16 March, 2009

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

I know ? it?s Monday, Monday, Monday today. I missed matching a Sunday event to a Sunday blog. But I didn?t want to cheat you of the Sunday story so better late than never huh?

I had a feeling Sunday would be the bust-out show of the weekend. A lot of people were talking about hitting Friday/Saturday and heading back home Sunday so they could be at work Monday morning. Hell, I had to be at work Monday morning and gave it brief thought but I had the tickets and I can?t miss a Phish show I actually have tickets for. That?s wasteful. There are music-starved children in Africa and I must think of them, it?s only right!

So the plan was: sleep in Sunday, enjoy a leisure lunch with friends, mosey on over to the line, get in and get good seats, rock out at the show, head back to the room and quickly pack, get a couple hours of sleep, wake up at some ungodly hour, get in a taxi headed to the airport and get on a plane so I could get back to Chicago in time for work (well, a couple of hours late but in time to be at work).

Sunday went according to plan.

There, that?s my blog post. A day actually went according to plan. Isn?t that exciting enough for the interwebs?

Oh whatever.

The dramatic highlight of Sunday, and I think I may have mentioned this in the very large blog post that began this, was of course the near-fight I got into with a large, shirtless man over an entire row of seats. Okay, if you know me, imagine me at my stubbornest, which I know is not a word but let?s make it one today, ok? I set my legs over shoulder-width apart, set my jaw and look you square in the eyes with a glare that says you don?t stand a chance with me. That was totally me last Sunday.

Fred & Jewel got in separately from me and after (I tried to grab Jewel and put her in front of me in line but the security guard got me before I could squeeze her over) so it was run for the seats and hope I could find them when I did (I didn?t have either cell number and would have had to coordinate with an absent-Jason in the chaos). I ran immediately for the lower Page-side towards the back of the venue seating thinking that it had the best head-on view without being all the way at the back of the venue. Unbeknownst to me, Jewel and Fred were thinking way, way forward and had I known, I might have saved myself some grief.

So I run in and see an entire front row empty except for one guy ? one large, shirtless guy. So I head down there thinking it?s about 14 seats, no way he?s saving all of them.

As soon as I reach that level on the stair and start into the middle, he comes barreling over from his side of the row with his hairy chest thrust out in some animalistic, territorial, instinctual ? thing. It strongly resembled any number of nature films where the leader of whatever pack of growling animals confronts the brazen intruder. And no matter how many seats the row held, he had every intention of ridding his land of this intruder: me.

So I set myself. I know when a large, shirtless man comes at you with his chest thrust out, there is a chance of violence and I also know that you?re less likely to get bowled over if you set your feet just right.

Okay, let?s pause here because something is bothering me. And this is one of those issues that kind of has two sides of me at odds but it was something I thought much about that day. Chivalry. Now, normally, I scoff at chivalry. I think the very idea of sitting in a car while the man turns off the car, opens his door, gets out of the drivers seat, closes the door, walks around the car and opens your door for you to get out is silly and a waste of time. If you have a 7 o?clock movie to get to, there?s no time to wait for that crap. And does the woman not have arms? Is she completely unable to open a door?

But then, in times such as when a man is barreling towards me with seemingly violent tendencies, I wonder whatever happened to the world in which men bore a gentle respect for women and even if they disagreed with them, handled their opposition in a respectful, if slightly patronizing, manner.

After this incident, this is what bothers me the most. Had he turned, saw me, saw I was threatening his territory ? which was not actually HIS, by the way ? and come toward me at a normal pace, with his shirtless upper body in a relaxed pose and said, I?m sorry, I?m saving these seats for my 13 friends ? I still would have argued (nicely), I still would have been irked at the audacity of it, but I wouldn?t be nearly as PISSED as I am about it. The dude came barreling towards a girl. It isn?t right. It isn?t respectful. I should have kicked him in the balls without saying a single word just for that; taught him that if he can?t be a gentleman, then he shouldn?t even have the equipment to be a man. And yes, that isn?t very respectful of me to say or even think that but he made the first impression that he did so I can?t help but to react in the way I do.


In the end, I gave up the fight. Pragmatic me surfaced and reminded me the goal tonight was to get good seats and enjoy the show. I would likely not have succeeded at either if I had stayed and fought any longer. As it was, my fledgling voice was losing even more decibels, the more I yelled at him.

With one last extended middle finger and a choice phrase I won?t utter here, I took to my heels and ran up the steps to the next level up and managed to secure five seats on that front row. I threw my hoodie over three of them and paced across the section, happy that I got front row in a section, still fuming over the encounter.

Not long after I found the seats, I spotted Fred?s red cap, blue shirt coming in and called him over. He was impressed with the seats but once he called and talked to Jewel, he said we might have better seats, he?d go check.

While Fred was gone, I watched the venue fill in. The best seats were gone so people started simply looking for enough seats together. I had a few looks my way but they saw the hoodie and they saw me standing in front of the seats not yet covered and they got the idea. In the second row, I heard a couple of guys talking about the number of seats they would need and perhaps they could grab some from the row above them to get the number they needed. I spotted a few friends and waved.

Fred returned in a few minutes saying Jewel had much better seats. Front row also, and much further down, closer to the stage. And in his opinion, we should pick up stakes and move.

No sweat off my back, I just wanted to be in good seats with good friends so I turned to the guys behind me and let them know they had five seats in the front row if they wanted them. See the difference between me and Cro-Magnon man? Respect is the most valuable tool we have and it isn?t in limited supply so there?s no need to dole it out with caution. Be free, use it anytime you want. Respect Away.

Still steaming about that guy over a week later. Not that I would remember his face because my eyes were seared by his massive, hairy chest, but I do wish I could run into him again, when I am able to quell pragmatic me. I have a few things to say.

I did manage to forget the incident that night. As I had expected, Phish played the best show of the weekend, ending with a spectacular Tweezer Reprise after releasing the XXL balloons hanging above the audience. The best part: we were seated close enough to see their faces and they wore a perma-grin all night long. As did I.

Thank you, Phish!

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