[Originally written on 1.12.06]
My days of hitting clubs and supporting the local scene sort of faded due to lack of interest in the grand variety of shit that was being churned out. It seemed like any snot-nosed brat that had mommy and daddy drop some cash on expensive instruments and equipment suddenly had a band, and more often than not, they lacked any sort of talent. Being out of the loop due to traveling and the fact that my focus was on sideshow, I had to admit that I didn’t even know what was happening with the music scene. Outside of a few home-grown bands I had the pleasure of seeing a few years ago, I was slowly becoming convinced that it had crashed and burned and died a fiery spectacular death.
However, thanks in part to the internet, my faith that New Jersey can still produce great tunes was somewhat renewed. Losing touch with what used to be a regular thing feels weird, as if I didn’t have enough issues with alienation and social anxiety. Then again, it’s different now since when I find a show I would like to attend, I have someone I can invite along. Anyway, I was browsing some message boards to see what was happening at the venues I used to haunt, which led to the discovery of a band called Turnpike Wrecks. Listening to the tunes they had on their MySpace page, it only took a few seconds for me to get into them. When I saw the bulletin posted a few days ago about their one-year anniversary up at Connections, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to check them out live.
While I was nervous about asking Jon if he wanted to go with me, I had faith he would put effort into being a supportive partner. However, I was still too chicken to verbally pose the question, so I sent him an e-mail instead and had a positive reply within a few days.
This morning I was in grand spirits and went out for a two-hour walk before going about my usual routine of getting ready. A certain someone was certainly stalking my actions, no doubt curious about what I was doing even though surely they had their own friends to hang out with or whatever. Since I am doing my best to avoid any conflict, I drove to a nearby park and met Jon there.
The ride up was an interesting one, as a storm had rolled in, but I felt safe in the Mercury as we chatted and smoked a joint. The sky had a strange red tint to it, there was a light mist that crept across the highway, and I was treated to a front-row seat for the lightning that lit up the night. We stopped somewhere along the way on account he needed to gas up the beast, but that just gave us a few minutes to catch up on kissing and inappropriate public groping. He smelled so good I could have drowned myself in the scent that came off his tattooed skin, but his suggestion of finding a dark spot in the parking lot was turned down on account we still had an hour or so of driving ahead.
However, the trip took longer than that due to the fact I haven’t been up there in quite some time, so it took me a minute to remember which exit to take and all. Apologizing for the poor navigation, Jon laughed and said it was just all part of the adventure, his hand squeezing mind for reassurance. We did manage to find the venue, though likely had missed a band or two in the process of getting sidetracked a couple of more times prior to doing so.
Sitting in the back of the Mercury, we traded a bottle of rum between us and drank the whole thing between more kisses.
“You know I have a hard time resisting you,” he said, hands exploring places usually concealed by clothes.
“The feeling is mutual,” I teased, rubbing my fingers across his cropped hair, trailing them down to dangerous territory.
Half an hour later we strolled into Connections just in time to hear Broken Heroes being introduced as they began their set. Surely we were glowing at that point [for a number of reasons], which caused us to dance around to some tunes despite the fact everyone else was just standing around. As the band was heading off stage, this girl comes up to me and calls me by name. Intoxicated, I didn’t realize who she was until she introduced herself as Jess. We went to the same cosmetology school and I used to go to her to have my hair cut, but I hadn’t seen her in quite some time since moving further south and all. Jon was quite the gentleman and engaged in polite conversation, the three of us chatting while people milled around.
Then it was on to the main even of Turnpike Wrecks, which really got the crowd close to the stage cheering them on. Though I’m not usually easily impressed by bands, these guys had something that kept our feet tapping, and plenty of stage humor without being stupid. Someone could not resist sweeping me up into a few more dances, which encouraged other couples to follow suit. Well, I can say I don’t think I have ever seen people swing dance to oi before, so that was a first.
After the set, I went to say good-bye to Jess who was with a friend of hers, so the four us wind up talking longer than expected. Next thing I know, I’m shaking hands with Pete, who is the lead vocalist of Turnpike Wrecks. It didn’t occur to me at the time on account I was so caught up in actually being social and having a great time with Jon, but I felt it was worth noting that he is a skinhead, and not the asshole self-righteous white power type that seems to be rampant in this state. Just goes to show that carnies can get along with people from any subculture, so it was nice to have that experience. He invited us to come up and check out his Thursday DJ night, then said his good-byes and was off to chat with some other people he knew.
Our drive back felt quite short, and it didn’t take long for the outfits we had spent hours assembling to wind up piled on the floor together. Spending the night with him is certainly something that I can get used to, but I am so afraid that once I do, everything will get fucked up somehow. When I am in his arms though, I can only think about how happy I am and that I never want the feeling to stop.