Todd and I spend my last few hours in Los Angeles getting a nice breakfast of fruit before he drops me off at the light rail, to make my way to the airport. I’m always anxious about something going wrong while traveling, but today I’m on a tight deadline; my last show of the tour is tonight, at Gilman Street in Berkeley. When I get to the airport and through security, I’m all right; I have enough excitement in my life, and I’m happy to sit around and be bored for a few hours. Then my flight is delayed.
I get a phone call, from a computer saying, “We are letting you know that your departure time has been upgraded,” to which I think, “I don’t think you actually know what ‘upgrade’ means, computer.” Upon closer examination, the delay is only fifty minutes, and I’m flying to Oakland. I figure that’s not bad, and I’ll be fine. The plane doesn’t show up until moments before we’re supposed to have taken off, and by then I’m stressing out, but they suddenly rush everyone aboard. As I take my seat, the crew announces, “As we’re running a little late, please hurry and take your seats. We’re not telling you to hurry, but, hurry up.”
We land with just enough time for me to finally eat for the second time that day, before my friend Chris picks me up. I’ve never been to the Bay Area, and even the airport is beautiful, with gorgeous views of the bay. Standing outside waiting for Chris, I’m thinking how years ago back in school I’d had hopes and dreams, and moving to California, starting a punk band, and playing Gilman Street. Now I am, under very different circumstances, but it doesn’t make a difference to me.
The show is set up by my friends Danielle, who’s a regular volunteer at Gilman, and Craig, who’s been in Bay Area bands for years, and is now a US Air Guitar Champion. Fittingly enough, the show is a mix of comedians, air guitarists, and some acoustic sets from Craig as well as Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children McNuggts. The comedians are all funny, and the music makes me think back to my days as a teenager, wearing out mix-tapes from the Lookout Records catalog as I rode my bike around town, still taking everything in.
It’s another casual night, not packed by any means, but that doesn’t matter. My set is drilled into my head at this point, and as far as I’m concerned this is the biggest show of my life, and in a way, it is. As I finish up, I feel like I’ve knocked a few things off my to-do list of life.
To top it off, I’m blown away by how nice everyone is there, with kind words and generosity. When it’s finally time to leave, I head out with Chris back to his apartment where I’m staying until I go home. I’m not tired yet, so I check my e-mail and watch some TV before finally laying down on his couch, thinking to myself “I did it.” Next up: Joe goes home.