Things are a bit different on this tour.
For one, I’m surrounded by men. Now, don’t get me wrong… I am thoroughly enjoying that aspect of this tour. And there are women out here… I’m on Natalie Grant‘s bus after all… along with her hubby Bernie and two twin girls, Bella and Gracie. Can you say adorable? All 4 of them. And not to forget sweet Sarah, the Nanny. But also on the bus with us is Michael English, Bruce the violinist, Mike Jay the Artist Manager, Jesse the Merch Guy, and Jeffrey my World Vision pal (pictured w/me below). The one other girl on my bus is my new friend Tiffany Thurston. That’s her over there to the right. She’s adorable too… and 3 shades of cool. She’s Hawaiian and has a middle name that takes 4 minutes to say. She has a wicked laugh, a servant’s heart, a beautiful voice and clothes I want to borrow. She’s a keeper. And she also lives in Nashville now… so I’m looking forward to some quality hang time after this season winds down.
This tour has 7 buses, 3 trucks and 90 people. Casting Crowns, Natalie Grant, Avalon, Michael English, Denver & the Mile High Band, PureNRG, along with dancers, orchestra and a house band. It’s a pretty big ordeal. And it’s been awhile since I’ve done a bus tour with bands, crew, riggers, merch guys, techs, production guys, etc… it’s been awhile since my world was made up mostly of men (as opposed to being around 15,000 women at WOF). And I realized this week that I’ve missed it… mostly.
So you know me and my passion for lists. Here’s my Top 10 list of things I love (or at least am amused by) about being in a man’s world… inspired by the guys I’ve been traveling, eating, working and pretty much living with these last 10 days.
- Instant Comradeship. Little or no awkwardness when meeting for the first time. They’re instantly bonded just by the mere fact that they are men. Chest bumps & choke-holds included.
- Sports. When their team is playing, no obstacle can keep a man from seeing the game. No Tivo on the road? No DVR? No problem. Just sign onto iChat, call home, have your assistant sign your home computer onto iChat, face the computer at the game… and voila! Watch your team via iChat while bumping down the road on a tour bus. Of course I won’t mention any names *cough*greglong*cough…
- Movie quotes. Seriously, how is it that they can remember every line from Billy Madison or Talladega Nights… but can’t remember where they left their phone, keys, hat, shoes, laptop, wallet, etc. An entire conversation can take place consisting only of movie lines… well that and the requisite bonding rituals of doubling over with laughter and the slapping of the backs.
- Disgusting stories. Again, an amazing gift these surly men have… of regaling tales that always seem to include any or all of the following: vomit, decapitation, dismemberment, bodily fluids or bodily functions gone wrong. I spent an hour last night listening to a very detailed (including visual aid) tale of one such brawny bus mate’s unfortunate incident involving a lawn mower and his big toe. Again, I won’t mention any names *cough*michaelenglish*cough….
- Gaming. These boys can make a game out of anything. And of course, that means competition. “Let’s see if we can roll these cans ALL the way down the arena steps!” “I can push my trunk faster than you… go!” “I bet you can’t set up your table as fast as I can!” “Wanna see if you can can eat more wings than me?” “I bet I can drink 3 Red Bulls before bed and still sleep.” (FYI – this one failed. Miserably). “I bet I can go more days without showering than you” (FYI – he won).
- Goofy. Yep. They are. And I adore it. I love that not much embarrasses these guys. Anything for a laugh is their constant mantra. And I’m a pretty good audience. I laugh til my sides ache and my eyes squirt tears. And it pretty much just eggs them on… to my delight. That’s Kevin with the apron on his head. My point exactly.
- Hygiene. Yeah, they really don’t care.
- Toys. Yes, Boys and their Toys. iPhones, iMacs, iWhatevers. Gearheads they are. They love their gadgets and gizmos and they love to tell you all about them. Admittedly, I am the weaker sex in this department. Probably because I don’t care. But I’m truly amazed at the genius of some of these guys and their ability to manipulate the latest techy device. Their innate knowledge of how this stuff works is mind-boggling. Sorry my eyes glazed over Bernie… I promise I was listening to how a digital audio file’s sound levels or electrical signal levels refers to the height of a waveform and how the reverb…. I’m sorry, what?
- Speaking of Brawny. It is amazing to me how much they try to muscle things. To use as much power as possible. Can’t just push one trunk… must push two at a time. Can’t make two trips, must carry all 12 boxes at one time. Must pile plate very high with food, even if I can’t eat it all. Never mind, I WILL eat it ALL. Must slam bus door, not just close it. Must add as many apps to my iPhone as possible. Must yell very loud at TV during football… even if they can’t hear me. Must body slam one another as primal greeting. Handshakes are for sissies.
- Chivalry. It isn’t dead. I promise. Even though these boys often treat me like one of the guys… challenging me to contests, telling me their disgusting stories while expecting me to enjoy them, and including me in on all their nincompooperies… regardless of all of that… they take care of me. They carry my heavy things. They let me sleep an extra 1/2 hour while they unload the truck. They grant me 2 full hours to find a shower and go make myself look like a girl. They indulge me when I want things to look just so. They surprise me with Starbucks. They hug me when they know I need it.
I love my boys on the road. And the girls. They’re all gifts… and what has made this difficult and tiring tour worth every moment. Thanks guys.