Tuesday, April 20, 2004

We were careening down the Mass Pike, pushing cars out of our way, in our two lane wide Canyoneero. The external temperature guage was shifting up and down. 60! 57. 65! 73! 79!! Gentle claps sounded from the back seat as we watched summer unroll in front of us at earth-shattering speeds. We whipped around a rotary, we balanced on a sky-high bridge, we sped down a lights-on-for-safety highway. 70. 63. 57. The curved arm of Cape Cod was hurling us back into spring.

Take a left at the lights. Cell phones get pulled out, plans are passed down the lines (there are no lines). We park at the Hardware store, five dollars is forked over, legs are stretched, sweaters and jackets are urgently re-applied. A quick stroll up Commercial Street reveals more people than you expected, some also engulfed in hoodies, others in shorts seemingly unaware of the falling temperatures. A short stop in a boutique, a friend is spotted behind the counter. Hugs and yelps. More plans are made. Our stomachs lead us to a Squealing Pig, tables are rearranged, a chattering crowd of pals looks at menus. Food is ordered, food arrives (except for the food of one hungry girl which is delayed by wolves at the door), forks are lifted, beers are spilled, martinis are chocolated, gifts exchanged.

Seconds later, time warps, you find yourself in a backseat with scenes of Provincetown whipping past your window. The speakers crack and shudder as Home Sweet Home and countless other Heavy Metal ballads are infused into your head. The car glides through a moon-like nature scene of dunes which swell and shrink in rhythm to a juxtaposed screaming guitar solo. The sunset happened behind the clouds and, before the car even stopped at the edge of the beach, doors were opened and ladies were dancing in the sand. Spinning and leaping into the gusty and blue air to the sounds of Bon Jovi, Skid Row, and the La Guns. In the distance a lone dark figure lies down in the dunes.

This unforgettable beach scene keeps replaying in your head and before you expect it, you are introducing your band to a room of friendly intimidation. It's a little hard to hear but people are smiling and cheering and encouraging. Two girls stand right up front staring and they seem to both enjoy and mock the band. Soon a small crowd is dancing inches away and a few songs get a make-over. Queer Eye for the Straight Song - 1,000 Times goes disco. Cymbals crash right through your ears. It's so hot in here.

A small time later, a coyote slinks out of the headlights and you sit back on a crowded sofa, your legs shaky and exhausted. Some ladies dance. A glass shatters. A cat screams. An inflatable mattress takes it's sweet time. 11 people sleep in a small apartment. Snores from the sofa-bed probably infuriate the cat.

A sweater makes a poor pillow and the sun busts through the window. Everybody rubs their eyes. Everybody stretches their arms. Just The Two Of Us oozes from the speakers. Outside, the grass is green and the horses are eating. The hammock swings and a giant pole is captured - I can see my house from up here. Strawberrys and french toast and real maple syrup are eaten to the sounds of Dusty Springfield.

Later, the Canyoneero slides down the arm and back onto the main land. 63! 65! 70! Clap, clap, clap. The soundtrack continues and you suddenly realize you know just about all the words to Too Much Time On My Hands.

What are McDonalds french fries without salt? Nothing, that's what. Nothing but tasteless poison wrapped in grease.

The tank enters Northampton and the soldiers spill out, blurry and dazed and ready to hop right back in and keep driving. But they don't the go their seperate ways and marvel at the suddeness of seasons.

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