Friday, July 22, 2016

Adventure of a Lifetime

I’m too old for this shit.

That is what I said to myself as I unlocked my front door at 5am on a Monday morning after staying out all night at a concert.

Bubbles and Boobs were going to set out on yet another adventure. We couldn’t acquire tickets to Coldplay, her favorite band when they played in Philly, a stone’s throw from our homes, but she was able to get us two tickets for the Meadowlands up in North Jersey. (I refuse to call it Met Life Stadium. There is no romance in bank-named locations.) Worried about the traffic in that area, we decided to take the train. Drive 45 minutes to the train, ride for almost two hours, transfer trains, ride another 20 minutes and viola – we have arrived. We did, however, find it troubling that no one was on the trains with us. I mean, this was a sold out concert in a stadium that easily holds 50,000 people (that is lowballing the 82,000 max capacity due to certain sections being closed because they were behind the stage.) And the train from Secaucus to the Meadowlands was empty. Weird, right?
Upon exiting, we turn to the conductor and ask, “Coldplay is tonight, right?”

This man turned to us and says, “No, that was last night and tomorrow night. Tonight is soccer."

Dead. Silence.

Bubbles looks at me. I look at her. The conductor looks at both of us like we are idiots.

“Really?” I ask, in a dumbfounded, oh shit, voice.

“Nah.” He says, cracking himself up. Bastard.

Turns out, we were just really early and most people don’t show up ‘til right before the big act hits the stage. Upon arriving at security, the friendly guard checked our ticket. His face dropped. He looked at me and said, “This ticket is for last night’s show.”

“Really?” I ask, in a dumbfounded, oh shit, voice.

He turns to the guard standing next to him. “Check it out.” She nods, turns to us and says, “This ticket says the 16th. You had tickets for last night’s show.”

“REALLY?” Bubbles and I ask in unison.

“Nah.” They laugh, cracking themselves up. Bastards.

So there we were, four hours early, in 100-degree heat, with the average bottle of water going for $5 and seats five rows from the top. We were the concert equivalent of the early bird special. We were, in short, old.

We made do by making fun of other people. Yup. I’m like that. Never fear, body shapes themselves were off limits. I have no right to make fun of anyone on that score. But clothing choices? Totally up for mockery. Harem pants. A guy in a monkey outfit. Rompers! (Bubbles was for, I was against.) Women in super high heels were perplexing to us, as were the men in jeans and long-sleeves. (Much later in the evening, spied with our exhausted eyes a woman wearing a full length winter puffy coat. With sandals.)

Eventually, we scaled the stairs and made it to our perch. The show itself was fantastic. Bubbles is a huge fan, I am a casual fan, and both of us were very pleased with what we saw. I don’t know much about Chris Martin, but the man is in phenomenal shape. He ran up and down that stadium floor as if it were inches instead of yards, without every missing a beat in his songs. Every attendee was given wristbands that acted like coordinated glow sticks throughout the night. Michael J. Fox showed up to play Johnny B. Goode on the guitar and it was phenomenal. Overall, a great show.

But then we had to get home.

All those people we were worried weren’t on our train earlier? Yeah, we found them all. And then some. And then some more. Tens of thousands of people were herded like cattle into a huge pen to try to get on the train out of the Meadowlands. According to the crowd, we were actually experiencing the best case scenario in that we weren’t surrounded by tens of thousands of angry, drunk, freezing cold football fans but instead, mellow Millennial concert-goers. But it was hot, sticky, smelly, and chaotic. I reached a new level of friendship with Bubbles as we decided holding hands was really the only way to ensure we didn’t get separated.

Almost two hours after the concert ended, we finally made it to Secaucus. Thirty. Hungry. Sweaty. An hour after that, our train to Hamilton finally arrived. Still thirty. Still hungry. Even sweatier. Two hours after that, we finally arrived in Hamilton. I downed a bottle of hot water like it was a gift from God. After another 45 minutes of driving, we arrived in our town and into the only diner open at that ungodly hour. We snarfed down turkey clubs, drank copious amounts of liquids, and tried to ignore the episode of Law & Order screaming at us from the TV.

Finally, as the sun started to rise in the sky, I made my way into my house, into a hot shower, and into my bed.

Bubbles, the valiant warrior, actually made it through an entire day of parenting on two hours of sleep. I slept through til lunch and just hoped the kids didn’t kill each other while I snored. It was a long night, a great concert and a phenomenal story. But seriously, I’m way too old to do that again any time soon. 

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