Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ever Wonder What it Would be Like to Hang Out With Steve Perry?

And no, I'm not talking about in a sexual way. Get your mind out of the gutter! I just mean spending the day with Steve, platonically, crusin' around and seeing what mischief you could get into. And trust me, there will be lots of cruisin'...(insert Wayne's World dream sequence)

Steve rolls up to your place at around 11a.m. in his fully restored red 1963 Ford Falcon Convertible. He doesn't obnoxiously honk at you from the street, but he doesn't get out and ring the doorbell either. He knows you'll sense his presence. That's how good he is. So he just sits, patiently waiting for you, bobbing his head to the sounds of Outkast being poured out of his stereo speakers. Sure enough, within five minutes of his arrival, you in fact do sense his presence and bound out of your house and into the passenger side with the enthusiasm of a five year-old on Christmas day. He smiles at you, says, "What's up?" adjusts his Ray Bans, smoothes his brilliantly glowing man-hair and puts the car in gear.

"Are we going to the beach?" you shout over the wind and the song "Roses" as you clutch the bag containing your beach towel, sunscreen and swimsuit he told you to bring.

Steve just smiles knowingly and replies, "You'll see."

Sure enough, about an hour and a half later, you do arrive at the coast, but Steve doesn't park the car just yet. He prefers to cruise strip of road parallel to the water, pointing out interesting landmarks.

"I actually got into a fight there once," he says, pointing to a little shack called The Undertow.

"Like a real fight?" you ask increduously. You can't imagine this man fighting anybody. He's just too...cool.

He chuckles. "Yeah. Guy was just being a jackass for no reason. Giving people a hard time just because he could."

You want to hear more of the story, want to know how, exactly, Steve Perry, former frontman of Journey, was able to kick a guy's ass in a bar that looks like it should be condemned, but he doesn't offer up anymore details and you don't ask. This is the first thing you learn about rolling with Steve: he only tells you what you need to know, sometimes for your own safety, sometimes because he knows you wouldn't be able to handle the whole truth. He does it for your own good.

"I used to study transcendental meditation at that place," he says, pointing to a yoga/meditation studio.

"Used to?" you ask. You marvel at the man beside you. Like an onion, he keeps revealing layers of himself you never knew existed.

"Yeah," he says nonchalantly. "Now I'm a Guru."

You're rendered speechless and spend the rest of the adventure down the strip just gaping, looking like a fish gasping for air. Steve finally turns toward the water and parks his car, right there on the sand. He jumps out of the car and opens his trunk and asks you,"Ever surf before?"

You snap out of your amazed trance. Alright! Now we're talking! A surfing adventure with Steve Perry! However, you've never been surfing and don't really know how, which you reluctantly admit to him. He only grins in response.

"That's alright," he says. "I'll teach you!"

The two of you spend well into the afternoon surfing. Steve is an excellent teacher, knowledgeable, patient, and you begin to get the hang of the sport. You're riding the waves, hanging ten, and Steve also goes full-throttle, showing just how good a surfer he really is. He does flips and spins, his feet never leaving the board; at one point he disappears, and when you see him again, he's holding a baby dolphin. In short, he's surfing circles around you (literally and figuratively), but you don't really care; you're having too much fun.

It's only when you collapse on the beach later that afternoon that you notice your stomach grumbling. Loudly. Steve notices too, and he says, "Let's grab a bite to eat. I know a place." You guys hop back in the convertible (after Steve reassures you that, "No, man, you don't need to put a towel on the seat") and head back down the strip and park at a steakhouse. As soon as you walk in, you're greeted with a commotion. Everybody who works there seems to know Steve, and all are clamoring to serve him.

"Steve! So good to see you again!" says the host. "Your table is ready." The two of you follow him to a private room, lined with floor-to-ceiling windows and filled with light. On the way, you pass by the bar where the bartender says, "Steve, my man! The usual?" Even the entire kitchen staff stops what it's doing to wave and clap. When the host seats you, he says, "Your meal will be out in a moment. Just how you like it." Steve notices your confused expression and says, "I always order the same thing. Don't worry, you'll like it." You ask him how he came to know everybody in the joint, and he chuckles. "Know those contests where if you eat an entire steak dinner, you get a free meal next time you come in? I ate two of those one night. I had the munchies like crazy."

Before you can reply, the food comes out: two thick, juicy rib-eye steaks with sides of mashed potatoes and gravy, doughy rolls, friend okra and squash. The bartender brings Steve a drink, and you notice that it's a Manhattan on the rocks. Steve wasn't kidding when he promised you you would like the food; one bite in and you're convinced this is the best dinner you've ever eaten and you ever will eat. It's like Heaven inside of your mouth. At one point you could swear you saw a halo form around your plate.

After dinner, you and Steve cruise back down the strip, this time listening to Nelly's "Hot in Herre," eventually arriving at The Undertow, that mystical place where the epic battle between good and evil (read: where Steve Perry kicked some lowlife ass and served it up for supper) took place. The joint is jumping with Jimmy Buffet music, and the two of you sidle up to the bar and begin pounding back drinks like a couple of frat boys on spring break. Steve orders an Irish Car Bomb, orders you to time him, and proceeds to chug the entire thing in two seconds flat. You try to show him up by chugging a Yager Bomb, but your performance isn't quite as eloquent. It takes you a minute, and you choke halfway through. But Steve just laughs and slaps you on the back. Suddenly a big, burly man with a mullet and mustache approaches Steve. He's wearing worn and faded jeans, a flannel shirt with the sleeves cut off and a scowl that could make Lucifer himself cower in fear. You're alarmed; he looks like he wants to start trouble. Steve is as cool as a cucumber, though.

"You're pretty good with the booze," growls the man, "but you ain't shit on the dance floor."

Steve looks the guy straight in the eye and says, "You have no idea what I'm capable of." It's so grave it sounds like a threat. He's chillingly calm, like a serial killer going in for the...er...kill.

The man sizes Steve up and says, "It's go time." A hush falls over everybody in the bar as Steve and the man make their way to the dance floor up front. Steve lets his opponent go first, and the man points at the DJ. "Boot Scoot Boogey" starts playing, and the man proceeds to drunkenly perform the dance. It's downright awful, painful to watch, but you can't look away. You see Steve chuckle and shake his head. This guy was clearly an amateur.

After the man wraps up his convulsing (which is what it looks like), he challenges Steve: "Let's see you try and top that!" Steve shrugs and makes his way to the center of the dance floor. He gives the DJ a nod and Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" starts pumping through the sound system. Steve is as smooth as butter on the dance floor, showing off some sweet break dancing moves as gracefully as a ballerina. The crowd immediately goes into a frenzy, clapping, cheering and yelling, "Aw, shit, son!" You can see Steve's opponent start to shrink in size as he watches, mortified, from the shadows. The song then morphs into "Thriller," and Steve proceeds to perform the entire Thriller dance. The crowd goes wild, and by the time the performance is over, Steve's opponent looks thoroughly humbled. He shakes Steve's hand and admits grudgingly, "Wow, you're good. I don't think I'll ever be that good." Steve looks him straight in the eye and says, "Don't Stop Believin'. BOOM! You just got Journey-ed." He then walks out of the bar, and you follow.

You're high on the excitement of the evening, but Steve never loses his composure. He's still calm and relaxed, and you both walk across the street to the beach where you sit in the sand in silence for some time. Eventually, Steve pulls out a fat roach, lights it, and asks, "Wanna hit?" You accept, and the rest of the night is spent getting high and mellowing out. This has been the greatest day of your life.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for taking me on a magical journey... pun intended. BOOM! You just got Journey-ed! LOL

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  2. Oh my gosh this was like the best story ever. Just me and 1981 Steve just cruising the warm California coast. You literally fullfilled my fantasy of meeting Steve. It is like you know how I want to meet a decent man...

    My fav part was the end. Lol. That was hilarious.

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  3. Hi Erin, I'm glad you liked it! I was laughing myself while I was writing this, so it's nice to know I'm not the only one who finds it funny. :-)

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