I did not enjoy A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. However, when I hear American wit Mark Twain’s famous S.F. dis—- “The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco“—-I think that Mark Twain was right. I am anti-San Francisco because I had my IPod stolen in 2005 at the Hemlock Tavern, a popular San Francisco venue. The thief has yet to be identified.
This past Saturday, I faced an overnight 700+ mile drive from Richland, Washington to San Francisco for another show at the Hemlock. En route, I worried that my opinion of the city would not be improved by this performance. Will this show suck? I wondered. Driving south on I-5 towards the city, my worries increased when I saw five large men staring at an immobile vehicle by the side of the highway. These large men were Black Fiction, my tourmates on the West Coast. Automobile trouble was impeding their progress to the Hemlock and our show that night. Because I have a high regard for my fellow man, I pulled over to offer my assistance.
“I am here to help,” I informed Black Fiction.
“If you are here to help,” said a Black Fiction representative, “give our car a jump. We sorely need one.”
“A jump it is,” I said. To get my car into jumping position, I made a three-point turn on I-5. This dangerous maneuver, which left my car facing the wrong way on a major U.S. interstate, drew the attention of a California highway patrolman, a.k.a. a CHiP. The CHiP approached me.
“Hey, driver!” the CHiP said.
“I am the driver,” I confirmed.
“Don’t do that again,” said the CHiP. “I understand that your friend needs a jump, but I can’t have you making three-point turns on I-5. This is a dangerous driving maneuver indeed!”
“Okay,” I said. Still, the CHiP was not satisfied.
“Well,” said the CHiP. “How will you turn your car around again after you give your friend a jump?”
“Well…” I regarded the situation. “I guess I’ll just make another three-point turn.”
“Oh,” said the CHiP. “Well, just don’t do that again,” he added. This declaration was absurdist—-Kafkaesque, even. Then, as mysteriously as he had appeared, the CHiP disappeared, leaving my car facing the wrong way on a major U.S. interstate.
Six hours later, I was driving to Reno after a satisfying show with Black Fiction and S.F. no-wave heroes The Fucking Ocean. That show was pretty good, I thought. However, that CHiP left much to be desired.