There is a condition that plagues some people who tour. Tegan and Sara have coined it “Expanding Disorder”. It’s not as rare as you might imagine. I had not been familiar with this condition before, but while on the road with Tegan and Sara – I confess, I have developed it. Expanding Disorder is when your belongings start to overflow into other people’s space. I realize now that Tegan and Sara make fun of you when symptoms of Expanding Disorder start to appear, as a way to encourage self-control; racked with shame you look for ways to hide your excess, you search for packing strategies in places that don’t exist and ultimately you realize your suitcase is smaller than you thought. So you buy more bags and fill them too and then to further shame you, they give you names like “bags n bags”, or in my case “bags n bags 2”. You know what? I don’t care. I have Expanding Disorder.
Expanding Disorder also seems to apply to the growing size of my body. I suppose you should expect that eating crepes, waffles, pastries, frites, ice cream, chocolate, cream, macarons, soda, and potato chips (to name but a few of the delectable treats I’ve eaten over the course of the past three weeks) could result in an increase in pant size (hence Expanding Disorder) but you’re always shocked when it happens. One day your clothes fit you and the next you’re buying pants with elastic waist bands and over sized dresses to compensate for the weight gain. I have come to hate everything I brought to wear on this trip and wish I could throw my clothes away. This becomes easier to consider when they no longer fit. When I packed for this trip I was certain I had under packed and had left lots of room for my souvenirs – namely the many key chains I seem to be collecting (though I’m not sure who I’m going to give them to and they seem to be multiplying at a disturbing rate). My thinking is – they don’t take up much room, and I can fit a lot of them into my bags.
I now realize Expanding Disorder is a condition that must be controlled. I was initially excited by the backstage rider. The possibilities for snacking are endless on the road. Hours of boredom can be easily filled with noshing on junk food, reading menus and planning your meals at the mercy of restaurant food that may or may not be healthy for you. The potential to destroy intestinal regularity on the road is almost a given. The threat of bowel issues is so great and the concern these painful bouts will strike on the bus while between venues (where #2’s are forbidden) is terrifying. Somehow you must rally against these urges to over-eat and it seems that as time has passed, the Tegan and Sara band and crew have found the way. There is support here on the road to resist these urges and it has become apparent to me over the course of the tour that the band and crew are immune to Expanding Disorder. While I’m wolfing down potato chips, they are doing yoga and are majestic in their plank positions. When I am slugging back coca cola, they are sipping bottled water. While I am off shopping for souvenirs, they are reading non-fiction, seeing movies, meditating, listening to podcasts and engaging in stimulating dialogue. They are my touring superheroes, although superheroes don’t have as much fun as I am having.
My time on the road is coming to an end. I’m not sure I can fit much more into my bags and clothing. Although I feel as though I have covered thousands of miles in the beautiful European cities I’ve been thrilled to explore (in my very ugly running shoes I plan to throw away as soon as I get home), I’m not sure I can afford another week of on the road shopping and eating. I have come to realize there is enormous self control required to live on the road. The possibilities of Expanding Disorder are endless and I cannot help but admire the steely determination of these intelligent, talented and “fit” people to make this job work and look good while doing it!
(I secretly believe this condition is genetic and not my fault. I have been told throughout my life I have the family “collecting gene” which may be the genetic mutation for Expanding Disorder. Just this morning I’ve started to wonder if they would notice if I hid some of my key chains in their guitar cases to make more space in my bags for shopping this week. Hmmmm – something to consider.)
19 days down – 4 to go. Wish me luck!!!!