Written by Jonathan Aryeh Wayne, April 12, 2017
The Bearded Trinity were we, off on a roadtrip to Philly. Behind my back, the one called the Bearded Motormouth provided ample dialogue at high decibels. Beside me at the wheel sat the Bearded Motorist racing down the turnpike. And then there was I, the Bearded Neurotic, emoting about the pyramid shaped hills of Central Pennsylvania. What did I get myself into on this fair afternoon somewhere between Breezewood and Blue Mountain? Just fifteen hours earlier, I sat sipping ice water at a bar when the Bearded Motorist turned his head 45 degrees towards me and proposed that I ought to join him on a road trip to Philadelphia to see a concert featuring a Danish songwriter. Somehow, not far away at this same table at the bar, the Bearded Motormouth overheard the Bearded Motorist’s offer and unsurprisingly offered to join us for the adventure. I was glad this roadtrip would become a trinity, as divinity was not enough for a duo. Time was not of a concern for any of us, at least for the following 3 days. Perhaps this valuable “free time” that many human beings covet is compromised for their strong work ethic and rigid jobs. Yet, what good is working one’s life away, never experiencing spontaneous adventures, never exploring new lands and people, never capturing joys and thrills that would otherwise be imagined or even worse, viewed on a television screen? No, we were the Bearded Trinity, and on a mission to Philly. There were murmurings of visiting the town of Lancaster as well, and eating some fresh Amish meat and dairy. There were also discussions of sweating profusely at a Russian & Turkish Bathhouse as well.
Fifteen hours later, I wanted to propel my front seat back and crush the Bearded Motormouth’s skull because he wouldn’t shut up. Even worse, the man’s voice was so loud, I could feel my eardrums slowly liquifying in my ear canal and my brain turning to vanilla pudding as my headache worsened. When that magical moment came, the Bearded Motorist kindly asked the Bearded Motormouth to lower his voice, and I later found myself smiling with contentment in the back seat. My irritability had not completely dissipated yet however, as I was trying to find an Airbnb rental for both the Bearded Motorist and I to stay at tonight in the big shitty of Philly. As I was frantically swiping around my screen pushing icons and links on my mobile phone, the Bearded Motormouth spoke of his escapades in India, meeting beautiful women in foreign countries and being heartbroken by a few of them too. As the sun was setting, both the Bearded Motormouth and I were competing with our navigation skills to help the Bearded Motorist navigate the automobile we were sitting in for the past 5 hours.
“I felt a little hairy lump in my belly as I watched a pair of suspicious clean-cut, bald men walk out through the front door. I was ready to go to war with Russia now.”
The next day, I found myself in yet another record shop somewhere in West Philadelphia with the Bearded Motorist, as he was thumbing through hundreds of vinyl records. The record shop owner was a curmudgeon, barely communicative and definitely not open to questions. We were awaiting for the Bearded Motormouth to arrive so we could walk next door to have our brunch at a popular breakfast diner. It was starting to get hairy at this point. I sometimes wondered if our facial growths were partly due to the Winter season or the fact that we were part of a lazy new trend of 21st century bearded men. I also wondered how maple syrup and strawberry jam didn’t fossilize deep down in our mushrooming manes. While pondering how unhealthy this diner food was, I nearly forgot about my own neurotic little beard, as we were soon about to experience for the first time, a Russian & Turkish Bathhouse later that evening. Both the Bearded Motormouth and I had never actually been to a Russian & Turkish Bathhouse, so this was going to be a new experience for either of us. The Bearded Motorist wasted no time however, in driving us to our destination. Upon parking, I felt a little hairy lump in my belly as I watched a pair of suspicious clean-cut, bald men walk out through the front door. I was ready to go to war with Russia now. The Bearded Motormouth grabbed the bottle of Jack Daniels and the three of us hobbled through the front door. The Bearded Motorist didn’t waste a moment, and within 2 minutes and 35 seconds, was in his white bath robe, flip flops and swimming trunks. The Bearded Motormouth and I were at this point extremely discombobulated. Were we about to seriously embarrass ourselves in front of a crowd of some old Russian guys staring at us from a table beside the indoor swimming pool before we entered a 160 degree sauna and have our backs whipped with oak leaf branches while some more old Russian guys laughed behind our backs?
We couldn’t keep up with the Bearded Motorist, as he was still in highway mode, careening around the mens locker room looking for a spare towel. He was probably going about 90 when he was really supposed to go about 55 mph. The Bearded Motorist was a blur to us, and we didn’t know what to do with him at this point. Finally, we found him in the steam room but couldn’t quite visualize the Bearded Motorist through the thick vaporous cloud. We heard his voice and it sounded like he had found his happy place. Moments earlier, a small group of children stopped us in our tracks and laughed when they saw the Bearded Motormouth’s hands clutching that bottle of whiskey he had brought with him. We had gone too far now, breaking the rules of the Russian & Turkish Bathhouse, by bringing a glass container into one of the 3 saunas. Yet, after a few more hours of sweating and shivering, we befriended a couple from Harrisburg. They liked our energies and bought us a round of “kvasses”, otherwise known as traditional Slavic and Baltic fermented beverages commonly made from rye bread. Before we knew it, we were being served Greek salads with chopped feta cheese, vinegary white onion dishes and slivered carrots with poppy seeds. Later that evening, we were presented with the medal of endurance from the owners of the Russian & Turkish Bathhouse, for successfully spending at least 45 minutes in each of the different saunas. We also were given three Russian banya floppy hats, complimentary passes to at least a dozen other nationwide Russian & Turkish bathhouses as well as a sealed glass bottle of human sweat as a keepsake gift, that we were told would look quite nicely in between framed family portraits. We were now officially heroes of the Russian & Turkish Bathhouse establishment!
“I neurotically pressed my left ear against the wall adjacent to the neighboring room where the Bearded Motorist and Bearded Motormouth were sharing. I didn’t hear snoring but I could only wonder what was going on in there.”
Later that evening, it was just the Bearded Motorist and I, sitting in the front seat cursing out the Bearded Motormouth who was negotiating with a hotel desk clerk at 2 in the morning about 3 miles outside of Lancaster. “What the hell is taking so long! What the fuck is that guy talking about?” uttered the Bearded Motorist, just before I promptly opened the car door and walked right into that desolate little lobby of one of the three Red Roof Inns within 5 miles of each other. Lo and behold, the Bearded Motormouth was having an epic conversation with the front desk clerk who just happened to be a bearded man from India. The fellow bearded man slashed $40 off both rooms, thanking the Bearded Motormouth for bringing back memories and discovering his soul brother from another mother. Later, around 3:30 am, I neurotically pressed my left ear against the wall adjacent to the neighboring room where the Bearded Motorist and Bearded Motormouth were sharing. I didn’t hear snoring but I could only wonder what was going on in there.
After a tasteful night sleep, our final day was about to begin in sunny & cold Lancaster, Pennsylvania. We took our hairy selves & made our way into the city proper, which turned out to be a much more hip and artsy town than we’d ever expected. I had previously imagined Lancaster to resemble sprawling Amish farms with only Amish people riding in horse & carriage. I had previously imagined a city of only men and boys wearing black suits, straight-cut coats without lapels, broadfall trousers, suspenders, solid-colored shirts, black socks and shoes, and black or straw broad-brimmed hats. I had previously imagined a city of women wearing solid-colored calf-length plain-cut dresses, aprons, and bonnets or plain caps. Yet, this was a town teeming with art galleries, indie boutiques and restaurants, record shops, nightclubs and bars. We overheard a car blasting an old pop song that went: “You’re motoring, what’s your price for flight, in finding mister right, you’ll be alright tonight.” The Bearded Motorist, Motormouth and I the Neurotic shut our mouths, donned our walking shoes and went motoring on foot throughout the streets of Lancaster that day. After leaving the Bearded Motorist in an Italian bakery by himself while he finished off a large cannoli to refill his tank, the Bearded Motormouth and I went on a jaunt. Suddenly, we overheard some loud rock music while walking by a storefront. The Bearded Motormouth sprinted into a back alleyway and opened a side entrance to what appeared to be a concert night club. I rapidly tried to catch up with him. We saw two security guards staring right back at us. They were probably wondering who the hell these two shady looking characters dressed in black were, one of which was wearing sunglasses and holding a large camera with a monopod hanging off his shoulders. Our excessive facial hair couldn’t divert their attention away from the fact that we had accidentally trespassed backstage where a national metalcore band was rehearsing for their concert later that evening. We were told to “get out immediately” and that we weren’t allowed to be there. Naturally, those words bounced off the Motormouth’s ears immediately and we stood our ground. Then a third man with a massive beard that stretched down to his naval walked into the room, took one look at us and said out loud: “Hey, are you guys the band photographers for tonight’s show?” We nodded our heads nervously and said yes. Before we knew it, we were escorted into the green room where we could prepare for our photo shoot. We even asked if our roadie for the photo crew, the Bearded Motorist, could park his car outside the venue. Were we out of our minds? We couldn’t believe our own audacity for concocting up this yarn. Our powerful whiskers had gotten us to a point where not many men have gone before. What could we now do to get out of this adventurous debacle of ours? Suddenly, the door slammed open and the two original security guards who were previously unhappy with our original appearance now looked like they were about to kill us with the band’s guitars and drum sticks. The Bearded Motormouth and I couldn’t talk our way out of this one, so we ran out through an exit door, into a narrow hallway, and back out through the side entrance. As the metalcore security guards chased us, we saw the Bearded Motorist pull up his car just in the nick of time and the three of us escaped unharmed! We thanked the beard gods for our protection. We were the bearded trinity and on an adventure to infinity.