The popular wisdom and classic tee shirt says “Virginia is for lovers”. That may be true but tonight I am sans my lover. Instead, I find myself in the suburbs of Harrisonburg, VA in a nondescript hotel, digesting nondescript chain restaurant food, and drinking enough rum and cokes to aid that end of day drift to a quite restful place. That place that never seems to last long enough and the place that you think may subtly smirk at you when you do wake up and realize you are alone and back in that nondescript hotel with nondescript morning breath and thinking you may be one lucky son-of-a-gun because the nondescript hotel has a complimentary breakfast. I know I am happy if the coffee is tolerable and there is at least ONE hot item like a bagel or english muffin. You add in a waffle and I am sold!
The day started off with a smile and kiss with my ladyfriend, breakfast, and the almost robotic process of loading up Black Betty (my car) with garment bags, catalogs, accessories, and other random tools of the trade. A quick stop at WAWA for a Vanilla Coffee and it was time to hit the road. The concreate rose up to great me and the tires put home in the rearview and it was go time. Ninety minutes to Baltimore and two appointments rolled into one with the bad asses behind 16 Tons (http://www.shop16tons.com/) and Doubledutch Boutique (http://www.doubledutchboutique.com/) both located “On the Avenue” in Hampden section. I gave my song and dance like I have a hundred times before and wrapped it up in about ninety minutes. It was then I knew I needed the classic Baltimore meal of a crab cake sandwich. So I made my way down to McCabes (http://mccabeshampden.com/) for a tasty lunch that even included a rather impressive cup of French Onion Soup. It was served in the same bowls we used at Max & Ermas and thoughts wondered to my ABBAJC fams and wondered if I will indeed get to Tampa this month and see the lads and get into some real strangeness or have we all gone to straight and narrow? (Watch this space for THAT story should it come to fruition…)
From there I pay the bill, tip my hat, and make my way back to the road. I get out of town fast and with a purpose and find my self out in the wild of the Shenandoah Valley with the sun trying to get behind the mountains and me. It is a fast two hours or so to get into Harrisonburg. The nondescript hotel DOES have warm fresh cookies with M&M’s in them at the counter and that is always clutch. I get checked in and make my way to the room. I spend about five minutes in there before I know that I need to do. I need food, booze, and I need both a lot sooner than later. I grab my jacket, car keys and hotel key and get out.
I stop at the front desk and ask the nondescript women and say with urgency and authority “I need the closest place to eat, and the closest place to buy the hooch. It has been a long day and I am a man that has needs. I pray you can help me. Be my Obi Wan”
“Hooch? Obi Wan?”
“Yes, both, and with as little as delay as possible” I plea.
“You are not from around here are you?” She askes with a half smile that is more fearful than rational.
“Obviously not. You just checked my ID when I checked in seven minutes ago. I am from Philly. Can you help? I cant no leave such matters to Yelp in times like this in places like this” I say with focus and a sense of urgency.
“There is a Chilis and Applebees an exit or two up, and its Virginia, so you can find the, what did you call it? Hooch? just about anywhere” she said trying to hold back the humor she found in this diatribe.
“Excellent. You did just fine. I will fill out a comment card on your behalf when I get back. You need a raise for this level of service and it needs to be in the multi dollar range” I say as I flash and OK hand gesture and make my way out of there.
I fire up Black Betty and get on my way to that previously mentioned nondescript chain restaurant. I wont go into much detail as the whole situation was lacking detail so its hard to add any in. There was the usual banter between the bartender and I but for the most part I kept my head down and refueled. As it so happened the lifeless empty hollow of a man next to me was from the Philadelphia region as well, but I didn’t add anything to the conversation the rest of my bar sitting companions were having but it rapidly turned to “just how funny those Yanks talk”. I texted my ladyfirend and notified her of my “like wow” moment but added in a dash of “what the fuck is going on right now”. I pay my bill as soon as I can and am a bit upset at the onsetting bloat but considering the mea, and place I ate at, I would be an ass to not have expected it.
In a matter of moments I am back in Betty and gripping street en route to score my beloved rum. I figured the way the last month has been, its fitting. I get to the ABC Package store and get my fix. The lady at the counter notices my SJ thermal and my tattoos. She smiles in an odd “I know whats going on here” sort of way and I let her have her moment. I do not have the time to go into the speil, so I pay and get moving. I still have a swim to get to and NOTHING is going to slow that down. Thank goodness I only have an exit or two up 81 South standing between me, a stiff drink, and a heated indoor pool. I waste no time getting there, into the shorts and making a good and cheap blend. 2/5ths SJ RUM and 3/5ths Dr.Pepper. I swear this drink was a master plan of those sugar deities to bring us all a bit closer to the mind set of the Nephilim.
The pool was a confortable seventy nine degrees. The drink was a cool thirty eight degrees. They complimented each other well. The first round of drinks didn’t last long. Good thing I brought the bottle of rum with me. To forget it would have been rookie. Seriously, if you cant forecast what you are going to need to drink, you need to do more apprenticing. The good news however is that the pool did not get any deeper than five feet so the drink was able to stay intact for the short duration of its short lived time. It went down fast and with honor. It paved the way for the rest of the night and got it all in motion. I dried off and made my way upstairs. After getting into more comfortable dry clothes it was time to pull the trigger. To get the job done. To get after it. I knew I had to get this day down for posterity, so I did just that. I let it all come out just as it happened.
Now the day is complete. The car is resting. The emails have all been sent. The rum has all been consumed. Its now time to brush some teeth, turn the thermostat up, and get into my nondescript hotel bed and shut down for a while. Before you know it, the complimentary breakfast will be ready for all of us travelers. Please, dear powers that be….let the coffee be tolerable.