sucking ice

Smokey 3D!.
I went to the dollar store a while ago, and I bought a bag of marbles. I haven’t done anything with that bag of marbles. It’s still sitting here on my desk cinched up like the day I got it. Why did I buy these marbles guys? I know why. Because I love marbles. I always have. Marbles are so cool. Something about little glass spheres with wavy colors in them. They are awesome. I remember my brother and I used to try and play the “real” marbles? you know, with the circle and all? but it never worked out. I like the sound they make when you crunch them around in your hands. Marbles are awesome y’all.

It’s about 9:30pm right now, and I’m sitting here with all the windows open. I’ve got on a button-down Hawaiian shirt that’s not buttoned, just letting it all hang out as they say. An awesome breeze is blowing through the house and I’m listening to some group called “The Autumn Defense” that I just downloaded from the newsies. Apparently, they have some kind of familial relationship to Wilco. They kind of remind me of Buffalo Springfield’s softer moments, good music for a warm night alone with the windows open. Not sure the album’s good enough to not delete – but it hits the spot tonight. Sometimes complacency and contentment is only a nice breeze and good song away.

Word is I’m headed back to Taiwan in two weeks. I actually suggested this trip. There are some things I wanna take care of in person over there – to make the right impression. I’m excited, I really like it over there. Also turns out Ben will be there for the beginning of my stay, and Pat and Wes will be there towards the end. Also some of the other Taiwan-travel regulars will be around, so it should be a good time. Looking forward to some more mantis-prawns and chicken heads. Bring your worst Taipei, I’m ready.

I got a tattoo one morning, my freshman year in college. Jeremy, my roommate at the time, and I were skipping class as usual. Driving around by the river listening to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (on of the classics of my generation, by the way). We would always skip our morning classes, go buy some chili-cheese nachos from 7-11 for breakfast, and head down to the river. We’d usually just sit and talk, him smoking his Newports and I my Djarums. When I was in high school, I used some spare time in drafting class to make a geometrically perfect Traffic symbol. Traffic was a band from the late 60s to mid 70s, Steve Winwood came from Traffic, and are one of my favorite bands. Anyway, I always kept it in my wallet – because I always knew one day I wanted a tattoo of it.

This morning I got the urge, and stopped at what, looking back, was probably not the best tattoo parlor in Florida. The place was called “Altered Images” I think – and it was housed in a trailer off the freeway, next to a small flea market. But hey, it was like 5min from college? so it was an easy target. When we walked in, the lone artist was sitting on a couch with a large snake. He put the snake away, and I showed him my drawing. I pointed to where I wanted the ink, on my chest above my left breast. He sat me down, had me sign the AIDS waivers, shaved my chest and transferred the image to my skin using deodorant and colored pencils.

Before I knew it I had the black outline of the symbol on me. Before we filled the shape in with red, Jeremy and I went outside for a smoke. I remember thinking what an awesome morning it was, and how glad I was to not be in class. I went back in and laid on the table while he finished. After a while, he said “I’m done. Oh, and I added a cool ‘smoke’ effect to give the thing a real 3D look like it’s standing off the skin.” Umm? excuse me what? I mean, this is my first tattoo and all, but is it normal for a tattoo artist to take some artistic liberty when he inks? I never asked for this gay-ass “smoke” effect! It makes the outlines look all fuzzy and messed up. In fact, I think he messed up and tried to do something to cover it up. Whatever, I gave up the $80 and was outta there. I’m still glad I got it. It gets recognized. It got recognized while I was drug-stuck to the New Orleans dirt one afternoon. “Hey, nice Traffic tattoo,” some guy said as I watched legs go by – my eyes the only muscles I could move. Wanna hear about it?

Flash forward a year or so. Jeremy and I decide to take a trip to New Orleans to see Jazzfest. Jazzfest is the biggest thing in New Orleans next to Mari Gras. There are literally hundreds of musicians in town, playing in clubs, arenas, and on a huge open-air fairgrounds. We went specifically to see Van Morrison. Which is where our story begins. We drove down to the French quarter and caught a cab to the fairgrounds. We were standing in a huge crowd waiting for Van to come on stage, when some guy in front of me started smoking weed from one of those fake ceramic cigarettes. He offered me a hit, so I took it. Now, I hadn’t smoked anything in years at this point, and I have always been a lightweight? so that one hit had me feeling just about perfect. Van got on stage and the show was great.

Around the third song, an Asian kid wandering by asked me if I had light. He was holding a joint, and I knew that if I offered him my lighter – he’d reciprocate by offering me a toke. Now, I really didn’t want a toke, but I offered the lighter anyway – sparking his joint as he inhaled. He then proffered the thing to me with a smile. I’ll never forget the blue Sonic Youth “Washing Machine” shirt this kid had on. I took one hit, handed the joint back, and immediately knew something was very wrong. Whatever I had just inhaled was now seemingly expanding tenfold in my lungs, kicking like a horse to get out. I felt a feeling I’d never felt before, something different in the smoke itself. I turned to ask the kid if the weed was cut with something, but he was long gone.

So there I stood. Well, for about ten minutes I stood. Then I sat. And finally I laid down. I was completely out of it. I can remember sweating like I was in a sauna, just dripping with sweat and not wanting to move. At this point, I think Jeremy was a little embarrassed that he was with me – and was totally ignoring me while watching me out of the corner of his eye. I remember someone coming through the crowd and asking if I was OK. I remember someone misting me with a spray-bottle of water, and finally some kind soul dropped a huge chunk of ice near me – seeing I was obviously dehydrated. I sucked on that piece of ice for almost the entire show, I can still see the bits of grass and dirt on it. All I remember from the music is the pounding bass I could hear with my ear to the dirt.

When the show was over, I could hardly stand up. I made Jeremy carry everything we had brought in, because for some reason I didn’t think I could carry things and walk at the same time. It was so busy getting out of the park.. we didn’t make it to a cab and back to the car for over an hour. By that time, I guess I was acting pretty together – because Jeremy let me drive us back to the hotel. About halfway there, while driving down the highway, I suddenly let out an expletive. “What?” Jeremy asked. “Dude, we forgot to get the car!” I replied. Yeah, he made me pull over and let him drive. Whatever was in that joint besides weed, I didn’t like it. Didn’t have any grass after that for another two years, and only then because it was the Grateful Dead festival. I mean, c’mon right? Who doesn’t eat a Ganja Gooball or three at the friggin’ Grateful Dead festival? Ever heard Dark Star?! Try listening to that awesome song and not eating some chocolate-oatmeal bud-candy.

But guys, I don’t do the drugs anymore. Haven’t partaken of any of that mess since college. No plans to ever again either. Stay clean guys, it’s more funner anyways. I promise. And now, the weekend. Until Monday – Dave out.

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