My stay here was much longer than originally anticipated. I left Orlando on Sunday morning with Jorge and Valerie, eager to make it to the Kickin' Devil Cafe's Sunday brunch event, at which I was scheduled to play. Jorge had me drive his car as he navigated us along a scenic route that took us through parts of the Ocala National Forest. I'm trying not to say something sarcastic about Jorge's route. I guess I would just prefer efficiency in that particular situation (I75 would have shaved off an hour). Though we were late (I thought), my fiancee Sophia was there right on time! She had bused in from Tally and called me at noon to alert me of her arrival. She also informed me that there were hardly any others. I instructed her to ask for Mary Jane, the woman who did booking at the venue. We laughed about how strange it was to approach a restaurant counter and ask for Mary Jane. This isn't Amsterdam, after all.
Upon arriving at the cafe, Sophia's observation was confirmed: the place was dead. The four of us looked over the menus and took our places at a table for brunch.
I was given a discount, since I was performing at the venue... which was great since I found the food to be way overpriced! This was probably due to the inclusion of alcoholic beverages with the meals. Mine was a bloody beer concoction which was actually quite good! The rest of the meal was great too, except that we were all fairly certain that the "hash browns" were just mashed-up tater-tots.
We were eating and awaiting the headliner, Mama Trish, when my good friend Santi arrived to join us. He just moved to Gainesville himself to complete his post-secondary education at UF. He would be my host for my two nights here.
Mama Trish took the stage and played for about an hour. With a powerful voice she crooned original and cover songs, including some Beatles tunes, and rocked a six-string. When she took her break, I followed her on the stage and played a short four song set. My friends were all supportive, there was still hardly anyone else there.
We finished eating and paid our tabs as Mama Trish played through her second set. We then left the venue to see the city and run some errands. I stayed with Jorge and Valerie while Soph stayed with Santi. We went our separate ways for the afternoon.
Our first destination was Sally's Beauty Supply, since I wouldn't stop complaining about certain uncooperative locks on my new head of hair. I needed beeswax and a du rag to keep these locks under control. We also went to get vegan ice cream at Karma Creme, to check out the Wayward Council meeting, and to see the bat houses at UF.
We didn't want to stay out too late because Jorge and Valerie had to drive back to Orlando that night. They left me at Santi's apartment, where he and some friends were playing Monopoly. Unable to concentrate on anything, much less a riveting game of Monopoly, I opted instead to write about the wheel of thoughts spinning in my mind. I fell asleep to Eddie Izzard's stand-up and woke up ready to work!
I typed six pages worth of blog material - and that was only falf the story! I had over two weeks worth of adventures to talk about! I also managed to get three more shows booked and a full bill for a show in Louisville! All in all, not a bad day =)
I spent the night playing hold-em with Santi and friends. I didn't win.
The next morning I was to hitch out of Gainesville. I got my first ride within ten to fifteen minutes - not a bad start!.. except he could only take me down a couple exits. My second ride came an hour or two later. Same thing.
The exit I ended up at was far more desolate than the others. That is to say, the drivers entering this on-ramp were fewer and much farther between. I stood by the road with my guitar, playing songs and sticking my thumb out for passers-by. Before long, a state trooper stopped before me and said, "I don't mind you doing this, as long as you stay off that interstate." For the first hour or so, this was a great location to hitch. The trees behind me provided plenty of shade and I played in the cool breeze. But as the sun rose higher, the shadows shortened and I found myself standing in the merciless Florida sunlight. It was unbearable.
At one point, an 18-wheeler truck pulled over a couple hundred yards passed me. He's stopping for me! I ran up to the truck, unable to see the driver. So I climbed the steps and opened the door to see the driver talking on his phone. He looked over at me, alarmed and puzzled. Once he saw what I wanted, he motioned for me to wait a few minutes. Upon hanging up, he asked where I was headed. Atlanta. No dice. He wasn't going that way. Gravely disappointed, I shut the door and walked back to my gear. This went on until about 1p, at which point I decided to call it a day and catch the next bus to Atlanta. I went back to Santi's to get more work done.
This morning I woke up, watched Being John Malkovich, and typed the second half of my two weeks in FL. I spent parts of the night with Santi - eating, bowling, and talking in the car to kill some time. He couldn't stay too late, though, as he has work early in the morning. So he left me at the Red Coach bus terminal, a parking garage on the UF campus. It's now nearly 1:30am and I continue to await the next bus, scheduled to depart for Atlanta at 2.