This post is dedicated to all single men: I've come to the conclusion that my dating life is ultimately for the sole purpose of giving me good material to facilitate my writing career. So thanks to you.
And now, Buckethead:
I had a “date” tonight. Concerts are typically not the first thing I spend my money on (usually that would be canned goods, toilet paper and the occasional $1 movie theatre night when my zany, gentile side takes over). But when the chance comes around once every six years, you figure out how to rearrange your schedule to accommodate an invitation – even a last-minute one. And the dude said these musicians were an amazing percussionist and a prodigious guitar player. Sweet.
I realized immediately that we weren’t on the same page about the evening when I showed up looking spunky yet sophisticated in a thoughtfully coordinated outfit and he gave me a high five. My stature approached just around his nipple – a height difference that allowed me the subtle opportunity to read his t-shirt: “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” Thank you, Groucho Marx, for starting the evening off classy. By the way, the cute guy that asked me to a concert will henceforth be referred to as “homeboy” to protect his dignity…
We got a beer and immersed ourselves in the sound waves emerging from a large man playing synthesized tuba. It sounded like a techno didgeridoo and was actually pretty cool. But all I could think about was how his mother felt about his success after so many years of listening to him scream into his tuba in the basement.
As the next act came on – what I can best describe as Mel Brooks on speed beating on a fake harp to pre-recorded electronica – Homeboy finished his beer and offered to get us another round. When I politely explained that I was still hung over from St. Patrick’s Day, he responded, “Well, I’m gonna get boozed up.” And lo, it came to pass.
We enjoyed the rest of Mel Brooks’s performance (the highlight of which was the screeching sock puppet) and bantered back and forth a bit, with profound questions like “What percentage of the audience do you think is stoned?” (I low-balled at 50%.) Finally, the man of the hour: Buckethead. Buckethead, the master guitar guru; Buckethead, whose fingers are so long and nimble he was destined to become a world-famous a musician and a most dexterous lover; Buckethead, the man whose title is a symbolic exploration of our minds’ isolation from reality….well, perhaps it had more to do with the perfectly contoured KFC bucket he wore upon his dome. We’ll never know because the true artist was hidden behind a white mask, which probably is symbolic of his isolation from…oh, whatever. For the next three hours he proceeded to violate the guitar with truly impressive adroitness and entertaining compositions. Homeboy would intermittently lean down to scream sweetly in my ear: “This shit is blowing my mind!!”
When his digits became fatigued, Buckethead placed foam replacements upon his hands and busted robot moves that would have made Michael Jackson swoon. When he got bored with that, he swung a chainsaw around (powered-off, obviously) and a pair of nunchaku that he clearly had been practicing with for more than 3 weeks. Maybe he and tuba dude practiced in the basement together in middle school. He chucked the nunchaku and proceeded to toss toys from a sack into the front rows.
Meanwhile, Homeboy was getting progressively more intoxicated and asked if it’d be cool for me to drive him home. I mean, we were headed to the same neighborhood, and he smelled good. So I agreed. As the show was wrapping up, he asked me to borrow a $1.50 to round out his cash for a CD. I pulled a 20 out of my bra and handed it to him (which apparently was a magical trick to a tall drunk man with a great angle on a low-cut shirt). In exchange, he tossed me his entire wallet.
I had flash visions of encountering passport-sized pornographic photos and raisins: “Um, I don’t know what to do with this. Do you really want me to dig through your wallet?”
“Oh. Um, here” – he handed me a $5 bill and said “we’ll work the rest out later.” I sighed and headed for the door, pausing once more so he could trace prospective traffic routes on the plaid sweatshirt of an equally inebriated Buckethead enthusiast.
He spent a portion of the ride home explaining how he was hoping to meet up the next day with all of the people who had bailed on him for the concert. Oh….so, you mean, I probably could have spent a little less time on my hair then, huh? We finally got back to the place where he was crashing for the weekend (I forgot to mention he was an out-of-towner), and he leaned in closely to me, looking deeply into my eyes. It was not romantic – he was simply trying to focus. “This was awesome. Thanks for coming with me” (a sentiment he would reiterate via text hours later - sogreatweshoulddothisagainsometime). He raised his hand for one final high-five as we parted ways and I drove off into the night with sock puppet screeches still ringing in my ears.