Saturday, September 01, 2007

Idaho. No U-da-ho.

We're on the road to Idaho. We left town at 3:00, after one of the least painful getting-ready-for-travel experiences we've had all year.

We decided to be ambitious and get all our stuff together last night so we could get breakfast at the LRBC this morning. After a lovely visit with Evan and Ali, we went home, packed up the car and headed downtown. A quick stop at REI for bike snacks and then we parked on the east side and biked back over the Hawthorne bridge to hear Stephanie play at the 200 Market St building.

This gig is a weird one that she's been doing every summer for the last few years. There's nowhere to sit so there's usually only ten people at most gathered around. A lot of people pass through and in half a song, they'll get hooked and buy a CD before heading off to their next business meeting. But for the most part, it kind of feels like having her play in my living room. I met my good friend Liz at this show a few years ago. She was clearly someone who had come down on purpose to listen and we hit it off right away. Just one more reason I feel kinda nostalgic about this gig. I was glad we got our act together enough to catch the second half of the two hour set.

When we walked up, Steph was just finishing up a song. I was thrilled to see that she was playing with Skip VonKuske, my favorite cellist on the planet. Skip can improvise with anyone. He makes cello cool. Also with her was Drew, a new-to-me drummer that I'd seen at a couple of shows this summer. We leaned our bikes behind Mike's merchandise table and as we crossed back in front of the 'stage' Steph said, “I hit a bus.”


She was OK, but she'd run into a Trimet bus on the way there and was late to the gig. So we hadn't missed much after all. But she was obviously upset and delayed the start of the next song to tell us how horrible it was to have all the people at the bus sending shards of hate her way while they waited for the Trimet supervisor to come and do the incident report. We chatted for a minute or so and then went and sat down so she could continue.

(We just saw big horned sheep right by the highway!)

At the break, she brought out a bag full of gorgeous beaded bracelets and necklaces. She said they were made from calendars by women in Uganda. At first I kept thinking 'calendar' was some kind of tree I'd never heard of, but no, they were made from actual paper calendars, rolled up to look like beads and then glazed. On some of them, you can see the numbers and letters, warped from being rolled up. Steph invited us to take our pick and we both picked out bracelets.

Just then I heard a shout and looked behind me to see my friend Danette pulling into the circular drive up.

She had agreed to feed our kitties while we're out of town and now here we were running into her. Turned out she was there to drop off some papers. The randomness and the smallness of Portland never ceases to amaze me.

The second set started and I made a request. “Hey Steph, how 'bout 'Tin Man?'” I asked.

She got a slightly panicked look. “Oh man, who remembers the words to that? Do you remember?”

“I never knew t
hem in the first place!” I confessed. But she immediately started strumming the intro while she called words into her brain and then started singing. You know those songs that you can sing along to if they're playing, but if you had to try to sing without it actually playing, even a gun to your head wouldn't help? That was Tin Man. One of those songs I mumble along to and then bust out with the four lines of chorus I actually know. But it's a catchy tune and Steph was a good sport for playing it. She couldn't remember the second verse, but I told her to sing the first one again. It's not like anyone else would know. Besides, the people who'd heard the first verse were probably already gone by now and new people were passing by.

When it was over, I
said to Jess, “You know, I do think she would've called me up to sing the second verse if I'd know it.”

“Probably so,” she agreed.

“Well you know, that's a common problem for me when I go to shows,” I joked.

A few songs later, I was busy making googly eyes at Jess when a sound finally made it's way into my consciousness. “Pssst! Pssst!” I looked up. It was Steph. She was motioning me over to the 'stage.' Probably our cute couple antics were making her nauseous so she figured to distract me by giving me the mic. I couldn't even figure out what song she was playing the intro to, but I stood up and went over anyway. And then I figured out. It was “Some Birds Ain't Supposed to Fly,” a song I sang on a real stage with a big crowd two years ago at my birthday party during her show at the Imbibe.

It had been ages since I even heard the song and I was completely blanking on the words. But she fed me lines through the first verse and it started to come back. I sang the first and third verse...the high part at the end is a bitch if you're not warmed up so I went falsetto and manged not to sound like a tortured animal or anything. Not my best performance, but my crowd of five seemed to think it was OK. Plus I fantasize about being called up on stage at every show so it's always nice to have it come true once or twice a year. Of course I'd left the camera in the car so no video (I'm pretty OK with that actually) but Jess got a picture on her phone.

After the show, I got a flat just after crossing the Hawthorne bridge. Kind of a bummer way to start the trip, but at least we were close to the car and a bike shop.

We stopped at Rivercity Bikes and I bought a new tire (just in case) and an extra tube. We did our separate bike shop rituals; Jess tried on vests and I ogled the mountain bikes. As we were heading out the door I nearly ran into the last person I expected to see.

“BRUCE!” I shouted happily and launched into his arms. Yeah, I know, not really my normal reaction to guys. But Bruce is one of those rare guys that whenever I've see him, I leave the conversation thinking (or in this case, repeating to Jess in the car), I LOVE that guy! He's so damn cool! Come to think of it, Cory at Seven Corners is one of those guys too. I wonder if bikey guys are just cooler than other guys?

Bruce is a former Rivercity employee who left a year and a half ago to move down south near his mom. When I met him, he'd only ever had two jobs and they we
re both at bike shops. I love Bruce because he doesn't seem caught up in the idea of the American rat race, the need to make a certain amount of money or have 'status.' He loves bikes, so that's what he does. And though I only ever saw him at the shop, I always got the impression he wasn't one of those people who's work was his whole life. He reeks of balance, warmth and friendliness. He did my first bike fitting on my road bike four years ago and I have long considered him my 'bicycle boyfriend.' I was truly ecstatic to see him.

Before I got too happy I asked, “Are you visiting?”

“Nope, I'm here.”

“Wow, you're here?” I said, not believing I could so lucky as to have him back at the shop, but that's exactly what he meant. I had just been thinking how there were all these new faces inside that I didn't know and now one of my favorite people was back. What a total treat!

We spent a little time chatting, he gave me condolences (it amazes me how many people read my emails and never ever EVER reply) and we told him about Idaho. I told him we might have to actually go for coffee sometime so I could hear about the last year and a half for him, which he would only
describe as “weird.”

It was a fabulous way to start our trip and I was glad I got that flat.

We were a little worried about traffic as we got on the road at last but it wasn't that bad for those of us lucky enough to be heading east. By the time we passed the I205 junction, we were going at normal speeds. We were headed towards Hoodriver and every third car had either a bike or a kayak on top. We stopped at Wal-mart in Hoodriver to get batteries for the camera, the only thing I'd forgotten to bring. It was my first time in downtown Hoodriver. It was adorably cute, filled with coffee shops that probably have free wifi and reminded me a lot of Sisters, only closer to Portland and cuter. If I
get a mountain bike soon, I have a feeling I'll be spending a lot more time there.

We only have about three and a half hours to drive today so we'll have time to relax this evening and maybe see a move. The rest of our group isn't leaving till 7:00pm so they'll get in around 10:30. Tomorrow we'll drive to Couer D'Alene and bike the sixty five miles to Wallace, ID. Hopefully without getting shot. Both my dad and Bruce said the same thing. “Watch yourself.” Yeah, I hadn't really thought about it, but Idaho is the “home of the order,” as dad called it. The skinheads, the clan and your general whitepeoplewhohateeveryonethatsnotjustlikethem crowd. Hopefully they're not cycling enthusiasts.

No comments: