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I began booking my band’s U.S. tour in December 2006. This 46-show tour was six weeks long, traversed 24 states and 2 Canadian provinces, and put approximately 15,000 miles on my Toyota Matrix. The first show was in Richmond, Va., on March 14, 2007. The 46th was in Brooklyn, N.Y., on April 26, 2007.
At the beginning of the tour, I resolved to determine how much money my band spent on gas, hotel rooms, and food, and exactly how much we earned at shows. Once I was on the road, these arcane calculations fell by the wayside. Instead of fetishizing arithmetic, I grew a beard and contemplated the endless battle between representation and abstraction in the realms of visual art and literature. Distracted by aesthetic concerns, I had trouble determining basic facts about my band’s tour. Did my band gain an audience? Did my band make money? Was this tour, from a financial and/or emotional prospective, worth the trouble?
After my final show in Brooklyn, I celebrated the end of tour by driving, alone, to Philadelphia. I was born in Philadelphia and my parents live there in a pleasant home featuring shower, toilet, and laundry facilities. Thinking I might make use of these facilities, I left Williamsburg at around 1 a.m. I drove the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway west over the Verrazano Bridge across Staten Island. By the time I reached the New Jersey Turnpike, the weather had worsened. A deluge of rain swamped the highway. Flash-flooding was reported by droning news reporters whose clipped Philadelphia accents haunt the City of Brotherly Love’s late-night AM radio frequencies. Roadside prophets in soaked hair shirts contemplated the lightning-streaked skies and wondered if this night—-finally—-would bring their precious, oft-predicted, oft-prayed for End of Days. In Atlantic City, somewhere to the southeast, a dice player rolled snake eyes.
Because I had no need for gas, I did not stop driving until I reached my parents’ home. I parked my car and, running through the rain, rushed into the house where I had been raised. It was late, after 3 a.m. Everyone in the house was asleep. On the kitchen countertop sat an apple pie in a cardboard box. My mother had left a note on the pie. “This pie is for you,” the note read.
I looked at the apple pie and contemplated it. I was glad that the apple pie was there. At that moment, I was very hungry. At that moment, I thought I would enjoy a slice of apple pie.
In the darkened kitchen, I retrieved a plate from the cabinet and a knife and fork from the silverware drawer. I placed these items on the kitchen countertop and prepared to cut a slice of apple pie. I opened the cardboard box that held the pie and looked down at the pie for the first time. When I saw the pie, my jaw dropped. Someone had beaten me to the pie. That is, an unnamed party had already eaten a slice.
I thought for a moment. This pie is for me, I thought. Yet, someone has already had a slice. Thus, I cannot have all of the pie. Still, enough pie remains for me to have my fair share.
In the darkened kitchen, I cut the pie and removed my slice. With no one to watch, and with no thought of the past or future, I ate my slice of apple pie in the dark.