There is not, as you may know, a Denny's in Juneau. I find this a travesty of epic proportions, because I really needed one the other night. It probably seems strange to you, dear reader, that I might require a purveyor of sub-class breakfast platters and burned, bitter, weak urn coffee, but there is always a specific set of circumstances that necessitates such a thing. In this case, a quirk of scheduling had us leaving Juneau a scant twelve and a half hours after we arrived, lipstick and upright bass in tow. We were promised to play for a going away/birthday party for the Condom Lady, and it was exciting. What it meant in reality was that we could look forward to two hours of sleep at most. There were whispers of an afterparty (hey, if you're gonna live like a rock star, then fucking do it) but it never materialized. I would have preferred to not try to sleep at all, but that wasn't in the cards, because there was not really a place to stay awake. You know, like a Denny's.
I have never had breakfast at Denny's at breakfast time, unless you count 4:30 a.m. from the wrong side of day. I have spent plenty of time with my ass planted in a booth, drinking $0.99 coffee and making inside jokes with the closest friends I've ever known, but it has always been in those dark hours that most folks over the age of 26 or so completely eschew. There is a certain camaraderie that can only develop in the haze resulting from sleep deprivation and too much cheap caffeine on top of too much cheap booze. Things develop a humor that isn't present in the cold light of day. Why were we so insistent that we refer to C. and O.'s cats as the loincloths? How many rounds of sugar packet hockey did we play in Spokane? That guy in the scarf, did I really give him K.'s number in the vain and misplaced hope he'd call her, even though her area code was two time zones away?
It wasn't to be. After the wrapping of cables and the hauling of the Beast and her accoutrements, I regretfully smooched a few lovely cheeks and said goodbye to a new friend that I really had hoped to get to know better - you have to respect a man who schools his friends in the fine art of Murray's heavyweight - and let them disappear into the fog wrapping this town like a noir film. Stella disappeared as well, folded back into a square of satin and a handful of bobby pins, and left just me mournfully in her place. I would have given a lot for low diner lights and a pile of unidentifiable fried bits with extra salt, slightly hysterical laughter and companionably close shoulders rubbing once and again as I forged another memory without context. I would have given a lot for the chance to let a new comrade or three into my heart.
I guess this is the price of being in the limelight. People fade into and out of the shadows, and the only evidence is a blurry photograph of you smiling at one another like soulmates, if only for that impossibly small heartbeat.