There is a band that lives down the street from me called Auto Passion. I used to think it was Audio Passion and I would walk by and shout “how is Audio Passion doing?” They never corrected me.
They are great musicians. The reason I know this is because they play a type of music that I don’t like (probably because I’m too old) and I still think they rock. They have the look too, they are perilously skinny and look like they never shave, although their beards never get to the Chris Robinson during the Kate Hudson days stage. (Robinson is proof that if you rock your ass off you’ll get the hotties no matter how much you look like Tom Hanks in the second half of Castaway).
These guys have the rock band thing down to a tee, but not in any kind of contrived way. They just seem to have been born to it, like I’m born to knocking my elbows on kitchen counters and swearing out loud. They lurch around the yard and smoke a lot. Their recycling bin (yep, I look) has empty 40oz PBR cans and burgundy bottles in it every Tuesday morning. They own an old Econoline, and when they drive by they hunch forward and glare down my street. If they ever see me they wave, but in a glowering, moody kind of way.
Every so often, when the weather is fair, Auto Passion comes out to play football in the street. They don’t really organize a game or anything; they just toss the football around and smoke. Sometimes one of them will have a beer loosely held in his hand while he tries a one hand catch.
I love it when they come out because they suck so badly. Not one of them can throw or catch. They run like they are from The Ministry of Silly Runs, really low to the ground, as if they stretched out any longer their back leg might break off. I sit on my porch and watch this and laugh. Sometimes they see me and they laugh as well; they know they suck as well as I do.
It seems to be a rite for them. I imagine their dark cave-like practice-room all filled with Pall Mall smoke and rank with stale beer. This may not be the case at all, but this is what I imagine. I feel like this football ritual is a way for them to air out a little, not just the football but themselves. As they slink around and hoot when someone hits a parked car, they change into kids screwing around, their talent for music uniquely balanced by their ineptitude for organized sports.
They are part of my neighborhood, and if they move I’ll kind of be disappointed. They have been around for about two years and they add a grimy neo-southern gothic element to my working-class neighborhood, which is in transition but thankfully (at least I hope) not leaning towards gentrification. I wonder if they ever hear me play drums—their drummer is awesome—and they may laugh as I laugh at them and their football shenanigans. I kind of hope they do.