There are few things more magnificent than pulling into Athens, GA at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning after a show. The town is quiet. But not in an eerie sense. No, it’s more of a “calm before the storm” feeling. Some of us are asleep (not the driver thank God!), myself, I’m drifting in between conscious thought and the idea of finally getting home to my bed. Turns out I’ll sleep until 3 that afternoon. No matter. The fifteen minutes we’re riding through town is enough.
This old lady had been blowing smoke in my face all night at the venue. I hadn’t really been paying attention at the time but now that we’re all in such close quarters, the smell is amplified. Reason #5467 to love Athens: No Smoking Indoors. My eyes are watering, though that may be from lack of sleep as well. I watch blurry eyed as the landscape of Broad Street passes by. For a short time, I lived near the Melting Point. I walked to work every morning around 6:30 through these same abandoned streets. So peaceful. If you catch it at the right angle, the sunlight turns the buildings a slight gold color.
It’s the deafening quiet that gets to you though. All the students are gone. The stores won’t open for three hours or so. Every night owl is tucked away somewhere. All is calm, all is bright. Maybe I should remind myself that I am NOT a morning person. But is it really “morning” when you haven’t slept all night? It strikes me that I’m not sure what time I last ate. Yeah, I’m gonna end up hungry when I get up. If I get up. I’ve been far more exhausted. This time it just feels more appropriate to be sleepy.
Conversations get a bit wacky around 2 a.m. You move from philosophy to art to Nyan cat within minutes, never quite sure where you’re headed with all of this but knowing it somehow makes sense. There have been empires made and broken by 2 a.m. conversations. A lot of stupid youtube videos too. And the road goes ever on and on. You stop at a 24-hour place, usually a Love’s Truckstop or A QT on some lost highway. Restock, reload, bathroom breaks for all, a tiny bit of stretching, a lot of yawning, and on we go again.
So, in summary…. If you ever get the chance to be kidnapped by a rock band for a weekend, do it.