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  • Writer's pictureThe Rough & Tumble

Nobody Even Knows We Are Out Here!

The wind slammed the the camper door shut behind him.

"And the wind was so blustery that the turtle doves took shelter on the ground beneath the pines and you couldn't pick up a dog turd with a plastic sack," Scott said in a Tom Waits voice. The effect was on the nose, mostly due to Scott's incessant practicing of his Tom Waits voice.

And this is how we were welcomed to Maine.

We hit nearly every part of Vermont, and while we loved it's rolling green fields and red barns and well advertised cheeses and maple syrups, the last week had been more trying than this little folk band anticipated. One night we played to an audience of one bartender. Another night we played to an audience of two, munching down their burritos and asking us what we were doing there. We were jeered at by hipsters and heckled by college kids and then ended up still underpaid but also with food poisoning (baconed again). One night we played in the corner stage where all the lights had gone out, and no one saw fit to fix them, so we strummed our saddest songs in the darkest space in the room while the rest of the bar sequestered themselves on the opposite side, quieting only when the music quieted and playing heavy metal during our set breaks.

"What are we even doing out here?!" Mallory yelled to Scott as they woke up after a 3AM bedtime in a dank room where they weren't allowed to take showers due to a city violation. "Why are we even posting anything about our show tonight? No one even knows we are here! No one in all of Vermont is going to go to their computer and check and see if The Rough & Tumble are coming to play their sad songs and tell their hilarious jokes in a bar near them!" And at this, the little folk band fell into a fit of laughter.

We are crazy people. We are artists. We are unsure of what else to do. So we laugh and laugh and hope it'll get better. We gathered our things and headed south again to clean our camper we left in a grocery store lot and meet some kind friends for dinner where we vented and laughed some more of the ragtag week we had (thanks for listening, Andrew and Kira... and for dinner).

In a little town called Winooski, we bit our lips and set up our instruments in an empty bar and worried ourselves nearly to tears that we just might not make it if we play another lonely show to another pitying bartender. We consoled ourselves that we would at least play to our two friends. And then an amazing thing happened: people came. They had seen our fliers and read our Facebook post. And John brought Butter dog treats and told us how he had watched all of our videos and wanted everyone else to know about us. And we stepped on the stage for the first time all week with a ready audience. And we extended our set list with the songs we practiced at our empty room shows.

And now we are recuperating here, in Maine.

We've made all of our bills for the time being and had the tiniest bit to spare, so we planted ourselves in a campground just outside Portland to offset the growing weariness of our usual Walmart parking lot.

​​We cooked ourselves up these glorious Vermont delicacies knows as fiddleheads-- sort of like the veal of ferns. They taste like asparagus and spinach and brought tears to our eyes that we discovered something new, still, after all of this traveling. We are writing in our journals and got up early to see the sun rise on the Atlantic Ocean. We are catching up on sleep and Daredevil and recharging our literal battery (the camper had been dead since the food poisoning incident).

And we accept that we are crazy people who sometimes cry in Walmart parking lots because things are hard and we wish we could be taking shelter beneath the pines instead of being artists.

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