Bad coffee

I hunched over the hotel desk in Rochester, Michigan preparing my paperwork for the day and drinking so-called coffee.

My caffeine standards are at a remarkable low, rivaling the nadir of taste I permitted after daily facing what New York delis call coffee and deciding at some point to give in and start buying it.

Hotel coffee has the same vibe, a watery contrast to the sludgy nectar I brew in my home and on the bus. I don't mean to brag but our bus driver Greg recently told me that he will drink the coffee of NO ONE EXCEPT FOR ME.

Because, like Greg, I know what it takes. In Greg's case, the skills to handle 48,000 pounds of vehicle and the lives inside depending on him. And in my case the complete inability to retract my wrist at an appropriate time when dumping coffee grounds into the filter.


Face of the year 2006

"The last thing I remember..." isn't usually a good sign when recounting a story but sometimes that's how it needs to be told. The last thing I remember of 2006 was balancing a plastic glass of champagne in my hand while salsa dancing in the bus front lounge up the highway from Long Island to Toronto.

The first thing I remember of 2007 was someone suggesting I might want to pull myself together before we got to the Canadian border a few minutes away. I could barely remember what a passport was much less WHERE to find mine but through the fog of this addled consciousness cut an image of our tour manager lecturing us about border guards.

I believe he described them as police school rejects who'd like nothing better than to find a reason to impound our bus and make us all late for the most magical experience ten thousand Canadian 8-year-olds could possibly hope for, at least this television season.

He said the only good response to border guard questions started out "Yes ma'am" or "Yes sir" followed by absolute truth. I distinctly remember him saying that THEY...HAVE...US...BY...OUR..BALLS and looking so serious that I didn't even want to raise my hand to object to his gender-exclusive language and make a joke about fallopian tubes.

Our border guard turned out to be a jolly uncle type so there was no need for me to get so nervous that I forgot basic information about my life, like what job I do on tour. He asked me and I said, "Ummmmm. Ticketing. And. Publicity?" Fortunately I had no fits of inappropriate giggles, my other common response to police presence.

We made it across the border free of any impounding, drug-sniffing canines, slit-eyed questioning and it was a brand new year. Welcome to 2007.


you say that to say what?

I'm touched.

I don't mean touched like kookoo touched, I mean touched like, 'Aw, Jenna asked if Ronckytonk is okay, like she's worried,' touched.

Jenna. I'm not totally sure you are who I think, but if it IS the Jenna I met in Tucson, with whom I WORE FLAMINGO HATS ALL OVER THE CITY, the Jenna with the silly last name that sounds like the one Ali and I made up in high school - Schumacherishkenschoolblefroggenhaagendazsendaggen - which is to say overly German, then Jenna I want to say thanks for asking.

I'm okay. I'm f'in fantastic. If I could do a cartwheel right now to prove it I would, but I'm on a tour bus. And while this bus has a front lounge spacious enough in which to throw a righteous new year's eve dance party, I don't think it's necessarily cartwheel-friendly.