I Am My Own Roadie
Greetings from Aging Gracelessly, the tour. Yes, I’m having a blast touring with my show and staying well south of the snow.
But we’re not exactly traveling like the big acts, with a fancy bus and a hoard of advance people. Bonnie and Windsor are crew and we get to schlepp all the props, sound equipment and related rubbish all by ourselves.
We headed out of Reho in January, SUV jammed with multiple sets of suitcases for various gigs and so much gear Windsor looked buried alive in his car seat. The Schnauzermobile recalled the Beverly Hillbillies, piled high with sound equipment, dog crate, doggie stroller, Bonnie’s watercolors, my camera gear and a set of specifically packed overnight bags—one for the trip down, another for my Olivia cruise gig, with clothes, scripts, music, microphone, music stand and my giant martini glass and then two large suitcases for the rest of the winter’s hibernation.
On our first night out, after a long day on I-95, we stopped in South Carolina for a good night’s sleep.
At first we were annoyed at blaring music from the room next door. Then we were begrudgingly amused but eventually annoyed at the headboard thumping and other extremely descriptive noises the participants tried to mask with Lady Gaga. Oy, what endurance! Here at the Roadway Inn, I’d say somebody was rode way hard and put away, well, you know.
We were finally all sacked out when the phone rang at 3:30 in the morning.
“Is that your dog barking?” asked the front desk.
“No, that’s my dog yawning. You woke him up.”
Not a good night. By day two, grumpy and mistrusting our GPS, Bonnie fiddled with said bitch on the dashboard as I consulted my iPhone’s GPS function. Later, when I went for a potty break, I was descending to the throne when my pocket announced “When possible make a u-turn.” Laughter ensued from all the stalls.
Finally, we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, left Windsor with his trusted dog sitter and headed for the cruise ship.
You may have read my comments about Olivia before. I was a late-adopter, having enjoyed many a “regular” cruise. In fact, I was snarky about it, wondering how an Olivia Cruise, which cost a bit more money, could be so much better to be worth the added cost.
Well, following my first Olivia Cruise in 2008, I admitted my grievous error. It was more than worth it. After this, my third cruise, the issue is settled for me. No matter your age, interests, or frankly, where the cruise goes, it’s just more fun for lesbians to be on a trip that caters to lesbians, in a world where lesbians, for once, are in the majority. The entertainers laugh with, not at us, and the whole experience is wrapped up in a professional, well-run adventure. If you’ve never been, please consider it at least once. They have payment plans to help you make it work. Thank you for indulging my opinion and now back to our regularly scheduled column.
I was really nervous about performing on the cruise, for people from all over the country (the world, actually), wondering if my Rehoboth experiences would resonate. Before the show some people wondered if Aging Gracelessly meant they were in for a discourse on geriatric medical issues or even a sex talk because of the 50 Shades reference. Bonnie ran backstage laughing to tell me that one.
But in the end, the show worked and I was so appreciative. My favorite part was hearing from young women, all the following week, how they enjoyed the stories from our old outlaw days and thanked all of us oldsters for our work for equality. Very satisfying.
I did suggest to my homies aboard that next time we need a map on our Rehoboth t-shirts, as nobody west of Pennsylvania (or east of the Atlantic Ocean) had a clue where Delaware was located.
Cruise behind us, we checked into our Pompano Beach lodging. I don’t want to say Pompano is full of old people, but here, when the party’s over and they chuck empty cans from the car, it’s not Budweiser, it’s Ensure. Honest, Windsor and I saw the evidence on our morning walk.
While it certainly is swim weather here, I do miss my progressive community. Yesterday at the pool, a woman asked the stereotypical, “Are you two sisters?”
“No,” I said, “spouses.”
She thought about it for a second or two.
“Oh, in-laws!” she announced, certain she’s gotten it right.
We gave up.
So do you remember Carole King’s 2005 Living Room Tour? Now I’m doing one. On Saturday I’ve got a living room gig at a friend’s Ft. Lauderdale condo, and then a show on a Vero Beach pool deck. It’s cool playing private parties, but of course we’re schlepping the sound system, props, barstool, and giant Cosmo, like the senior citizen roadies we are.
By the way, rock ‘n roll lore defines roadies as the ones who set up and take down the tech stuff, while groupies are fans who sleep with the talent. Oy, from the look of our flaked out family this morning, Bonnie and Windsor are roadies and groupies.
By the time you read this, we will have packed up the circus, left the East Coast of Florida and headed West for another month as snowbirds.
I admit I’m happy to miss the cold weather, snow closings and television announcements noting “Peter and Paul, two hours late,” or, my favorite, from the chicken plant, “Eviscerator crew, second shift canceled.” Um, no eggs for me today, thanks.”
So the Aging Gracelessly tour continues. If you’re traveling and catch sight of the old Schnauzermobile, piled high with sound equipment and two aging roadies fixing to set up or tear down a gig, wave as you go by. The empty Ensure cans flung from the vehicle may just be ours.
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Frying—a Rehoboth Beach Memoir; Fried & True—Tales from Rehoboth Beach, For Frying Out Loud—Rehoboth Beach Diaries, and Time Fries—Aging Gracelessly in Rehoboth Beach.