosmith. While in the bathroom, I distinctly remember hearing the part in "Amazing" where Steven Tyler scats beebie dop'n' beebie dop a weebap bow. If there's ever been a sure sign that Western Civilization is fated to destroy itself in the next millennia, it's that such a song ever sold more than 300 records.

I'm safely away from that now, enjoying the soothing roar of turbine jets carrying me away from the weirdness and warmth of my home state. I realize there wasn't much of anything of musical interest in this entry, and I promise that when I get back, I'll devote myself to assiduously covering all developments in the lives of the Get Up Kids. So, check in here at least one more time later this week before writing me off as an indulgent, obscene fraud and forbidding your children access to my fount of pain — er, knowledge — ever again.

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