San Diego

Well, the goddamn time has changed and the days are as short as Alf’s pubis—that’s short, people!
It makes you long for the distant Summer evenings, when you would toddle out of the Irisher after Happy Hour and still have the golden glow of the sunset accompany you on the walk back over to O’Malleys….

And so goes 2009 as it comes to its own evening, yes?
It’s late in the year, and we no longer have the energy to lose the weight or dye the hair for these last few gigs.

Besides, I’m thinking a dash of grey will add to the roguish look, eh?

I’m imagining a little Joe Perry action:

Or, hey–maybe they’ll see a resemblance to this character!

Yeah, whatever—Me, I stay away from the Garnier Ultra shine #14 Blue/Black for a month and here’s the look I achieve:

Someone's looking fabulous!

Yer ol pals here at the CH3 ranch did a lot of travelin and serenadin’ these past 12 months, and just a couple more gigs on the calendar before we put a busy year to rest–

What’s this? Another gig down South? Goddamn, that makes it about a half dozen times we’ve played San Diego in the past year!

You know, we really enjoy travelin down the 5 and playing there. Lots of really cool friends and bands we know down yonder, and besides–they got some green chile burritos available at 3a.m. that make you Pavlovianally start drooling at last call !

Let's be honest---way better than groupies or drugs!

But it wasn’t always this way.

Oh no, there was a period of time–let’s say 1982 til the recent past or so–that CH3 was not welcome down in the Greater San Diego area.

What’s that? What happened Uncle Mike? Tell us a story!!

Well, alright, but then it’s straight up to bed with you feckin brats!!

Long, long ago….

Young and innocent, and we smelled like freshly shampooed puppies!

You see, way back when in the early days of this punk thingy, we had no internet, no myspace or facebook. No Hot Topic!
There was no Punk Rocker global community, and so the different cities would have their own little tribes. Many were the nights we would pull into the parking lot of some warehouse or abandoned roller rink, only to be met with the angry glares of the local crew, viciously guarding their own little scene from the outside invaders. You had to prove yourself worthy if you ever wanted to come back, and believe me brother–there were plenty of burgs that didn’t want to see our little act again!

We were fortunate to have an ep out on the powerhouse PoshBoy label, though, and that opened a lot of doors!

The EP was released and we were still scratching for local gigs–Cuckoo’s Nest on a weeknight, maybe a garage party in LaHabra. But reviews started coming in, a few copies got sold, and we were steadily getting offers to play bigger gigs!

One Saturday evening, as I was collecting the shopping carts in the Fedmart parking lot,

hmmm? what? What’s a Fedmart you say?
Well, it’s a little before your time, but imagine a WalMart, only with a much lower class clientele-ya got me? A White Trash bonanza catering to the local families that arrived drunk and arguing, and left with their carts piled high. Gallons of blue label vodka and menthol cigarettes, that was their usual booty.

And after loading their pickup trucks with their nutritous supplies, do they bring their carts back to the front? Or even to the cart corral in the middle of the goddamn parking lot?

I think you know the answer.

No, they leave it to some poor schmuck, doing an eight hour– eight hour! –shift of doing nothing but collecting carts. Even bagging groceries was better than that gig, and I usually passed a Saturday afternoon doing just that.

There I’d be, silently nursing my hangover as I bundled the groceries. Jauntily snapping out two brown bags at the same time while winking at the Donna, (cougar cashier with bad skin), I would calculate the individual minutes left on my shift and the time it would take to be home, drinking a cold Coors Banquet in the shower.

Understand me–an easy job. At least compared to double fours humping shopping carts over a 2 acre parking lot…… Didn’t even need to expunge enough breath to ask, paper or plastic? —-it was even before that choice was an option!
Only the wisacres and hard asses pulled cart duty, rebels with big mouths who were always begging someone to clock them out while they went to meet their pot dealer at the Brique.

Do you want the Smirnoff in the bag ma'am? Or will you be drinking it on the way back to the car?

So where was I? Right.

One Saturday evening, as I was collecting the shopping carts…..wha? Why was I out there collecting the carts? That wot you say?

Don’t know if I ever told you about your Uncle Duane, did I?

For the love of God, Duane--do not take a drink while I'm in the room!

Ah, gee, he was a swell guy alright. In fact, I believe he got me that swell job at the Fedmart.

See, I was just a college kid at the time, doing my term paper on Mesopotamian Influence on Early Egypt and practicing in the garage most every evening. But Mom was getting a little fed up with my 6 unit workload and constant monitoring of the Twilight Zone reruns that played 6 times a day on KTLA channel 5…

Oh, for fuck sake! It's a cookbook ya dummies! How many times have I warned ya?!

So I figured a part time job would be the best way to keep the peace and insure our practice privileges, at least for a while anyway. Rockstardom right around the corner and all that don’t ya know….

So Duane gets me into The ‘Mart and all is fine for a while: me putting the frozen chicken in the bottom/marshmallows on top, Duane sweating his ass off in the parking lot, pushing a 25 yard long line of carts back to the store front, they only to be used and scattered again. Sweet.

Goddamn you! I just put that fucking thing back!!

Long story short, they pushed DW about as far as you can, which is to say 3 weeks into the job. Something about spending too long behind the Snack Bar soda fountain while a line of irritated alcoholics waited at the empty Cart Poole.
I can still remember Duane flipping off Richard the Creepy Shift Manager and throwing his apron into Black Chuck’s face. Duane looked at me and raised an eyebrow, an invitation to throw off my humiliating costume as well and join him at the Brique for a night of drinking and boasting.

Sadly, I shrugged and turned back to my bags, figuring correctly that it wouldn’t be the last job Duane would get me into or fired out of.

So there I am, resplendent in red vest over short sleeve button up with brown polyester clip-on tie, minding my own business. I slide a 24 pack of Lucky Lager out of a cart’s lower tray, gentle as birthing a foal into the new day of a misty meadow. That’s when Richard the Creepy Shift Manager tapped me on the shoulder. “Magrann-you got the cart shift. Now.”

Fuckin Duane.

It’s 3 weeks later and I’m still pulling Cart duty evey Saturday. I know it’s a punishment, especially because Richard sees me ride to Fmart on the back of Duane’s Interceptor 500. Duane never misses a chance to rev the throttle and squeak a meager burnout on the Mart’s front sidewalk, and Richard the CSM never tires of pointing me out to the hot parking lot.

The ocean I swam. Over and over and over....

One scorching Saturday, let’s say 4pm, I’m humping the line back to the front. Saturdays are the worst, because you have so many goddamn carts out there and the lot is so full, you can’t possibly get them back to the store before they run out. A vicious circle, so you start lining up more and more carts, and on this day I’ve got as many as I can possibly steer from way back here. Richard the Creepy Shift Manager comes out of the automatic doors and yells for me: “Magrann! Phone! Personal Call!”

I abandoned my conga line of shopping carts, allowing the first one in the row to break free and bump harmlessly into a Datsun B210 in the handicap space. Richard glared at me as I walked past him into the store. “What I tell you about personal calls, huh?!” I rolled my eyes in response and went to the phone behind the information booth/cigarette dispensary.

The cold air of the store’s guts shock me for a moment, and I struggle with the dark spots that swim before my eyes. Black Chuck shakes his head, the fuckin kiss ass.

“Yeah, what?” I say, phone to my sweating head. It’s Kimm on the line. I can hear Duane in the background.

“How’s the cart business?”
“Fuck you. What?”
“Dude. can you get off, like right now?”

“No. I don’t know. What’s up?”

“Dude,” and I can hear Kimm grinning. “We got a show with Black Flag. Tonight. San Diego.”

Oh, but you kids are tired, ain’t ya? We’ll finish this story up another day. Maybe.

4 thoughts on “San Diego

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