Friday, August 22, 2008

The One in Which I Drag Surfergrrl and Ultra Toast into my Bad Luck Bubble (or When Bloggers Collide Part Six)

It is funny how themes emerge in your life with few prior clues. As I have already whinged about on many occasions, this year seems to be splattered with random ripples of bad luck. This week, in all its chaos, was no exception. What was unique, however, was the fact that I managed to suck not one, but two bloggers in for the ride.

Wednesday evening, after having been caught in an odd holding pen, an unyielding crowd, an epic rain storm, and a massive traffic jam, in that order, all for the luxury of seeing the utterly phenomenal Radiohead live the night prior (seriously—best live band ever. No question.), I meet the lovely Surfergrrl at my place. She had come up my way to visit some friends and for a Jack Johnson concert for which we had been lucky enough to procure aftershow passes. We go to a much hyped Indian restaurant for a delicious dinner and some catching up, as it had been two years since our last encounter.

Cue Thursday. As the two of us are grabbing our morning caffeine dose, I get a familiar ring on my cell phone. Ultra Toast and Patch have arrived at our front door. By force of sheer coincidence, after not having an overnight visitor other than a drunken friend passing out on our couch for a few hours, we have three out-of-town visitors scheduled at the same time. We set to catching up on the latest wing of the traveling Brits' journey. It turns out they have spent the night in an airport, discovering the best terminals for Frisbee throwing. I make the world’s largest batch of eggs as Ultra Toast decides that Febreeze is in fact a great replacement for a shower. I catch a whiff of citrus every time he walks by.

The five of us pile into Surfergrrl’s rental car, where we discover that my reassurances that we never see a parking patrolman in our neighbourhood were for naught, as she was ticketed less than an hour after arriving at our apartment. We head to an ocean side park, and wander around the perimeter, soaking in the sunshine. We learn that, for the British, everything falls into roughly two categories: rubbish and brilliant. For example, children’s waterparks are brilliant, whereas Ultra Toast’s stone skipping skills are rubbish, as are herpes of the eye.

Parking in the city also turns out to be supreme rubbish, as we attempt to return to our neighbourhood for a late lunch. It takes us over half an hour to find parking, and end up having to pay exorbitantly at a pay lot that requires a new ticket be purchased at 6am.

After lunch, Surfergrrl and I hop a bus to the concert venue. We anxiously wait at the Will Call booth, cautiously enquiring if there was a package left there for us. No luck. They send us to another tent. On the way there, we convince ourselves that the backstage passes are merely fictional, and we will look utterly pretentious sauntering up to the VIP tent. Much to our surprise, her name is on the list. We are giddy, and take multiple pictures of ourselves grinning and posing with our passes.
We are told that we can slip through the back entrance. As we walk along an empty field, applause suddenly rings through the air.

“The opening act must have started.”


“That sounds a lot like Mudfootball.”

We reach the top of the hill.

“Holy Christ, Jack Johnson is right there.”

Because, yes, a mere few feet in front of us, in the midst of the environmental group booths, with only a wire fence between us, Mr. Johnson is playing a song. As we rush up, he turns to look at the two of us, and smiles.

As the song concludes, he slips back out behind the fence—less than five feet away from us.

And the two of us just freeze.
And watch as he chats with another fellow, and casually saunters away.

At the time, we both feel as though it would be rude to approach him when it was clearly not a mingle-with-fans type of time. But you better believe we were kicking ourselves with some spiky boots five minutes later… and even more vigorously when we saw how thousands of fans reacted to him up on stage.

The concert is fantastic, and the two of us croon and bob along to each song.

As the encore gradually winds down, we beeline to the security gate, showing them our Aftershow badges. The security guard informs us that they just need to wait for someone to escort us through. We wait. Someone makes a bad joke about the double meaning of the word escort. We wait. We watch people fly through the other entrance seemingly unencumbered. We wait. A “security-is-serious-business” type tells us we are to wait in a certain location in the stands instead. We have to squeeze through the people flowing out of the stadium to make it there. We wait. There is no one there but us. We wait. Official looking guy tells us he is just figuring things out. We wait. And about half an hour after the show has conclude, he makes his way back, a shamed look on his face we can readily spot in the dimmed lights.

“The good news is, you’re at the right spot to get backstage. The bad news is, all the bands are gone. You shouldn't have been given aftershow passes, as there is no aftershow.”

Tails between our legs, we slink out of the stadium, cursing ourselves for our lack of assertiveness when Jack was a mere few feet away. 

Friday morning is hectic. Surfergrrl and I awaken at 6am to stumble two blocks, me in my pajamas, to add time to her parking spot. It is only through sleep glazed eyes that we see that we could have paid via cell phone. We slip back under the covers for another two hours, at which point I arise to finish some last minute packing and prepare for the Duke and I’s morning flight. An hour later, we call a cab, and bid our houseguest adieu, with Surfergrrl leaving soon afterwards, and Ultra Toast and Patch setting up camp in our apartment for the next few days.

It is just as our cab arrives at the airport that my phone lets out a frantic ring. It is Ultra Toast. The supposed spare keys we have given him, which we have never used ourselves, do not work. Thankfully Surfergrrl was still in our apartment after he and Patches returned from coffee to find they were unable to regain entrance. As such, I am reduced to navigating bag check line ups while desperately calling my landlady to obtain any extra keys. No such luck. We ask an Air Canada worker if there was a help desk or somewhere we could leave our keys. He denies that there is a help desk even exists. We are darting around, looking for anywhere we could reliably leave our keys before we had to squeeze into through security. I am about to bribe a Starbucks worker when someone in line points out the obvious—an Information desk. Turns out they even have a formalized procedure to deal with such incidents, and we are able to hand over the Duke’s keys without incident. Unfortunately, it means that Ultra Toast and Patches are now granted another exciting tour of the airport-apartment route of the city.

And, now I’m at my parents place in HomeTown, and hoping that a little small town air will cleanse me of this apparently infectious bad luck cloud following me around….


Tony said...

Did you at least get close enough to Jack Johnson to smell him? Because I think you get a free pass if you can at least smll him. People should still give you props.

I hope the small town air does clear your bad luck bubble. It does wonders for me. Maybe we should open up a small town air spa?

Anonymous said...

Oh, my god. This post is literally insane. Haha. But it's so awesome that you had so many houseguests at one time :) I hope you have a great trip and come back refreshed!

wee-h said...

liking the brits references - totally agree with the rubbish/brilliant thing. tho it usually means weather = rubbish...

Anonymous said...

I love that about the brits as well. No gray areas there...

Sounds like a great time despite the nuttiness!

t.k.foster said...

Yes the security is serious business type annoy the heck out of me too.

Anonymous said...

Well, it seems like it could have been worse.... but I hope you're bad luck free by now. :)

Anonymous said...

Good lord, that was complicated.

What is it about you dear, that leads to infinitely complicated entanglements?!

Have a wonderful time at home!

Dan Mega said...

An airport was useful? This is new to me.

Anonymous said...

"for the British, everything falls into roughly two categories: rubbish and brilliant" hahah that is sooooo true.

Anonymous said...

awww booo!!! that moment of hesitation...i always kick myself for it too. but he smiled at you. ohhhh myyyy. *swoon*

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Yeah! Chaos is brilliant! Normality is rubbish!

We thought there might be some special way of using Canadian keys that the English cannot comprehend.

Still, all is well now. And it shows your ability to cope well under random unexpected pressure.

Ant said...


I generally consider myself to be a cool, sure-footed gentleman.

The morning I met you I had already spilled hot coffee on my right leg. I then managed to get the zip on my bag stuck whilst we were trekking about town, leading to a somewhat undignified panic on my part about the trapped contents therein.

Bad luck karma: you has it. And now we'z has it too! :-)

Surfergrrl said...

well i have to admit, this blog made me laugh even though I wasn't laughing too much at the time. obviously your bad luck stuck with me as i had 3 obnoxious youngsters crawling all over me on the flight back home to LA. The good news? The plane didn't crash. Or is that the bad news? ha ha!! oh wait, did i tell you i was stuck 2 hours at the border on the way home? yeah, that was fun too. a 5 hour journey to f'n Seattle!!! But alas, my cat only puked once on the floor. So. you take the good with the bad! lol!

Joanna said...

Have fun unwinding in HomeTown! :)

Princess Extraordinaire said...

Okay I feel like there should have been a candid camera crew in hot pursuit of you - you poor thing! I am sorry for all your rotton luck.....but I AM glad you got within flirting distance of Jack Johnson.....I am seriously jealous...

benjibopper said...

don't worry, Toast brings bad luck everywhere he goes. It's been raining in Hali ever since his visit. Or maybe that was his parting gift?

btw, ever listen to Martin Sexton? if you like JJ you might also enjoy Marty S.

Yoda said...

Look at it this way -- the higher number of people you infect with bad luck, your percentage of bad luck decreases. So, spread the love around!

Radiohead? Totally rocks!

Anonymous said...

"Rubbish" is my new favorite word. Hehe.

Crushed said...

Ok, you had- let's be honest- a fair run of not so much basd luck as unforseen events that didn't quite go the planned way.

But it still sounds fun.

I've often wondered what it would be like to meet in the flesh someone who in a sense you've known a long time- and do indeed in some cases know to a very intimate degree.

I'm sure in some ways, it has to be a unique sensation.

Matt said...

Bad luck?

It all sounds like good fun to me.

Bayjb said...

Wow that sounds like a full and fun time! That's awesome that you were that close to Jack Johnson. Go you!

Nilsa S. said...

Bad luck schmuck. You got to see JJ up close and personal. And and and. WOW.

SMARTBuddy said...

Wow! Toast and Patch made it onto your Blog. I know them. Its strange to read about them through you. Sounds like quite a hectic few days - rushing around, Radiohead AND Jack Johnson. Go you!

the frog princess said...

"...for the British, everything falls into roughly two categories: rubbish and brilliant."

One of the many reasons why I love them :) Sounds like a crazy weekend, but glad to hear you solved the key dilemma... and more important, you found the holy grail: a helpful airport employee!!