please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Monday, March 16, 2009

Driving around, looking at things

The guy is sitting at the entrance to Smith & Bybee lakes with an entire drum set, rocking out. Better still, there is no rest of the band, no camera crew. He's just having a not-entirely-private moment on Columbia Way, providing music to bikers and joggers, providing a puzzle to passing motorists. I should have taken a picture, but I also didn't want to bother him.

As often happens when I get bored, I have started taking the long way to get to anywhere I need to go. "It's so wasteful and weird," as I pointed out to a friend I ran into, "but it's what I'm in the mood for." He laughed.
I'm always in the mood for lookin' at things n' considerin'. I took a completely meaningless detour into southwest Portland the other day, simply for the purpose of driving the entirety of Boone's Ferry Road, from start to finish.

The journey is beautiful at times, from the Tryon Creek woods around Lewis and Clark college, to ugly as hell (most of the rest of it). It only has value if you can envision what it looked like a hundred years ago. Here's what it took for you to get across the Tualatin river, if you lived in Burlingame.
Rolling through twisty curvy hill roads, across railroad tracks, through the woods down by Day and Coffee creeks, eventually down the central valley that eventually would house Interstate Five (matter o' fact, Boone's Ferry spends its last ten miles paralleling that road, separated by a fence). What I'd never done, despite driving this road a million times, was follow it to its terminus.

Wilsonville, Oregon is another one of its conservative capitols. It at least was home to the Oregon Citizen's Alliance, a vocally anti-gay lobbying concern that put up a number of potentially terrible bills in their day, though ultimately lost due to their clear stupidity, lack of legal knowledge, and failure to file any taxes.
It also is a long drag of strip malls and little else that I'd ever seen, until last week when I finally discovered old Wilsonville. And right there, at the end of what had once been main street, the road ends, and descends into the water. Here's where it ended.

Train trestle above, concrete remnants of where Mr. Boone put his landing, houseboats and marina across the water. Like Taylor's Ferry Road and Scholl's Ferry Road, this road doesn't lead to an extant ferry, and hasn't for a long time. But all the same, with the eyes I've always had to see these things, I could stand there and see exactly how good it would feel to finally get there, after a day of driving your wagon.

** **
We crossed Scholl's Ferry Road a few days later, on the way out to the casino. As usual, some of my stagehand friends were talking about the various conspiratorial things they had learned. The latest? Those FEMA camps we're all going to be locked up in.
Conspiracy theory is a tough one with me. I feel it's helpful to include the phrase "...and here's what some people thought happened..." in any history lesson. I also acknowledge that in most things, the official version will fail to cover a lot of the important nuances, generally to the benefit of those Officials whose version it is. The tendency to dismiss distaff opinions of tragic and catastrophic occurrences with "I won't dignify that with an answer," only confirms the suspicions that I, and many others have.

But, there's also plenty of equally bad things happening in the full light of day, and they are fully reported. They continue, and no cry is raised, since those who generally would are wondering about the camps where the New World Order is no doubt planning on putting your family, or how Satanic interests control global finance. The Masonic imagery employed in street gangs' imagery.
"Of course, so does the Klan," I couldn't help but think; the Masonic imagery, that is.

My fellow employee who brought all this shit up is a tiny guy, though a badass. He is nice as pie, but he believes terrible things, because like most people I work with, he's an undereducated fuckin' cracker. In this way, he gets the rest of their asses riled up.
He listens to Alex Jones, who I feel is a complete tool, in a literal sense. In the sense that while there's so many actual crimes out there that get shovelled under by the sheer weight of undifferentiated bullshit, and are no secret whatsoever, he'd like you to think that The Masons are gonna kill us all, or that the fat cats who gather at Bohemian Grove each year are actually worshipping Satan. Or that Communism was dreamed up by John D. Rockefeller, and a bunch of other tycoons who felt the need for a worthy opponent to Capitalism.
"He kinda sounds like one of Them, doesn't he?" I always want to ask.

No; instead I opt to tell the smarter half of the vehicle that deep down, I don't think there's any cost-effective reason for locking all of us up, when it's so much easier to make us Stupid. And so begins the day.
We are here to build a boxing ring. Although the ring itself -we have been told- is not to be touched by us; a separate crew is doing that. So much for that whole other boxing ring my boss rented (true story).

And on the way back home that night, further uneducated shit about the trannies in the local stage community. There's at least three transsexuals I've noticed in the Local, and they're both good and bad, as is the case with people.
But that doesn't stop the outrage, I tell ya' on the part of these...Look, I know that your dad was (closely associated with a hugely famous band we've all heard of) all those years, and I can be excused for finding you to be a shrill, delusional hippie chick gone to seed in middle age. But the fact that you're a bigot, too? Un-for-give-able. The fact that our business manager is gay? No, no you're not getting it; we hate him because he's a sociopath and a bad business manager: his sex life is surprising to me in that he even has one. So: Not The Point. You're off again.

I? I just keep on using the phrase "this person" over and over, while talking about the individual things that might annoy me about each. This Person. I don't like to start fights any more about this sort of thing, in a crowded van full of people I expect to work with for years. But I don't let 'em poop all over the discourse. The rest of us are trying to have a Civilization here, y'know...
But scapegoating is real, and it pops up the worst when everyone's poor, and having a bad time.

The next night, I introduce everybody to Nannerpuss.

Again, we all kind of live inside of each others' heads, and joke about how easy it is to get a song stuck in someone else's head for the next three hours. I'd been on the Nannerpuss thing all night long, with some people starting to sing the song without any idea what it was from.

This took away from the earlier unpleasantness, where our production office had been invaded by violent folk of all sorts. A boxer's girlfriend had punched another boxer's girlfriend in the gut, and the one who had received the punch was pregnant.
Suddenly the back hallway is filled with stupid fuckin' boxers and entourage. The office holds we who are trying to get out onto the stage to do our jobs, two security guards, the punched one, and her boyfriend who is still in trunks and covered with sweat.

Security is trying to pacify the situation, saying, "We'll take care of this," and the boxer says what tradition and a million bad movies tells him to say; "No, I'll take care of this!", dancing around and pounding his fists together like the trained monkey he is.
I, for my part, want to say: dude, this is a casino. Everything you do in here is caught on camera, and will be used when this goes to trial.
But above all else, I'm also just not wanting to get my ass beat simply for being there. I say, "We're out of here," and we take the stage.



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