A Place At The Table
(Feed Me Seymour!)
Greetings from Memphis, TN. We have a day off today before our concert here tomorrow night. The saying, “A day off” has always sat kind of funny in my belly, if I’m being honest. For us, what the term really means is that we aren’t going to be on stage that day. But to say that we have it “off” is sort of a bad way of describing the actualities of being on tour.
We drove about 14 hours to get here from Tampa, Florida last night and into the first part of this morning. I woke up to the familiar rumbling of the southern highway and I enjoyed my coffee this AM while watching the relatively vast expanses of beautiful nothingness that is quite a lot of this country. It’s easy to assume that there are humans squished up against each other in every corner of America while you are sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on the 405 in California. Then you drive only a few hours into the interior and you’re swiftly reminded that there is in fact more wide open space than there is congestion. We arrived in Memphis to a hotel that wasn’t quite ready for us so we waited, drank some more coffee and chatted amongst ourselves while watching the television show ‘Naked And Afraid’. By about 2pm, I was convinced of my inability to succeed under circumstances like that but my room was ready for me so I switched locations, washed up, and ventured out to find food. Fortunately, I had shoes, clothing and shelter covered.
Food, being one of those devilish necessities for being alive, doesn’t always come so easily when you’re traveling. If you’re down to eat ANYTHING, and I know many of you are blessed to be able to do so, then you’d love constantly traveling. America does have a lot of food. But if you’re like me, and you have some annoying (but necessary) food limitations, like dairy intolerance, gluten sensitivities, etc., finding things to eat can be somewhat daunting. Today was one of those days. Memphis seems like it has a robust food scene, but dammit, I can’t seem to find my place at the table. After about two hours of exploring, both on foot and in Ubers, I accepted my fate. I hung up my hunting hat and retreated back to our bus to cobble together whatever was left in our humble reserves. I’ve been food hunting on tour long enough to know to keep emergency supplies squirreled away in the event of days like today. It wasn’t a lunch to be proud of but it would have to do. (Here is a picture of the saddest lunch I could find on the internet.)
I’d be curious to know what other weary travelers, musicians and wanderers who have similar food sensitivities, do when they find themselves in situations like this. Part of me is a little disappointed in myself for not being MORE expansive in my quest for the right ingredients; I have friends I’ve traveled with before who are wizards with their Google searches and are able to find exactly what they are looking for no matter where they are in the world. The sheer fact that those friends of mine exist and don’t struggle the way I occasionally do suggests to me that I am a large part of this equation. Maybe I need to learn how to plan better! I should be taking cues from those adventurous(?) folks who are willing to relinquish their shoes, their pants, their dignity and their Postmates app for the glory of being seen as a survivalist on those weirdly addicting shows so many of us have seen. The ones that persevere and ultimately win those kinds of challenges are “planners”. They have an ace in the hole around every corner. Being that I know (and have known for many years) about my own limitations, I need to step it up and stop complaining. Maybe there’s a niche tour here in the making: ‘Incubus-Naked, Dairy Free & Afraid!’ We’d tour only the most meaty and cheesy locations in the world and I’d have to survive AND be good, every night on stage. Would you come?
(This tour diary entry was finished the next day.)
I’ll leave you today with this: I found dinner. Though it wasn’t as easy as ‘search, click, deliver.’ I fell asleep in my hotel room at a reasonable hour, dreamt of repelling down a frozen-solid waterfall, then woke up this morning to a random, four-toed grease print on my bedside wall. Was this a message from the ghost of a person who once struggled here as I did but was forced to consume her own phalange just to survive? Merely another weary traveler? Or did she lose her toe (and hence, leave the strange imprint) while desperately attempting to find something on the menu that wasn’t smothered in cheese? You decide.
Hi from Memphis,
(Btw, this is a real photo of a four toed grease print from my bedside. Ahh, hotels. If these walls could talk…I don’t think I’d want to know. Enjoy!)