Saturday October 12th, 2013 – Toronto, ON
Back to the state of perpetual stress. Most of what being a road comic becomes after time is the constant hassle of having to get to the next place. There are deadlines to make, and obstacles that jump up out of nowhere that turn life into one big Cannonball Run. Decades of it wears one out.
My most recent cross country challenge was getting from LaCrosse, WI after a show last night to O’Hare airport in Chicago for an 11am flight to Toronto, ON to visit my friend Jerry Agar for a few days. I haven’t a clue how many miles or kilometers that is, and it’s not worth looking up.
All I know is, there gets to be an ever tightening knot in the bottom of my stomach as I attempt to make each leg of any trip and I never fully know I’m going to make it until I physically arrive. There’s always the chance of some unforeseen glitch, and that’s what keeps the stress level high.
The good thing this time was that I had Bill Gorgo to ride with from LaCrosse to Fox Lake, IL where I live. He’s a road veteran and knows the ropes. He knew we had to duck out immediately after the show in LaCrosse, even though it meant squelching all possibility of selling any CDs.
That stinks because it was a hot show, but that’s part of the road grind. I couldn’t afford to risk the time in case there was a delay getting back. Driving late at night is always a gamble, and I’ve learned it’s best to leave as much cushion as possible. Bill knew it too, so we got right in the car.
We stopped half way home to gas up and pee, but Bill brought snacks for the ride because he’s a road vet and knows that saves extra stops. There’s also a stretch of two lane highway along the route that was unavoidable because of where I live. There’s just no other way to get there and it’s filled with speed traps, critters and drunk drivers. It’s like driving through a real life video game.
Sure enough, we got pulled over because Bill’s car had a headlight out. The cop was cool about it, but that could have been a big issue. We were in Wisconsin and Bill has Illinois plates. That is frequently a recipe for disaster, but this time we dodged a bullet and were soon back on the road.
Bill dropped me off at 3am, but of course I was wide awake and couldn’t sleep so I answered a few emails. Then I did a load of laundry, and packed for the trip. I dug out my passport and flight info, and by that time it was 6am. I nodded off for a couple of hours, but it wasn’t sound sleep as I knew I needed to get to the airport and couldn’t blow it. There’s always a level of stress there.
Of course my car’s gas tank was on ‘E’, and when I stopped at the gas station all of the pumps were occupied. There was also some construction on the way, and that caused a delay that made the knot in my stomach tighten even more. Then I got to the airport exit on the freeway and they had it closed for repairs. I was really in a tizzy, and then the parking lot was over full too. Ugh.
I made it to the gate with minutes to spare, but that knot got tighter as my carryon luggage was about an inch too big for the overhead compartment and they made me check it. After all that, we had a bumpy ride due to weather and I thought I was going to throw up on the lady sitting next to me. It was a flying tilt-a-whirl, and I wasn’t expecting it. We eventually ended up in Toronto, but then there was the constipated maze of going through customs. I tell you, it never EVER lets up.
|Easier said than done.|
|A common feeling for those of us that travel for a living.|