This might be the last road journal for a little while. Let’s go out with a bang.
Everyone remembers rule #1 of tour bus living, right? No dropping #2’s on the bus. That is, unless you poop in a bag of shame.
I don’t do the bag of shame. That is not how I choose to live my life. But last night around 2:30 in the morning we pulled over at a truck stop in Connecticut and I had to crap. We were en route to Providence for our last show of the tour. I was awake because no one really sleeps on tour busses, they just lie in their bunks as if they’re sleeping. So imagine my good fortune to have the opportunity to do my business at a clean rest stop rather than clenching my sphincter all night and hunting for a random Dunkin Donuts bathroom at 9am in Providence.
I threw on some shorts and CROCS and headed inside to the rest stop facility. I was careful to leave one of our driver’s wintergreen mints on his seat to indicate that I was not on the bus and he shouldn’t leave until I’m back. That was his rule.
It probably took five minutes. Isn’t five minutes about the average time for this activity? I’m totally normal! When I went outside the bus was gone.
I thought maybe it had just pulled over to the parking area to get out of the way of the gas pumps and wait for me, but I didn’t see it anywhere. Maybe it’s a last-night-of-the-tour hilarious prank!? Nope. I was what we call in the business, “oil-spotted”… and so I had to consider my options:
1. There really are no good options
Because I didn’t bring my phone or wallet or anything off the bus with me — I was stranded. Remember the days before cell phones when you actually memorized your friends’ phone numbers? In this moment, I missed those days terribly. I thought of whose numbers I had actually converted to memory. My wife!? She doesn’t hear her phone at 2:30 in the morning. My parents!? Please, there has to be a better option than waking up my parents in Hartford and having them drive an hour and a half to Stamford to pick me up and bring me to Providence in the middle of the night because I decided to take a crap at a rest stop. Maybe I could get away with that when I was 39. Ryan Miller!!
Ryan wasn’t riding the bus that night. He was out in the Hamptons partying with ScarJo and meeting us in Rhode Island the next day. Wasn’t his phone number some easy moniker like 617-HOT-DUNG, and he’d be up, and he could call everyone on the bus and catch someone who’d tell the driver to turn around because I’d been abandoned at the rest stop?
I walk up to the person at the McDonald’s counter and blather on and on about a missing tour bus and needing to make a call and six one seven hot dung. I start speaking horrible Spanish half way through because I am losing my mind and that’s what you do. The manager comes out and lets me use his cell phone but doesn’t take his eye off me. He shouldn’t.
Okay, 617-HOT-DUNG was Ryan Miller’s phone number in like 1998, and has been disconnected. That was so stupid. I am resigned to spend the night sleeping under the fluorescent lights of the Mobil / McDonald’s Rest Stop, but I am not panicky. I feel too good after having a pretty good crap. Nothing else matters.
That’s when I remember our manager’s cell phone number, good old Dalton Sim. Under the persistent stink-eye gaze of the McDonald’s manager I dial up Dalton Sim, who can be seen with a towel around his neck halfway through this video. This is my last chance.
Voicemail. I leave a blathering message about wintergreen mints, McDonald’s managers, and how long it’d take to walk to Providence. I call him back five minutes later.
“Hello?” Good old Dalton Sim! He is asleep, and he is talking to me on the phone from Martha’s Vineyard. It’s a miracle, but he still has to connect with someone and turn the bus around.
And an hour later, the bus arrived at the rest stop.
My conversation with Kevin, our bus driver, went like this:
Brian: “I think we need to reconsider that wintergreen mint policy”
Brian: “I left the mint on your seat when I went in, you didn’t see it?”
Kevin: “You’re supposed to leave a *poker chip* not a mint”
Kevin: “Don’t be puttin’ no candy on my seat”
Brian: “Goodnight Kevin”
Kevin: “OK goodnight”