Sunday, June 09, 2013

Driving In Cars With Jeff

So, I went on a little trip with Jeff this week, to see Sting in concert yet again.  I can't remember what the Brits call it, a mini-holiday or something (for every stupid word like "bonnet" or "tyre," they have two clever and exotic-sounding words like "flat" and "lift" and "defenestration."  But I'm already digressing).  We left on Tuesday and came back on Thursday, so it wasn't long, but I thought it went extremely well, and we got along, despite the fact that he's from Hoth and I'm from Tatooine.

Jeff and I have been friends for over twenty years, and it's sort of strange that we continue to be friends, because he is very, very smart, and I am often not-so-smart.  He gets up at six in the morning without the use of an alarm, and I am typing this at 2:31am with no plans for quitting anytime soon.  Jeff got married young, and I will never, ever be loved.  Jeff reads novels for pleasure, I can't even be arsed to read comic books anymore.  Jeff wants to live in some of the drearier places in Northern England, and I'd prefer some place near the ocean, even if there's smog and crime and people working the register at Chinese restaurants who only speak Spanish.  Jeff hates the heat, and I hate the cold, but betwixt the both of us, we lick the platter clean, I suppose.

It was a pleasant, uneventful drive, with a ton of conversation, some of it much deeper than we usually get, discussing life, religion, GLBT tendencies, and death rituals.  But we still talked about the New Mutants and exactly what powers the Scarlet Witch has, so some things never change.

At one point on the trip, Jeff said he checked my blog to see if I'd written about the vacation, and it made me feel guilty, because I hadn't really intended to.  We had that aforementioned private conversation on the drive, and I wasn't about to share that will the absolutely no one who reads this, and the concert itself wasn't especially memorable, even if the venue was.  To be honest, I got an idea for a short story, and spent all my blog time writing it on my brother's laptop.  You'll probably hear that story in August, so it's good I didn't wait till the deadline to write it*, even though it meant I did no blogging.

The concert was in Denver, at the Red Rocks Amphitheater, which is up in the mountains, surrounded by rocks that are, ironically-enough, orange.  We parked in a big gravel lot, then had to walk, what, half a continent to get to where the concert would be.  Jeff and I like to walk, so it wasn't so bad, but there was an endless wall of stairs to get up there,** causing poor Jeff to sweat profusely, even though it was only fifty-four degrees out, which to me is an iceberg. 

As we climbed the stairs, friendly hippies gave away something like Larabar Cashew Cookies to anybody that wanted one, but Jeff shook his head wildly and refused.  I didn’t understand his nearly-hysterical reaction, since I was raised to greedily accept anything that is free, but Jeff explained that Larabars are made from something thick that is harvested in French Canada from the rectums of the elderly and the mentally ill.  Jeff has done his research, that I can guarantee you.

It was kind of an amazing locale, with the rock formations enclosing us, and a distant view of the Mile-High City in the horizon (though it was too cloudy to see much of Denver that night).  The people around us brought cameras, as well as drinks, blankets, booze, binoculars, and something that looked like the cross between a Slurpie and booze.  I would've taken several pictures if I had thought to bring a camera, and the way my phone works is that I have to delete one of the ten pictures it already has in it to take another one.

Sting sang his usual songs, and no mention was made of his new album or tracks from it, despite it having been announced the night before our show.  That was kind of disappointing, but we had bought the tickets not knowing there was a new album in the works at all.  The crowd was mostly older folks--which I suppose I'm lumped in with now--but the woman who stood next to me was constantly sending text messages on her phone instead of watching the show, just like a young person.

Afterward, we hiked down the stairs and hill, even though it was now dark, and sat waiting for cars to inch their way out of the various lots.  But that sort of thing usually doesn't bother me much, since it is part of the price you pay for going to a concert or a ballgame.

Mostly what we did on the trip was drive, whether to find food, a movie theater, food, the Mile High Comics warehouse we read about as children (we didn't end up finding it), food, gas stations, and places to eat. 

We made this same trip in November of 2011, and driving through the town of Fruita, there were these dead-looking trees that were so beautiful, I wanted to dance around them wearing only a loincloth (or less).  I had taken a couple of pictures on the return trip, but they didn't do them justice, and this time through, I had my camera in the suitcase, so I could only look.  It's summer/spring now, so the trees looked totally different, but still beautiful.

Sometimes we talked, sometimes we just sat in silence, listening to music.  Jeff played a song for me by a dude called Flowers, that I'd never heard before, and I've now listened to it about eighteen times.  But more on that later.

In 2011, we stopped in the city of Grand Junction, Colorado, and I told Jeff that I want to live there one day.  He wants Ireland, I want this town on I-70 where I liked the Target store.  This year, we stopped there for gas, and it didn't even occur to me we were in the same town.  I can't even remember why I liked it so much.  It sucks to give up on your dreams. 

Like when I realized I would never ever marry that girl from "Just the Ten of Us."

Last trip, it was winter and so it was dark when we drove through the desert, but this year, I actually got to see some amazing rock formations and buttes/mesas on the drive back.  They were amazing (or a better word than my second use of "amazing"), looking a lot like those mountains they drive on in CARS, during the romantic subplot, and I realized, in talking with Jeff, that I had no idea how they got there.  I didn't even know if they happened over centuries or all at once.  It also sucks to have a brain that only retains funny voices and quotes from "Leave It To Beaver," and not useful information or science.

The other thing I wanted to blog about, and it's a little thing, really, is that Jeff was driving and I looked at his iPod and discovered that he had a playlist there with my name on it.  But it wasn't a grouping of my favorite songs or songs we first heard together, but the exact opposite sort of thing: songs Jeff likes and was sure I'd despise.  I sort of got to choose the music when he was driving, but once I got behind the wheel, that playlist went right on.

Jeff seems to have gotten pleasure out my negative reaction on one of the songs, so he played through all thirty-nine tracks in the playlist, keeping a kind of score as to how right he was.  It was filled to bursting with Florence & the Machine and something called The Wombats (neither of which I really despise), but there was only one Foster the People song in the whole bunch.  As each track played he'd ask for my verdict, and it turned out that there were only six points in Jeff's favor on there (four songs I hated, and four songs I didn't care for that he gave a half a point to).  I told him the Foster the People song could count for five points, but he didn't think that was fair.

It struck me as either really twisted or really kind of endearing that Jeff would create a playlist of songs to annoy me, and it's the same that he was talking about us making that same trip again in a year or so.  The worst thing was, when I asked him how much I owed him for the tickets and hotel room, he told me, "Happy birthday." 

Last time, I believe he said "Merry Christmas."

I'm reminded of the ending of THE NAKED GUN, when Priscilla Presley says to Frank Drebin, "Everyone deserves a friend like you."  And in the background, poor O.J. Simpson is violently injured yet again.

Good times.

Rish Outfield, Police Squad!

*And now I can leave it alone for a month and look at it again when I'm no longer close to it.  That's always a good idea.  That and reading the damn thing aloud.  Put that on my tombstone.

**Right past where our seats were, the stairs continued to a tunnel, where Shelob waits for unfortunates to come near.  She's always hungry, Precious.


Seraph said...

I love you Rish. :-)

Big Anklevich said...

It seems like making a playlist of songs that you despise would be so damned easy that it couldn't really be called endearing...but then again, maybe I'm wrong, since Jeff only got 6 points with 39 songs.