After looking at our fair share of medical anomalies at the Mütter (thanks, Chooch, for your gripping recap of our experience there), I reminded Terri that she promised we could eat at Blackbird, a vegan pizza joint where meat-averse people like me can enjoy a slice without worrying about pepperoni juice spill-over.
I don’t know what part of Philly it’s in because I don’t live and didn’t pay attention to how far we drove from the Mütter, except that we were lucky enough to find a parking spot that wasn’t too far away, but just far enough that Terri got to point out a street that’s on the cover of a Cinderella album. This is the shit that I want to know when I’m being a tourist! I mean, OK the Liberty Bell is cool, I guess, but I was more interested in seeing where Mannequin was filmed.
Tantalizing! Chooch tried to act like he didn’t care but I saw him turn back around to get one last boob-ogle.
Because Terri excels at pointing out places of interest (unlike me in my own city; I’m the worst! “I don’t know what that building is…um…maybe a strip joint?”) I got to see what remains of Zipperhead, a much better Hot Topic-type store that was so cool it was referenced in a Dead Milkmen song. It sounds like it was a real institution in the Philly punk scene. We have a store similar to that in Pittsburgh—Slacker—that was the fucking shit when I used to shop there in high school, but now it’s super lame. I used to buy Lip Service clothes, crazy rings, and Fantasia cigarettes that emitted colored smoke when lit. I popped in briefly over the summer and was saddened by a rack of Yinzer-themed novelty t-shirts. God, Slacker was my jam back in the day, and I can only imagine how much I would have loved Zipperhead too.
The Internet ruins everything.
Onward to Blackbird!
Can I just tell you how amazing it feels to not be the outsider at a restaurant for once? Usually it’s all, “Oh, I’m sure I can find a salad on the menu, don’t worry” when I’m out with carnivores—I even brought a sandwich to work on the day of our office holiday party). But at Blackbird, everything is vegan and I had the hardest time ordering because for once, everything was an option. I was hoping Henry was going to cry bacon-flavored tears onto the table when his faux-meat pizza was served, which launched him into a defensive monologue about how he likes seitan, it’s only tofu that he hates. OK tough guy. (He really did eat the crap out of an order of root beer wings, so there you have it: a real blue-collared meat eater, dispelling the myth that vegan food is shit.
Seitan is everything.
So is Satan, but that’s a post for my secret 666 blog.
I ordered this chicken parm-type of sandwich and it made my heart so happy. Everything about it was on point, and I was so stuffed before I even got halfway through the second half, but I powered through it and then could barely walk back to the car later. Ugh, I wish this place was in Pittsburgh.
Chooch hated his pizza because it wasn’t ice cream.
A nightmarish window display.
There was an antique shop that I wanted to check out on the way back, and before anyone could stop him., Chooch whipped the door open, arousing about 150 years worth of dormant dust particles, and forged ahead. Unfortunately, the available foot path inside this shop was approximately two feet across, both sides lined floor to ceiling with unimaginably-priced breakables. Chooch was wearing a parka and I was hissing at him to stop and wait for us, but he is so fucking stubborn that he just kept speed-walking through the store and my mind started racing, thumbing through all of our available options at taking out a loan on a Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia when we were presented with a $65, 900 bill for damages.
An old man emerged from a cavern of gaudy lamps and followed Chooch, who was now standing at the foot of a staircase. “You don’t go up there without your mother,” the man growled and Chooch knew he was fucked. So then there was this awkward stand-off, where Henry and I were begging Chooch to turn around and come back, while the old man stood there glaring at us, and poor Terri was kind of just caught in the middle of it all and I kept hoping that maybe the man thought Terri was Chooch’s mom. I kept saying, “PLEASE GO OUTSIDE WITH DADDY” and Chooch, who was suddenly uber interested in chandeliers that would give Liberace’s interior designer a boner that no prescription of Viagra is capable of, just kept standing there in a swirl of vintage must. I was braced for A Scene (like, even more than we were already in the middle of), but Henry finally coaxed Chooch out of the store and I was able to breathe again, which wasn’t necessarily a good thing because OMG the dust.
Even with Chooch out of the store, Terri and I were already marked. I felt that man’s angry eyes on us the entire time we expressed genuine appreciation at the haunted clocks and sconces, and I really wanted to go upstairs because I’m certain we would have unearthed The Neverending Story book. But I was pretty anxious to get away from the proprietor. When we reached the back of the store, Terri and I both nearly knocked shit over trying to turn back around. A fucking waif would have had to walk sideways in that shop.
On the way out, I tried to tell the man that I thought everything was beautiful, but I don’t think he accepted my compliment. Something about his angry, milky eyeballs just screamed, “Go back to Target, peasant.” Meanwhile, some lady was behind the counter on a personal call, laughing so hard that Terri thought she was crying, and then she referred to someone as a fucking shit, and there was just something about her that made the whole experience even creepier. I hate/love that shop so much.
It was pretty late in the afternoon by this point, so we took Terri and Christian back home, and then checked into our hotel, where I had about an hour or so to rest before the Circa Survive show, because that’s what happens when you’re 35, I guess — it’s now necessary to “rest” before a show.