Use link below to read Spitboy: Our Favorite Assumptions (Part I)
Two years later, on our Pacific Rim tour, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan, Spitboy discovered the joys of Scrabble. Karin bought a travel Scrabble set, the kind that folds up and has tiny-easy-to-lose tiles that snap in place, allowing the board to be stored away and the game resumed after the next show. In New Zealand, the first country in the Pacific Rim, we rode in rented van, a Rent-a-Dent, driven by Ross who Karin had collaborated with to book the tour. A long-time employee of Mordam records, Karin who handled their overseas sales, had many contacts, making it possible to for a band like Spitboy to tour like we did. New Zealand’s Ross had high cheekbones, a floppy Mohawk, and he wore bondage pants, but he smiled too much to pull off his classic English punk look, never sneering or flipping the bird. We were all in love with him as soon as we met him at the airport where he picked us up in the van that didn’t seem to have a dent on it. In fact, the van had enough space in the way back where someone Dominique’s height could lay down and sleep, which she did so much, rising up with her sweatshirt hood still on, eyes blinking from the bright sun, that we nicknamed her Nessie after the Loch Ness Monster.
Ross was excited to meet us and to introduce us to his friends in Aukland and to take us to see some sights, like the harbor, an indoor bathhouse, and far-off snow-covered mountains. He assured us that even though we were playing all-ages shows that there’d be time to party afterwards, but we were more interested in what we were going to eat and where we were going to sleep. Karin, Dominique, and our roadie/photographer, Karoline Collins were all vegan and would read Lonely Planet in advance of each new country for tips on vegetarian/vegan restaurants. Karoline had toured the Pacific Rim, and she also had several recommendations. The cafe with the vegetarian/vegan sausage sandwiches stands out in my memory.
Once Dominique arrived, on a different flight, for she flew for free since her dad, Captain Bob, was a pilot for American Airlines, and I recovered a bit from terrible vertigo and jetlag, we played in Aukland and set off with Ross for five or six more shows, and a couple of very long drives. It was on these long drives that we became consumed by our Scrabble games. Four people can play the board game, and sometimes all of Spitboy would play, or Karoline would play with Karin, Dominique, and I. Adrienne often felt compelled to co-pilot, sitting with Ross up front in the van, to keep him company. Karin would usually win at Scrabble, having the biggest vocabulary combined with the best offensive and defensive strategies, and I usually lost. Losing never dampened my spirits for the game, or for the chance to pull out the dictionary that Karin also brought for challenging the validity of a word or correct spelling. We weren’t cutthroat players, but we did play by the rules, consulting them on the slim folded sheet of paper that came with the game whenever we needed to. And when one of us was taking a long time on a turn, the others would simply plan her next turn, hoping our desired spot on the board wasn’t used, watch the sights out the window as they rolled by, or even take out whatever book she was reading. I had bought about of short stories written by Maori authors in Aukland, and I undoubtedly had another book from home by some Latina author in my bag.
After being our driver/tour manager for a couple of days, Ross realized that we weren’t big partiers, and he made a comment to that end that made us all squeal and love him even more. We were getting back into the van after stopping to stretch our legs at a rest area with a picnic bench where we snacked on hunks of soft baguettes. As soon as we got into the van, before we even got moving, Karin pulled out the Scrabble board and asked whose turn it was. This was one of our biggest problems with Scrabble. When we had to stop mid-game and resume we could hardly ever remember who was next.
“I remember Dominique spelled “Joe,” I said.
“But someone went after me.” She was looking at the board.
“Here let me see the score sheet,” Karoline said.
Ross who had been fiddling with something on the driver’s side door, turned around.
“You guys are like a bunch of old ladies,” he said with a big smile.
We all looked up. Karin had the Scrabble board open on her lap.
“I wasn’t expecting this at all. When I booked Spitboy, I was thinking we’d be raging all night long, having wild parties, and getting really wasted.”
“Really? You thought that?” Karin said, smiling wider and brighter than she normally did.
We had grown fond of hearing what people thought we might be like, what strange assumptions people had about female hardcore-playing-feminists, but maybe it was weird that we played so much Scrabble.
“No sex, drugs, and rock and roll for this lot,” someone said.
“Really,” Ross said, “My grandmother plays Scrabble.”
This made us all laugh and coo at Ross and love him even more.
I rather liked being compared to Ross’ grandmother, an old woman who liked words and social time with her friends, and I liked that once again, Spitboy was defying stereotypes and preconceived notions about who we were, what we did, and how we did it.
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