Friday, November 27, 2009
I finish loading up my car, my gear bag, and my backpack. A road atlas, my laptop and a booklet of every CD I own. It is a warm afternoon; fresh out of the gym I reside comfortably in sweatpants and a loose t-shirt. Perfect road trip attire, seatbelt rests uncomfortably across my shoulder, I sit alone in my car, reflecting for a moment. Sixteen hours to Philadelphia, Dragon gate USA, the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m used to tackling the road with companions, fellow wrestlers, to share the cost and split the driving. This is my first solo journey of such an epic proportion, I feel like I’m departing into the woods without food or water, to not return to my village until I see a vision of our forefathers. Only not like that at all. Needless to say I’m excited, this is something I feel I need to do alone. I drive confidently onto I-44 west merging onto I-55 north and finally onto Interstate-70 east, towards Indianapolis. Listening to: Come as you are, Nirvana
Almost two hours in. I look into my rearview mirror; a beautiful orange and red sunset merges into the dark abyss of nightfall. I try to snap a picture as I almost swerve over the median. I am full of energy and valiantly sing alone full heartedly to every song that passes through my speakers. Stomach grumbles and I pull over for Subway and to fuel my car with gas. First pit stop, so exciting! Listening to: I go blind, 54 40
One thing about a solo road trip, or even a substantial amount of time alone with one’s thoughts creates an environment of self-reflection and an array of various thoughts. I begin thinking about my entire existence, the solar and planetary alignment, and the smell of freshly cut grass. Another deep sip from my gallon jug of water and a sharp pain emerges from my lower abdomen. I gotta pee, NOW. I have no idea when the next exit is, but it can’t be long. I hate pulling over on the side of the highway to take a leak, 18 wheel semi trucks scare me, especially when passing at ridiculous speeds within several feet when I have my dick in my hands. I’ll wait, painfully, until the next exit. I find a ‘Pilot’ which is possibly the best gas station chain ever. They have everything one could ever want for the road; the best protein bars and energy drink selection, and most importantly a washroom. OH, by the way, how come whenever I ask an American where the “washroom” is they look at me funny. “You mean the bathroom?” they obnoxiously reply. Listen fucker, I don’t see a bath in there, I see some wet floor, a broken stall carved with profanities, and some stinky urinals, no bath. I wash myself after I pee, hence ‘washroom’. Back on the road, 100 miles from Indy. Listening to: All about you, Tupac
It’s actually only 8:17 pm. I’ve switched over to the Eastern Time zone. Lost an hour, where the hell did it go? “Where is my mind?” I ask myself. Here I am, driving by myself to Philadelphia. Why do I do these things? Why have I gotten myself into this unknown situation? This entire journey from September onward has been a struggle. Why did I leave my job, family and friends for a steering wheel and headlights on the highway? This is the life I’ve always wanted I tell myself. Listening to: Where is my mind, Pixies
I pull into a gas station to stretch my legs. Emerging from my car I yawn and arch my back, rotating my head and rubbing my eyes. I walk into the gas station to walk and look around. A young man no older than 18 exits with his family as I enter the store, he looks younger than 18. I only assume his age at seeing his skinny arms emerging from a camouflage t-shirt, complete with camo pants and army boots. His shaved head glistens in the moonlight as his family enter their vehicle and drive off. Thanksgiving weekend brings one family together despite war ripping other families apart. Doe’s it strike you as odd that a boy, is unable to legally drink a beer in the country he is defending, yet will be encouraged to take a gun and die for the sins of his own government? ‘Soldier boy made of clay, now an empty shell’. I fully understand and am aware that joining the National Guard is a very admirable and respectable thing to do. For hundreds of years, boys younger than the legal age have volunteered to fight overseas. I am not an expert on the subject, but I consider those wars to be just. The war in Iraq has been based off of lies and innocent civilians and soldiers continue to die every day, he is another poor man fighting a rich man’s war. I sigh and continue entering the store. Suddenly I feel fortunate and free, I guess its people like him that through time have provided us with a sense of freedom. How free are we really? Listening to: Disposable heroes, Metallica
I am entering the city limit of Columbus, Ohio. A beautiful city skyline emerges from the side of the road, and I admire the city lights, turning my attention away from my appetite. I am friggen’ hungry. I suddenly witness a glorious sight to behold, like a mirage seen in a desert, teasing a watery oasis to the weary traveler. An exit sign that states what restaurants are to be found at the next exit, claims a Tim Horton’s is at the next exit. Tim Horton’s. Tim Horton’s. Mother of god and all that is holy, I haven’t seen that glorious calligraphy red logo in 3 months. I cut off a tractor-trailer and make a speedy escape for the exit, a smile on my face is extravagant and I began to laugh out loud to myself. I can already taste the delicious ham and Swiss sandwich, maple dip doughnut (bad boy) and the sweetest of coffesta’s, that’s 2 parts coffee, 1 part fiesta. Pulling into the parking lot and a skidding stop I hop out of my car and jolt to the front do….. OH FUCK ME! It’s closed. Tim Horton’s is closed at 11:20 pm in Columbus, Ohio, USA. Where doe’s one begin with how much is wrong with that sentence. First and foremost I thought Timmy Ho’s was exclusive to Canada, and furthermore why the shit is it not 24 hours. I tug on the door to be sure, locked. The Mexican janitor lady inside is moping and looks at me shaking her head. I give her the middle finger and get back in my car, horrifically disappointed. Listening to: Monster Hospital, Metric
I find a Ruby Tuesday restaurant and make last call for food. Although I’m still saddened about the Tim Horton’s fiasco, Ruby Tuesday is still delicious. I order the Bison Burger with broccoli and I get the salad bar. Mmm, satisfying. I pay and leave, extremely full and eager to get back on the road and gain more ground. Listening to: Jealous again, The Black crowes
As I am about to merge back onto the highway I see another sign for Tim Horton’s, a gut instinct drives me to the location. The lights are on. It’s open! I’m instantly so happy again! But I’m full I remind myself, a large coffesta it must be. Pulling into the drive thru lane, I place my order and hear an unfamiliar voice that is usually depicted with the Tim Horton’s image. I arrive at the window, smiling ear to ear, $ 1.65 for an extra large ‘festa is a helluva deal by the way. $ 2.19 for a venti at Starbucks is getting old really fast. A large black woman hands me the coffee, and I ask her to take my picture. The coffee smells soo good. Listening to: Kids, MGMT
‘Festa finished, I’m delightedly wired. Listening to: Sex and Candy, Marcy playground
I begin to wish I had a road trip companion. Just to take a break from driving, I’m getting really bored and the highway begins to blur in between substantially long blinks. Traveling with Tony has proven to be a much enjoyed experience. But overall just having someone to trade shifts with and keep you awake makes a huge difference.
A One-Act Play
TONY and KYLE up early for the start of a long weekend of wrestling and driving. Knoxville, Tennessee and Crystal River, Florida. Both are tired from a late night prior and not much is being said. Both characters are in a rental car, TONY driving.
TONY: Well shit, I need a ‘festa if we’re gunna get this party going.
KYLE: Yeah, stop at that Starbuckle’s.
Both lazily mumble and walk into Starbucks for coffee. Rainy outside. Tony walks into line followed by Kyle. Tony rubbing his eyes, Kyle yawning.
TONY: I’ll have a Grande coffee please.
BARISTA: That’ll be $2.02, room for cream?
Tony, blushing, nods casually. Takes his coffee as Kyle steps up in line.
KYLE: I’ll have a grande ‘festa.
BARISTA: Pardon me?
KYLE: Er.. I’ll have a coffest.. a COFFEE.
Tony hardly containing his laughter walks to the sugar stand. Kyle pays and joins him. Tony now laughing and jumping up and down, subtly.
KYLE: Jesus Christmas, I don’t even know what I’m saying.
TONY: You asked for a FESTA! More laughing. Ah man, she was hotter than hell, I almost puked when I saw her.
Kyle confused look on his face, looks back at the barista. Definitely Tony’s type.
KYLE: We’re only a half hour into this bullshit and we’re already losing our minds.
End of act 1
I chuckle to myself at the random shenanigans of being on the road with Tony Kozina. Listening to: Anemia, Tool
After stopping for another energy drink and a violent long awaited urination session, I seem to have caught my second wind. I begin to wish a camera were documenting me for a self-reality show. The effort I am putting into my head movements and singing and steering wheel dancing is getting to the point of insanity. I am starting to believe I am some sort of hummingbird. I begin to wonder where some of these songs came from that are on my Ipod, hooked up to my stereo. And furthermore, how do I know the lyrics? Listening to: Like a prayer, Madonna
Pennsylvania turnpike, tolled highway. It begins to snow; my window has been wide open for the majority of the trip. I find the fresh air revitalizing and it seems to waft away the offensive smell my body has created sitting in this car for the better part of 10 hours. The snow falls silently across the highway and peacefully creates a sense of calm. It is almost hypnotizing. I begin to realize that it might be wise that I find a place to crash for the night. Something about snow makes me want to curl up in a warm blanket and dream about a cure for diabetes. Listening to: Call it off, Tegan and Sara
I pull off at an exit and see an array of hotels and motels. I stop at a gas station and ask for the WASHroom. I am informed it is out of order and I grow angry again. I walk outside and take a refreshing leak on the side of the gas station. Pissing in the snow might be the most relaxing experience imaginable; I guess at this point anything is ridiculously relaxing. Out of my choice of hotels I naturally decide on “The Budget Inn” something about the name captured my attention. After spending 6 minutes trying to find the entrance and Indian man finally comes out and angrily tells me to get inside. Why are you angry Indian man? Don’t you understand that your accent makes your anger incredibly comical? I purchase a room at the backbreaking cost of $50. Ouch I says. Room 106. Listening to: Interstate love song, Stone temple pilots
Finally curled up in a cold, rock hard bed. The name ‘Budget inn’ now rings clear, but why was it anything but a budget? If I ran the Budget inn, I’d pay YOU to stay there. Why are there two beds in my room? I’m finding it hard to fall asleep, but eventually I am succumbed to the comfort of a pillow and blanket. Listening to: Snow falling softly and a rackety old heater.
A wakeup call, which I requested, rings loudly in my ear from the phone beside the bed. I punch the phone across the room.
I wake up on my own accord. Looking around and realizing that I need to get moving. A quick shower, brushing of my teeth and an enjoyable bounce on the bed and I’m out the door. It’s friggen’ freezing outside. I fill the car with gas and pay at the register. This gentleman, maybe about mid 30’s asks the clerk for rolling papers. She informs him that they don’t have any. I see a vein bulge on this guys forehead and he storms out of the gas station. As I’m leaving I see him in his car with his wife and toddler in the backseat. He’s yelling, and swearing loudly, speeding off. This angered me greatly. Calm down buddy, you have your daughter in the backseat and your wife in the front. Treat them with respect and calm the hell down; it’s not the end of the world. Suddenly I realize how angry and worked up I am about this guy and take a deep breathe, maybe I should take my own advice. Listening to: Jesus of Suburbia, Green Day
To find the Denny’s. First one must exit the tolled highway and pay $5.15 to do so. Left turn and a right turn. Enter a new state. Follow the unmarked taxi to the intersection of 7th an seventh with a cloaked man on the street corner, wink at him thrice, he’ll point to a window 10 stories up, suspended by nothing, floating there, one must enter the window while humming the intro to “golden girls” and thou will find themselves at Denny’s, tip well. This bullshit Denny’s took forever to find and tasted horrible, my morning is not going well thus far. Listening to: A day in the life, Beatles
I finally see the familiar skyline of the city of brotherly love. Philadelphia, I have returned. I head to the Sheraton by the airport to meet up with Davey and head to the show. Listening to: Feeling this, Blink 182
I pull in once again to the famed ECW arena, in South Philly. It is grungy and dark, moist and weathered. I love it. I walk up the back steps and enter the backstage area. Butterflies in my stomach migrate to life and the greatest anticipation overwhelms me. I introduce myself to my opponent, as well as the other wrestlers on the card, I am hesitant to walk up to the Japanese talent and introduce myself, they are intimidating. Of course I do regardless. Listening to: Champagne supernova, Oasis
I am dressed in full gear, jumping up and down, shadowboxing, and stretching dynamically. I do a jiu-jitsu warm-up exercise, which simulates attacking for a triangle choke while lying on my back, the cement is cold on my back, yet soothing. An agent runs down the ‘Paul Heyman’ stairs, which I have dubbed as such. He asks for my music. Why am I always so unprepared? I run to my bag and grab a random CD, not entirely sure what is on it. I tell him to play the last track on the CD, thinking that it is Nirvana’s ‘You know you’re right’. I go back to warming up. I am more nervous than I have ever been before wrestling, yet extremely confident and prepared. I did not drive 16 hours to choke.
A familiar beat begins to roar over the loud speakers. Soon a flute and bagpipe combo chimes in. A smile emerges on my face; my former theme song has made its return. A song that over the last 3 years I have grown to immensely sick of that when turning heel I was so thankful to finally change my entrance music. I was wrong about the CD. The crowd begins to cheer and clap along with the beat, exactly as they did in ECCW. I have never been so happy to hear this song, and I know that this is my new home, my wrestling domain, and my creed. Listening to: I’m shipping up to Boston, Dropkick Murpheys
Panting and sweating I exit the ring heading backstage. The crowd is deafening and patting me on the back. I hear one cat say “YEAH, now THAT is how you do a FUCKING brainbuster!” I am pleased with my match as well as the fans and especially the promoter, who congratulates me as I enter back through the curtain. 5 minutes. 16 hours for 5 minutes in the ring. A fair trade off I decide, a trip well worth it. I am over in Philly, and I’ll be back for more. Listening to: Chants of “Dragon gate, Dragon gate!” 600 wrestling fans
We return to the hotel after an exhausting evening and a visit to the delicious Oregon diner. I had an omelet, of course. My legs are in excruciating pain, cramps from the road and wear and tear from the ring. I curl up fully clothed on the bed and shut my eyes. Listening to: The TV news talking about Tiger Wood’s car accident. Some jackoff (does anybody know what happened by the way, I don’t have cable and haven’t kept up with it?)
Davey is shaking me to wake up, I have to drive him and the young bucks to the airport, and get a start on the final leg of my journey. We grab a quick breakfast and are blessed with terrible service, yet again. Why do we keep going back to Denny’s? After dropping them off at the airport I take my car back on I-70 west and towards the Pennsylvania turnpike. Listening to: The Trooper, Iron Maiden
5: 59 am
I stop for gas at a service station along the turnpike. These 3 Iranian men working the back counter explain that it will be 5 minutes before I can purchase gas. I am not in the mood to wonder why, as I watch them begin to cash out and changeover for the next day. Isn’t this supposed to be done before midnight? After 23 minutes of agonizing impatience on my behalf they finally are up and running. THE most inefficient work ethic and processing of customer service I have ever dealt with. Plethoras of other people are lined up behind me just as pissed off. I pay fill up my tank and continue. I’m so irritable on this trip eh? Listening to: Innocent, Our Lady Peace
My eyes are growing obscenely heavy and I begin to nod. 13 miles until the next service station. I will have to wait a few minutes, I struggle to stay awake and put on some loud hot licks to keep me up. Listening to: Hawt Lixx, Daggermouth
I awake in the front seat of my car. Such a satisfying snooze and I even have slumber lumber to prove to myself how relaxed I actually got. I wait a couple minutes then stand up to stretch out. Walking into the service centre and am blown away at how packed it is. Families everywhere, kids running and screaming, the elderly saying their “How dos you dos”. I realize that thanksgiving weekend has a plethora of people out on the road to visit there loved one’s. I am swamped with holiday traffic for the rest of my trip. I grumpily wait in line 12 minutes and grab a coffesta and back on the road. Getting impatient, I just wanna get home to my bed. Listening to: Goodbye yellow brick road, Elton John
My sleep-deprived state has driven me into completely the wrong direction. I missed my exit some 100 miles back. And reflecting now upon this incident, it came out a lot easier in type. I first started noticing the wrong signs then realized I was in gridlock traffic to enter another tolled highway which I was forced to enter and then pay to exit and back track a huge distance while trying to look at my Atlas to realize what’s going on. Listening to: Fuck, Shits, Ass, more swear words, Kyle Greenwood
Finally back on track when I notice a disgusting image. In the blue sky over head I see the largest mass amount of chemtrails I have seen in my life. Now most people just disregard these as simple contrails left from a jet liner. Contrails aren’t sprayed in a criss-cross fashion; they also don’t expand and become thicker and denser. I fully believe this is a government project in which some sort of experiment is going on. There are tons of theories on chemtrails and I wont get into it now, but I fully suggest you Google ‘Chemtrails’ and see and decide for yourself. I really am going insane right? I look in the mirror and nod at myself and do a silly face. Why did I just do that? Listening to: Endgame, Megadeth
Seeing the chemtrails got me in a weird mind space and I begin to think of government cover-ups. I recall a billboard that I saw while driving through Georgia on my way back from Florida the previous weekend. A huge billboard along the highway demands “Wake up America!” alongside a picture of the smoking twin towers of September 11th. “Profiling could have prevented this terrorist attack”
What?! Did I actually just read that? “Profiling could have prevented this terrorist attack” This statement basically blames Americans for not being racist enough and puts the blood on their hands for September 11th on them. Disgusting. Only in the South I reckon’. Listening to: These Days, Nico
I think about what I was fortunate enough to witness last night. Dragon kid and Shingo vs Naruki Doi and Masato Yoshino was probably the best tag team match I have ever seen. It was badass, these guys ripped shit up for 20 minutes of non stop action. It was literally mind blowing, and makes me realize that Dragon Gate truly is the premier wrestling promotion in Japan. The fact that they have been successful enough to cross overseas and open up an offshoot promotion in the US says a lot about their success. I’m glad and honored to be apart of such a prestigious organization. Listening to: Hey you, Pink Floyd
I pull into a rest stop alongside a large amount of family vehicles. I get out of my car and begin cartwheeling for about 1-2 minutes. I get back into my car and drive off watching the confused looks on people’s faces in my rear view mirror. Feeling random and looking for a rush to keep me awake. Listening to: Can’t stop, Red hot chili peppers
Super hungry I pull into a “Waffle House” to eat and hopefully have myself some waffles and ‘festa. This place is disgusting and looks like a gas station bathroom. The food was greasy and undercooked, imagine if the “W” on the sign outside was burnt out and you have my opinion of “Waffle house”. Listening to: Officer, Slightly stooped
I finally pull back into my apartment complex relieved that this journey has finally come to an end. Much like this blog it has drawn on far too long. I sit on my car for a minute, proud of myself. Not a lot of people would be willing to do what I just did, or so I assume. I wrestled for Dragon gate USA and I am damn proud of that fact. Nobody can take that away from me, and nobody can say that I never work hard for something or that I am undeserving. I’m glad I made it on my own. Listening to: Sometimes you can’t make it on your own, U2
My alarm rings and I get ready for work. Really wish I had the day off today, I could have used the sleep in. I drive to my boss’s house, which he requested for some “extra help” around the yard. I arrive to find out I’m digging him a pool. Who installs an in-ground fucking pool in December?! Turns out I’m quite the digger, but that’s discrimination, my people prefer to be called degroes. I honestly think I may have been a World War 1 soldier in a past life, because I’m busting out badass trenches like nobody’s business. I am now a pool boy extraordinaire. I return home and turn on my computer to begin this very blog, I instantly crash and stumble to bed. Sleepy boy.
At the end of it all I am fully satisfied with how the trip turned out. To be honest, it was easy; I did and will do it again. I don’t have many bookings until the New Year. I’ll be in Chicago December 5th for ROH but then a much-deserved break. Looking forward to the holiday season’s sights and sounds and smells. 8 energy drinks, 7 large coffees, 1772 miles, 5 minutes. Evolving soon. K
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