The Feminists: Chock Full Of Burritos

I feel as if I ought to be trying to focus on the positive. Unfortunately right now I can’t think of what that might be. It’s pouring rain (again), freezing cold, and very windy. Today it was my turn to drive, and drive I did…I drove the van right out of gas and then we waited, in the pouring rain and freezing cold, for about an hour for BCAA to come and rescue us.
I had some time to do some thinking during that hour. The tremendous irony of the situation was breathtaking. No one is more terrified than me of running out of gas. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve said anxiously “Can we stop for gas?” “How’s the gas?” “Do we have enough gas?” and so on. Usually I am told to relax, sometimes I am ignored, often I have been mocked “Ooh, we only have half a tank left, I guess we’d better stop.” After several years of this, I tried to relax about it. Maybe I could wait until there was a quarter tank before pulling over.
So, I drove and drove and there really weren’t any gas stations. Then I passed a couple of tiny towns that were off the highway and sailed merrily past the exits. I honestly thought we were okay though, because the needle was sitting above the little picture of an empty gas tank. Imagine my surprise (horror, shock, humiliation) when the van glided gracefully to a stop about 20 km outside of North Battleford. In our van, when the needle is resting on the last marking ABOVE the empty gas tank picture, guess what, you are not almost out of gas. You are really and truly out of gas.
Now, I appreciate an opportunity to learn something as much as the next person. But why, WHY do my lessons have to be learned sitting on the side of the highway somewhere in Saskatchewan, shivering, freezing, and damp ? Mind you, I won’t ever forget what I’ve learned. Assume that you know nothing and ask questions to get the info you need. Understand that no matter how hard you try to prevent something from happening, sometimes it just happens anyway. Never critisise or judge anyone about their mistakes because someday, somehow, you will make the same mistake and will be needing compassion and forgiveness, not judgment. And finally, mistakes are inevitable when you’re dealing with human beings and most mistakes can be rectified.
Needless to say, I relinquished the drivers seat to Ferdy – I thought I’d wreaked enough havoc for one day – and after a few more hours of driving through a blinding rainstorm, we made it to the venue in Saskatoon. We were cranky, cold, damp, hungry, and tired. In fact, about the last thing I wanted to do was schlep around heavy objects in the freezing rain, lug them onto a stage, set them up, and play a rock and roll show.
We straggled into Amigos, not expecting much. As the door closed behind us, a wave of thick, heavy, beautiful warmth enveloped us…and the warmth smelled delicious…Amigos is a Mexican restaurant by day with live music at night. And we had arrived at in the middle of the dinner rush, with plenty of time to thaw out before we had to play. “I’m eating here”, Mike declared,” I don’t care about spending money”. “I’m with you”, I said and pretty soon all four of us were sitting at a table with our hands wrapped around hot mugs of coffee. It was at that moment that I felt a strange tingling sensation in my feet…what was happening…oh golly…my feet were warming up to the point where I could feel them again. I realized that I had spent the whole day with frozen feet. A rush of well-being flooded through me. I beamed lovingly at my bandmates. Everything was going to be okay! My feet were warm again! I had a moment of tender compassion for myself, for all of us. We were all good people after all. It’s just impossible to think positively with cold feet.
We stuffed ourselves to the gills with hot food and hot coffee. And then the waitress told us that bands get free food. Maybe everything didn’t totally suck after all.
We played okay, but it was kind of sluggish, not very fiery. We were all pretty exhausted (and chock full of burritos) and the audience was there to see the headliners, not us, so there was a general vibe of “when are you guys going to be done?” A few people were paying attention, more by the end of our set. I met several very nice people at the merch table afterward and we sold some cds. Then it was time to load out, in the freezing rain. We found a really classy truck stop – sorry, “travel plaza” – with showers and a Tim Hortons. I wonder if we should try and get an endorsement deal with Timmy’s. “Plucky indie rockers The Feminists have always got time for Tim Hortons” – cut to a shot of the four of us sitting bleary-eyed with sleep encrusted faces, in filthy stinking damp clothes with extra large double doubles arguing about which is better, Neil Young with Crazy Horse, or without?
Even though it was late, we all opted for showers. It would be nice to have my whole body be warm at least once that day. There would be no time in the morning, we had to get up early to make the drive to Winnipeg. We were all back at the van burrowing into nests of blankets (still raining, by the way) when Zobac clambered into the van wearing a most peculiar outfit. I looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “Well, I got out of the shower and put on my naked shorts,” he explained, (the shorts he wears when what he really wants to do is hang out in the nude, but is prevented from doing so because he is living within arms reach of three other people in a tin can. They are paper thin, long, baggy, and bright green)”and then I put on my shoes, but no socks and the laces undone because why bother, and then I put my jean jacket on with no shirt underneath”. All this coupled with his freshly shaven head apparently sparked some curious looks. “Then I had to stand in line for ten minutes to give the fucking shower key back”, he continued (by this time I was clutching my sides giggling helplessly) “with my gaunche for tomorrow resting on top of my bag of clothes for all the world to see.” Such is the glamor of rock and roll.Next stop, Winnipeg.