Paper Chase

Drunk Horse
Koo's Art Cafe
monday, July 9

Something horrible happened to me in the bathroom at Koo's last Monday. Up to this point I've chosen to remain quiet about it, but that's 10 days of quiet—which is a lot of quiet—and I'm a loud person. Not nearly as loud as Koo's though. Fuck! Koo's is fucking loud! If you're inside it's fucking loud and if you're outside it's slightly less fucking loud until someone opens the door and the fucking loudness comes outside and you could swear you're fucking inside again. It was packed on this night, too; hot, sweaty and filled with little smiling faces (oblivious to the hearing damage they'll enjoy in later life) pressed up against the outside windows trying to get a better view of Drunk Horse. Here's the thing though: if you're outside and smushing your face up against the window, all you're really going to see is one-eighth of the back of the guitarist's head (bonus: sliver of ear included) and most of the drummer's ass. You wouldn't even be able to tell that the drummer was wearing a shirt which said "The Pants," which is what Drunk Horse used to be called. Isn't The Pants a good name? I think so too.

Oakland's Drunk Horse look like two Jeff Spicolis (drummer and bass player), a computer tech (guitar player) and everyone's older brother who skateboarded in the '70s (singer/guitar player). In fact, their music is kinda straight from the '70s (in a blues-based boogie way) which normally would make me choke but for some reason, with them, just makes me want to watch them all day. The musicians are phenomenal and they don't crap around with any of that tasteful understated stuff. They're showboating the entire time, infusing their riff-laden '70s rock with a heavy dose of nerdy-yet-difficult prog-rock. They even played a paean to Bach, the world's first prog-rocker, which is called "The Bitch is Bach," although my friend Jeremy thought it was called something else but now he forgets what he thought it was called and says he thought it was called "The Bitch is Bach" the whole time but he's totally lying. What a liar!

So there I am, peering into the space in between the shoulders of the two people in front of me in an effort to watch singer Eli Eckert's fingers jump all over the fretboard when suddenly I get an insistent message from my bladder and I think we all know what I'm talking about. The bathroom line is interminable but finally it's my turn and as I walk in the girl walking out says there's no toilet paper but I've waited in line for so long there's absolutely no way I'm going to forfeit my turn in order to go get some.

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Now, you might be of the mind this is no big thing. People are always throwing around the term "drip dry" like it's no big thing. Like "Oh yeah, we were camping and I had to pee and we were out of toilet paper so I just drip dried." Or "Yeah, the bathroom line was too long so I went outside behind the van. Drip dry!" Or "The plane crashed in Alaska and after we ran out of munitions we ate the weak members of the group and when we had to pee we would just drip dry." Well I'm here to say that it is a big thing. I hate having to drip dry. I will not drip dry. I won't! Don't make me! It's icky and gross and uncomfortable and most likely creates something that constitutes "a breeding ground." So I scanned the bathroom for a swatch of anything absorbent. There were no tissues, no napkins, and no toilet seat covers. What there was, was my reporter's notebook. Could I? Would I dare? Oh yes, I would. And with that I ripped pages of paper from my reporter's notebook and, shall we say, jotted down a new kind of notes. This was a bad idea though! BAD! And as I sit here, in mild discomfort, wearing breathable cottons and careful not to cross my legs too quickly or execute any sudden groin movements, I'm reminded of the timeless words of co-worker Steve Lowery: "Why do you tell me this stuff? You know you're not supposed to tell me this stuff! You know it makes me sick!" Indeed!

But that wasn't the end of it. Not wanting to clog Koo's delicate plumbing system (but with little regard for my own same) I thought it best if I didn't flush the compromised sheets of notebook paper and instead just threw them in the trash. Two made it in. One didn't. Very gingerly I picked it up by its frayed perforated edge and tossed it in.

So that's what happened. Take a moment or two to reflect. Think long and hard about what you would have done in the same situation. And then think long and hard about whether you shook my hand that night.

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