Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sometimes The Journey Is More Entertaining Than The Destination

My friend, Brenda, is a die-hard Journey fan.  She purchased tickets to see the band (again) on their 2013 tour and I agreed to (once again) accompany her to one of their concerts.  I like Journey songs, I've seen them in concert three times (although never when Steve Perry was with the band), and I find it an entertaining experience.  Last night the actual concert itself took a backseat to all of the crazy events that occurred on our "journey" to see Journey!

All day yesterday Brenda struggled with the idea of not attending the concert because she wasn't feeling well.  We put a message out on Facebook that she'd grudgingly sell the tickets, but there were no takers.  Finally, at 3 pm she decided to bite the bullet and make the most of it, sickness be damned.

We headed in to San Francisco on BART, which can be an experience in and of itself.  At 6 pm it's still a commuter's world so we weren't too fazed by any passengers on the train.  Uneventful so far, right?

Our venue was the recently-created America's Cup Pavilion on the Embarcadero.  We started heading in the proper direction, intending to hail a cab, when we saw a cute man on a bicycle offering to take passengers in his "pedicab" to their destination.  We laughed and hopped aboard this modern-day rickshaw but the entire time all I could think about was my weight and how maybe I should've skipped lunch because this thin guy had to schlep my big ass around town.  All in all, it was a gorgeous, temperate ride and we enjoyed the views along the waterline with the wind whipping through our hair while his little speaker on his back pocket blared Journey tunes.

Upon arriving at the park we walked past beautiful yachts that defy imagination.  The large "boat" with a helicopter looked just about right - OK, I'll take it.  To the tune of $50 -75 million.  In that case, no thanks.  I'm good with my ten-year-old Honda.

We got settled in our seats - I mean, on our assigned bleacher numbers - and impatiently sat through the opening act, each time sighing when they started a new song.  Come on already!  I looked over to see Brenda peeling a banana.  Who brings a banana in their purse to a concert???

Banana with Coit Tower in the distance
We started people watching to pass the time and here's where it gets interesting.  Our neighbors on my side were two lovely women, about our age, who arrived carrying two wine glasses each.  They got up to get more drinks a few times, going down the benches in front of us as you would when you're traversing bleachers and your seat is near the closed-off end: they asked a few people to scoot and they stepped down two rows to the concourse.  On their second trip "Angry Lady" in the front row started yelling and got all heated, saying "Go that way to the stands!  The stairs are right there!  You can't go this way!!!" and jabbing her finger at them in fury.  They laughed and went around but Angry Lady actually "told" on them to the seating director who just raised his hands in a "what can you do?" gesture.  Angry Lady eventually told on someone smoking, and later complained about the people walking back and forth in front of her... in the walkway.  She got into a shoving match with some guy although I didn't see what precipitated it.  Who starts a brawl while "Open Arms" is playing I ask you.  Later when he passed by again they furiously flipped each other off.  Ah, good times with mature concert-goers.

The nice ladies returned with two more drinks and sat down to enjoy the concert.  The drunkier one next to me kept offering me one of her glasses of wine. "Vino?  It's OK, I don't have hepatitis or anything.  I'm actually married with two kids."  Uh, thanks but no thanks.  Although in retrospect, maybe I should've taken it just to keep her from drinking more.  Didn't matter.  She whispered/yelled into my bad-hearing ear, "I have to tinkle again".  I shit you not.  So she stumbled down the bleachers - two people away from Angry Lady - and returned a little while later with two more drinks!  Which she offered to me again!  She leaned over and asked "So, where do you work?"  Really?  Are we going to have a get-to-know-you conversation at a concert while you're sitting on my bad side?  She told me about her child who has a lifelong disease.  She introduced herself as "Anghrrgft" or something like that - I couldn't hear and she was slurring.  Pretty soon Anghrrgft was slumping forward with her eyes closed and I feared she would hurl all over me and the people in front of us.  Hey, try to aim it at Angry Lady!  Thankfully, she got up and tried to navigate the two stairs down, literally falling the last step and banging her head against a guy's head in the front row.  Her friend watched her stumbling and tripping down the stairs and eventually went to help her, but left her purse and drinks next to me, asking "Can you watch these? I'll be right back."  Uh, sure.  I'm not going anywhere.  This is all too interesting... oh, and Journey is playing some songs too.

The band sounded pretty good, although they kept playing new stuff.  Nobody goes to a Journey concert to hear new stuff.  A few times confetti shot out from the stage and wafted toward the audience and the brightly colored papers looked beautiful in the amplified spotlight beam.  Until the man behind me exclaimed, "Ooh, butterflies!"  No, he wasn't "special".  Just maybe had never seen confetti before.  I don't know.

Meanwhile, Anghrrgft's friend returned alone, drank both glasses of wine while enjoying more of the show, and eventually left with her purse when Angry Lady vacated her throne and people could step down without fear of a beating.

At the end of the concert more butterflies flew through the air and we joined in with the throngs of people heading home.  Although we planned to hop on another pedicab back to the BART station they were all on the opposite side of the wide street so we ended up walking the whole way.  Damn, no cute boy to huff and puff over us - or because of the exertion.

We stepped into a BART car and stood in an open area, noting that it smelled a bit like marijuana.  I thought nothing of it until Brenda jabbed me and I turned around to see Stoner Guy (who looked an awful lot like a poor man's Shaun White) toking on a pipe - right in the middle of a packed BART train!!!  He was blowing the smoke right on some business guy who was asleep in front of him.  Aaaannnddd, the lady next to him acted like nothing was happening!  We looked around at the other people - who happened to be mostly smiling, go figure - and nobody called this guy out.  He was stoned out of his mind and kept trying to engage people in conversation but he was laughing too much.  He got up, stumbled to the doors, realized he was not yet at his station, and flopped back to his seat.  The lady next to him, whose eyes were reddening as we watched, finally got up and stood across the aisle.  Her boyfriend or husband did nothing.  Brenda and I were looking around like, "Are we on that show 'What Would You Do'???"  You can't just light up on public transit.  Brenda tried to give him the benefit of the doubt saying maybe it was medicinal use.  NO. STILL... NO!  Thankfully he got off the train somewhere around Oakland and peoples' smiles eventually faded.

But not mine.  That was such an entertaining night.  And just think, I could've been home doing 7th grade math with my son and missed all of that!  Until next time people... Be Good To Yourself!!!!

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