Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gittars, Bicycles and Hillbilly Drinkin'

Having been busy being a true hillbilly this past week, I found myself with little time for any type of social commentary. It is said that actions speak louder than words, so the actions themselves become the commentary.

I was busy indulging in a combination of some of my favorite activities. Drinking beer, riding bikes, scaring squares and just being a general greasy nuisance.

To some of my greasy brethren, it seems like a downright disgrace that I ain't much of a gearhead. I build bicycles instead. I like being in the shop with a tube bender, a MIG welder and a case of beer and fabricate to my heart's content. The end result is something that I can ride, but  more importantly, ride after drinking said case of beer.

The bikes that I build are long and low, the low center of gravity is a perfect match for inebriation  and lack of balance. The many hours of greasy, hazy fun and the endless amusement derived from scaring squares is worth the effort. Here's the tale of one long lost, two wheeled, two fisted, beer fueled weekend.

Quitin' time on Friday, It's everybody's favorite time and for many people, entails a trip to the beer store. I made my Friday pilgrimage to the local beer emporium, loaded up and pointed myself in the general direction of the water. That route takes me right through the middle of skid row.

Every time that I ride through this 'hood amidst the flotsam and jetsam, the stench of urine and the endless array of lost souls, a small glimmer of light emerges. As I am stopped at a red light, the denizens of skid row begin to surround me. The all seem to love my bikes. It is surreal to be having seemingly normal conversations with bums and crackheads as they ask if I built the bike myself and how I went about it. I go on my way, perplexed as to why these people like my bikes so much. I haven't even cracked my first beer yet.

The overpass to get to the water is at the end of a main drag near police headquarters. It is quite steep, which forces me to stop in front of the cop shop waiting for the next light to turn green in order to gain enough momentum to get up the overpass. The bemused expression on the dozens of cops milling about amuses me. Big assed bike, big assed pomp the weight of the beer causing my back pack to rub on the back wheel, the cops just don't know what to make of it. However they may perceive it, I am convinced that they think that I am up to no good.

As I arrived at a small pier that is a congregation site for Friday night booze-cruisers, I am greeted by a strange sight; everyone is dressed in Mexican wrestler outfits. I parked the bike and cracked a beer, not sure if I know any of these people.

I declined an offer of a wrestling mask, not wanting to break the cardinal rule of never messin' with the pomp. The wrestlers do not understand, but I decide to tag along with them as they prepare to ride.

The ride took us through the heart of downtown with a few stops on the way. I looked nervously around for cops as I drank beers in a park. A bunch of drunken dudes in Mexican wrestling outfits staging mock fights makes it impossible to keep a low profile.

The ride wound its way down Douchebag Street where all the weekend club people were starting to arrive downtown. Scantily clad suburban skanks , dudes sporting glittery Ed Hardy clothing with hats askew and all the other habitual occupants of Douchebag Street stared at us in disdain. The now fairly hammered wrestlers shouted Spanish wrestling slogans at them.

In my semi-inebriated haze, I figured that it was time for me to make graceful exit. I made my way back to the water and found the bike path back home. I was scattering tourists and yuppies like bowling pins while muttering at them . Most people slur after a few beers, but for some reason, I end up speaking in something that sounds like a Texas drawl, "Git outta thuh way, yew sum' bitch!" or something to that effect.

I eventually found a secluded spot. I sat on a large rock and had a few beers as I cursed at seagulls and threw small rocks at them.

The following day rolled around and it was soon beer drinking time. I cracked my first beer as I perused the free section on craigslist. That in itself is entertaining, as you never know what you will find. Once in a while something decent will be offered, but it usually is the redneck junk pile. Used toilet bowls, free piles of dirt, little bits of drywall, half finished home-made campers, blown speakers and some of the world's ugliest couches.

I stopped at a listing that offered free computer speakers with a sub-woofer. I called the person and said that I would be right over. I threw a few beers in the backpack, hopped on the chopper and made my way down there.

I guess they must have been expecting a computer pointdexter. The looks on the faces of this thirty something square couple was one of bewilderment. While grateful for the free speakers, I could feel the waves of boredom emanating from the house as they went inside to retrieve the items.

As I removed the beers from my backpack to make room fro the speakers and then carefully wedged the beers back in, I could see them staring at my pomp from the corner of my eye. I thanked them and took off while they were still standing in the back yard mouths agape.

The long ride made me thirsty, so I located a park to have a beer and inspect my latest acquisition. No matter what park I may go to, there always seems to be a gaggle of annoying hippies. They are usually loud and obnoxious, but there is always one that is the loudest. The head hippie honcho as it were. I quickly finished my beer, because it was clear that I would get no peace and quiet. I yelled "Shut yer mouth!" across the park in that beer induced drawl and went to find another park.

Close to home, I found a shady spot and cracked another beer. More annoying hippies sitting on the ground in a circle. One of the hippies had a guitar. Cliche as that seemed, I thought it less innocuous than a bunch of bongos; until she started playing. After about twenty minutes of unresolved chord changes, I had had enough.

I went up to the hippies and as I approached them I spotted was was part of the problem. She was trying to do chords on a classical guitar. Oh yeah, it was out of tune as well. In their deluded belief that they have the right to "express themselves", hippies eschew tuning of guitars. Also they don't know how.

I struck up a conversation with them, sensing their apprehension of a pomped up greaser making a beeline for them.

I offered to tune the guitar while trying to not show my contempt. I showed her a few chord progressions and took  off before the inevitable Kumbaya session that was sure to ensue. I might have created a Frankenstein, but at least all the neighborhood dogs stopped yelping.

I stopped at a local store to get some speaker wire for the freebies. Some uptight, scowling yuppies were there with their progeny in tow. One of the kids was staring at me and I said, "Whut yew lookin' at, boy?" The parents were visibly annoyed, but not courageous enough to say anything. The young boy smiled shyly and I laughed so hard on my way home, that I nearly fell of my bike.

The computer speakers sounded kind of crappy, so I decided to get my old git-box and make some tunes of my own. It was hot, so I had the curtains open. I guess the neighbors have never seen a shirtless rockabilly playing guitar. They looked at me as if I was picking my nose or something.  I rocked on into the night until I busted a string.

It wasn't over yet, there was one more day left and I was going to make the best of it. A friend of mine was having a keg party. It was homemade beer and there was enough of it to drown a horse. I made my way down there and as I arrived I could see the large refrigerator with TWO kegs inside beckoning to me.

I think you can see where this is going. It's akin to using a lighter to see if there's any gas in your gas tank. The Texas slur was starting to turn into a Arkansas slur, and what was left of my attenuated senses told me that I better be headin' down the dusty trail.

I merrily trundled my way home instinctively avoiding hills. As I was rolling down a quiet street, I heard music. "Hey, I could go for some music. " My brain reasoned ,"I know, I'll go find that music."

When the band stopped playing and somebody started speaking, it suddenly dawned on me that I was in a church.
It wasn't one your regular churches, just a building with pews inside it.  I had very little common sense left, so I decided to stay " Cuz I wanna hear more tunes."

At one point , the pastor said that we should shake hands with everybody around us. So I did.

There I was, wearing a Dia de los Muertos t-shirt, sporting a big greasy pomp and most likely completely reeking of beer, shaking hands with complete strangers.

It was fairly dark, and I couldn't be completely sure, but it seems that these people had an expression on their faces like Satan himself had just waltzed in off the street. Being holy-rollers and all, they weren't about to kick me out.

I saw a spot on the very last pew and asked a dude to move over. I could sense his discomfort, not so much because of presence, but probably from the stale beer fumes that I was giving off. The band started again and they were pretty good. They were projecting the lyrics on a large screen, and the context of the music began to dawn on me; it was Christian Rock!

Somebody then thrust a little basket in front of my nose. There were envelopes inside and I wondered if they wanted me to take one, or if I was supposed to put one in. I guess they wanted some money.

I just shrugged and tried to smile, but in my state I was just able to muster one of those crooked drunk-guy smiles. Not sure, but I may have been a little cross eyed as well. I  got the impression that the basket person was a bit annoyed.

After sitting for a while I began to sober up. I had been caught up monotonous drone of the Christian music, and I finally snapped out of it. My little voice woke up and told me " Run, boy, run!"


The Heathen Bike
I hightailed it out of there. As I unlocked my bike I spotted a bench there. I sat down and realized that I really needed a beer after that strange experience. Some church people were milling about and looked at me like the heathen that I  was.

That particular chopper is one speed, so I pedaled as fast as I could while thinking to myself,
" I'm skeered !"

After a long harrowing ride, I finally arrived home. I needed some rockabilly fast. I cracked a well deserved beer and let the twangin' wash over me as I thought to myself, " Man, that was greasy."

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