Saturday morning, Henry, Chooch and I woke up early and drove to Philly to hang out with our friends Terri and Christian, but more importantly, so Terri and I could go to the Armor For Sleep show later that night. I still can’t believe I convinced Henry to do this, right on the heels of Riot Fest. I think he’s just worn down at this point in our relationship.
(I probably would have just gone by myself if it came down to it, but I really like traveling with both of my fam-bots. We’re kind of like a really annoying package, like a box of kazoos.)
The day started off annoyingly with two back-to-back botched coffee orders at Sheetz (I mean, my standards for gas station coffee are low to begin with, but the teenage girl working that morning took the liberty of burying them for me). About an hour later, we stopped at a rest area on the turnpike so I could get better coffee (Starbucks — not much of an improvement) and Henry made this huge production of “finally” getting something for himself to eat, since Chooch and I ordered breakfast sandwiches at Sheetz and he chose not to (NOT OUR FAULT—he is our keeper, we are not his). He stormed off to buy himself some Auntie Anne’s pretzel bites, which is his favorite turnpike treat because his blue-collar taste buds crave the snack of coal miners and junkyard proprietors.
(I wrote my senior thesis on the dietary habits of coal miners and junkyard proprietors, so don’t even try to question me on this one.)
While Henry was in line for his roadside brunch, Chooch and I pretended to be interested in a cabinet full of Pennsylvania Turnpike curios. (It really did make me long for the days of Howard Johnsons, though.) Suddenly, Henry breezed past us, popping a piping hot pretzel bite into his idiot mouth, and tossed us a smug glance over his shoulder.
“LOOK AT THAT CONFIDENT STRIDE!” I screamed to Chooch, who immediately set off to imitate him. We were laughing so hard by the time we reached our car that Henry was threatening to lock us out. Oh god, the fodder that Henry unwittingly provides.
The rest of the drive was relatively uneventful. I just made Henry mad with my schizophrenic fan-girling and Chooch played stupid games on Henry’s phone. Nothing really happened because we were just trying to get to Philly as quickly as possible so that we would have time to spend with our friends before we became burnt out on each others’ company.
We got to Christian and Terri’s place around 2:00 and after hanging out and eating their candy for a bit, Christian drove us into the city, where Henry was having quiet fits in the backseat because Philly’s jaywalking epidemic is much worse than Pittsburgh’s and if there’s one thing he hates, it’s a fucking jaywalker.
One of the jaywalkers was missing an arm, so we were nice to that one. BUT STILL. Way to be entitled.
We had a late lunch at Su Xing House, an entirely vegetarian Chinese restaurant. Sometimes, it’s the little things like this that remind me there is a god up there somewhere after all. But then Chooch acted like a spoiled brat because HE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT HE WANTED AND HE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT ANYTHING WAS PLEASE SEND HELP so I was like, “Yep, and there’s a Satan, too.” Henry and I were giving him suggestions so that turned into STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO DO and this had all of the potential to turn really ugly, but then he ended up ordering a tofu appetizer and also a bowl of unpeeled, steamed edamame; that kept him busy. Especially when he was trying to cut the tofu and Henry was like HELP HIM and I was like I CAN’T DO IT EITHER HELP. Terri said watching Chooch devise new food-cutting tactics was entertaining but I was too busy bracing myself for disaster to be entertained.
For Christ’s sake, this restaurant is delightful. As a vegetarian, I’m not used to walking into a restaurant and struggling to order because there is too much to choose from. So much tofu and seitan, I couldn’t decide! Henry got the General Tso’s seitan (predictable) and Terri got some amazing sesame thing. I’m not sure what Christian got but it looked fantastic too. I ended up getting Under the Sea, which was a faux, crispy fish in a sweet and sour sauce. It was DELICIOUS, but the presentation was extremely creepy because it was in the shape of a whole fish and it looked so realistic. I struggled with that for a second. Not going to post the picture here because it might trigger some sensitive gag reflexes out there.
I also got a taro tapioca and was not sad about that at all. Taro is so goddamn underrated!
Henry should make a taro pie for the pie party…
We honestly spent the whole time talking about music and I took a second to silently thank Jason Pettigrew for bringing us together in 2011. I remember parting ways with them that night after the AP show at the House of Blues in Cleveland and saying to Henry, “I really, really hope that we see them again.” And there we were, almost four years later, sitting together and eating excellent vegetarian food at Su Xing House.
I mean, ahem. It was a cool time. And I’m totally not getting all misty as I write this because that would be so unlike me. Black heart. Thick skin.
After we ate, it was finally time for Big Gay Ice Cream. I have been so excited about this ever since I found out Philly was getting a location! Who can resist flamboyant ice cream?! It wasn’t open yet when we were there last December, but I knew we would back soon enough to experience its gay goodness. Terri said that she actually had been waiting for us to visit again before trying it — she is so sweet!
Christian went back to the car because he was going to try to park closer to Big Gay Ice Cream while the rest of us walked there. It wasn’t a terribly long walk and the weather was seriously perfect that afternoon. I was really happy to be walking because we were in a part of the city that I hadn’t been to yet and I love looking at things, like all of the riff raff and stores that are so much better than what we have in Pittsburgh. Downtown Pittsburgh is not very bustling. And it’s definitely not where people go just to shop. But if you’re looking for a CVS or check cashing place, you’re in luck.
“Yeah, this is the theater district,” Terri explained as we skirted around a pack of ridiculously-dressed rich older persons. One of the women, who looked like a younger Stacey from What Not To Wear, was blabbing about something and she sounded so vapid, it was almost a parody. All I could think was, “God, you sound so idiotic, yet you’re still better than me in so many ways.” The world is super unfair, guys. I just found out.
Henry walked ahead of us the whole time because he knows everything. LOOK AT THAT CONFIDENT STRIDE! Chooch and I kept mocking him, which is what we do best. It’s our specialty. Like, if we had to do a talent show, we’d probably just do that. Terri was laughing after the 6th “confident stride” mention, but then quickly stifled it and said, “I shouldn’t laugh, I’m just encouraging you guys!”
Did you know the Pope is coming to Philly!? I actually didn’t until Friday night when Terri texted me to see where we were staying. I told her that Henry was having a hard time finding anything close to them without spending over $200, presumably because there was a football game scheduled, and she replied, “Good thing the Pope isn’t visiting this weekend!”
I just said “Inorite?” or “haha” or something, because I thought she was just being facetious, equating a home football game to a visit from the Pope.
Nope, the Pope is really visiting Philly.
I wish I had known, because I would have worn my Pope Francis shirt!
(Except mine is green, yo.)
I’d actually really like to see the Pope. I saw Pope John Paul II when I was younger and it was amaze, but Francis is the best damn Pope of all time. I don’t give a fuck what your Gram says.
AND THEN BIG GAY ICE CREAM HAPPENED! Oh, it was overwhelming. The choices! The toppings! The paletas (whatever the fuck that means)! I was originally going to get the Bea Arthur because I felt like that was the obvious choice for a Big Gay Virgin, but at the last second, I freaked out and ordered the Mermaid, which is a sundae with KEY LIME CURD and pie crust crumbs. I had ordering remorse right away, but then I tried it and felt really satisfied with my decision.
All those fabulous, flamboyant flavor combinations and Henry goes for his good ol’ standby: the twist. Plain, nondescript, and dependable. JUST LIKE HENRY.
I was ragging on him about this again today and Chooch shrugged and said, “He can’t help it. That’s just who he is.”
The Mermaid was like a giant key lime nipple, It was delicious. And honestly, underneath all the disco dance floor ceiling lights and fig & blood orange balsamic syrup, that plain vanilla soft serve was really fucking great. It was dense and rich and the perfect base for all of those gay fixins.
Terri got a Monday Sundae and when I saw that her cone was being lined with Nutella, I was like, “Stahhhhp!” Ugh, why didn’t I order that!? I need to go back there right this second and try everything. And then buy a magnet, since they were out of stock. :(
I love how annoyed Henry and Chooch look in this picture. “Oh wow. What a shocker. Mommy is taking pictures of us eating ice cream. Again. Like the Internet doesn’t already know what we look like when holding ice cream cones in our angry-fists by now.” At least Terri was happy!
Seriously, this picture makes me laugh so hard.
ME N’ MY GIRL.
Where we stay really doesn’t matter too much to us since we’re barely there when we road trip like this, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at the Motel 6 we stayed at. I always thought those places were dumps, but this one had been recently renovated and was pretty mod. AND CLEAN. The place we stayed outside of Chicago was reallllly questionable. But, all I cared about was being close to Riot Fest, and that shitty Econo Lodge did the trick.
There was a lot of orange in this joint, but I got over it.
I miss Terri, Christian, and Philly already. I know Pittsburgh and Philly are supposed to be enemies or whatever, but I just love that damn city. Next time, I’d like to visit when there isn’t a show to attend so that we’ll have more time to do stuff and drive Henry and Christian nuts!