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….