Backstage with Baldy
London – July 11th
Days off are something we all look forward to out here.
Regardless of whether you line up some plans (like Jerry usually does), or just rest in your room (like I usually do), a day off should be about relaxing.
Then again, some days can be a 13 hour full body migraine, like we had getting back into Canada.
The plan was for the band to fly from Minneapolis/St. Paul up to London Ontario, where the show was scheduled the following day.
Naturally there were no direct flights, so we flew to Chicago for a connecting flight.
So far everything was going according to plan. We boarded the plane to London, had an uneventful flight, and were 15 minutes from landing when the captain came on the intercom and told us that due to a mechanical issue and bad weather, we would be returning to Chicago.
We ended up being delayed another three hours while they fixed the problem in Chicago, and it was in that window of time where I suffered the biggest trauma of the day.
In the grand scheme of things it was really nothing, but to me it was disconcerting to say the least, so read on and see if you’d have been as bothered by this as me.
Let me just apologize quickly for the subject matter. I know that toilet stories are meant to be saved for family get-togethers and visits with your clergyman, but you guys are my sounding board, so bear with me.
There’s a certain decorum that one follows in a men’s room.
Keeping your eyes to the front when you’re at a urinal is part of that deal.
But peripheral vision can be a curse, and naturally I have excellent peripheral vision.
So there I am at a urinal in Chicago’s O’Hare airport bathroom. My eyes are fixed firmly on the wall in front of me, just like the unwritten rulebook says.
Then out of the corner of my right eye I see a flurry of activity going on next to me.
I don’t know what’s going on, and I’m not turning my head to see, but I’m assuming that there’s either a zipper situation, or maybe the guy is having an issue getting the groceries out of the trunk, so to speak.
Now I’m really fixated on the wall in front of me, and wishing that I hadn’t had that 20 ounce Diet Mt. Dew half an hour ago, because from what I’m trying desperately not to see out of the corner of my eye, arms are going every which way, I’m hearing an orchestra of zippers and buckles, and even an audible grunting noise at one point.
I close my eyes and hope it all stops, but when I open them again it looks like this dude is pulling taffy down there.
Now I’m seriously unsettled. My head never wavered, and my sightline remained straight ahead, but how can you not notice it when the guy next to you is basically holding a taekwondo demonstration on his own genitals?
What in the hell is he doing??!!
I flash back to high school basketball practice when Coach Sweeney imparted on his players the importance of peripheral vision in playing good defense.
It may come in handy in stealing a cross-court pass, but in an airport men’s room, peripheral vision is nothing short of a horrific visual misfortune.
At that point, to use an old fishing term, I determined that it was time to cut bait and get the hell out of there.
I made it back to Gate F6 and spent the next few minutes wondering what in the hell I’d unwittingly witnessed back there.
It’s a simple five step process: Unzip. Extract. Jettison The Cargo. Re-zip. Wash.
Somewhere during steps 1 & 2 that dude was having some serious issues, and it was a car wreck that I was in no mood to witness. In my haste to get away from it, I even bypassed step 5, which I’m not proud of.
Years from now, when I’m lying on the therapist’s couch trying to dig through the layers of tour-related PTSD that I’ve developed, this incident will certainly bubble up to the surface.
Moving on from that weirdness and back to the pain in the ass that was our day, our plane was eventually fixed and we made it to London, but not without one final incident. The airline lost Jerry’s luggage.
A 13 hour odyssey of multiple airports, flight delays, lost luggage, and a strange man’s urinal issues.
That was my day off.