First off, a recap of my life the past few weeks: work, walks in the park, hanging out around Washington.
Now, last night, I went to see Ben Folds with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and Leah, Terra, Brandon, and old middle-school classmate Levi tagged along. Rachael was supposed to go but ended up not being able to, and I feel kind of bad because this is the second time she’s missed out on a show she was supposed to attend with me. But Levi took her ticket. I didn’t exactly think an extra Ben Folds ticket would be hard to get rid of, and I was right.
So, I’m a stickler for recycling, even though my apartment doesn’t provide it and there’s no convenient places to drop it off near my apartment or work. There’s one place on back roads between the two that lengthens my commute, so if I’m in the area or desperately need to clean the shit out, I do take it there. But they recently put up this nice, big sign saying it’s for residents of that township only, and I am not a resident of that township. So I’m trying to avoid it.
Fortunately, there’s a place in Pittsburgh I can take it, and I try to leave early whenever I go into the city to get it there, even though it’s often out of the way and traffic ruins my life. There’s been many a time where we’ve had to ditch the recycling drop-off plan because of traffic, and last night was one of those nights. Fine. It blows, but I’ll be back to gamble on my birthday Saturday and can take a big haul then. But the traffic didn’t end there.
Let me be clear–I left my apartment over two hours before Ben Folds was supposed to start playing. This would normally be plenty of time to drop off recycling, get Terra, and make it to the theater with time to spare. In fact, I thought we’d be killing time before the show. Instead, Brandon and I quickly realized on the way to Terra’s that recycling wasn’t gonna happen. And then as we kept sitting in completely stopped traffic, it started to look like we wouldn’t be getting to Terra’s until 7, which is when I had planned to be at the theater. I like aiming to get there early, and this entire night is one of the reasons why–not that it made a damn difference this time.
We looked up alternate routes to Terra’s in traffic but none were helpful, so we had to stick it out. We made up some time and things were looking up.
Then Leah calls and says they had trouble finding parking–despite the fact that the theater’s general area has probably four or five lots and garages–and they ended up a few blocks away, which isn’t a bad hike, but it’s a huge pain in the ass when you’re running late and you know that if not for whatever chaos has befallen the city, you’d be parked next door.
So I did still scope out the parking situation, but it became a very desperate “we’re going to the first one we see” situation. Which basically landed us across the street from where Leah parked.
Apparently, Pittsburgh was hugely busy last night–in addition to Ben Folds, there was a Pirate game, an Arctic Monkeys concert, and a musical at the Benedum. And we passed every single one of those things on our way to Ben Folds, which meant not just traffic but hoards of pedestrians so large that even when lights turned green, the cars were stuck. We sat at two or three lights for about four or five turns each because things were so congested that only one or two cars could make it through at a time. At 7:30–showtime–we were sitting in my car in traffic right in front of the theater. By the time we made it a few blocks down the street, hiked it to the theater, sorted out the ticket situation because I wasn’t sure if Leah had picked them all up or left ours at the door, then got seated, we’d missed approximately 40 minutes of the concert. Now, I’m not sure if he started on time and from the sounds of it, we only missed three, maybe 3 1/2 or four songs (although one was “Effington,” one of my favorites), but it’s still incredibly frustrating. I was even using my Pittsburgh app that helps you find available parking, but the garages it was telling me were open were only open to people with leases. So thanks for nothing.
The good news is Ben Folds played for about another two hours, so in the grand scheme of things, we only missed a small chunk, but it was a chunk nonetheless. But I did hear my other major favorites: “Zak and Sara,” “Annie Waits,” “Not the Same,” and encore of “Narcolepsy,” love song that keeps growing on me “The Luckiest,” and a killer “Rock This Bitch.” For those who aren’t Folds fans, “Rock This Bitch” is this live tradition where if someone yells, “Rock this bitch!” he’ll make up a song on the spot. Last time I saw him with the symphony, it was a section of the show where he played by himself, so he did this very dramatic, dark song about climbing down Mt. Washington. This time, though, he involved the entire symphony and created this epic, really good song–this time about a scary cab with a driver who played clarinet while driving.
If you’re a Ben Folds fan, I highly recommend checking out one of his symphony shows. The environment (and ticket price) are a lot different than the usual club shows, but the skill and the beauty of hearing the songs adapted for a symphony is fantastic. “Narcolespy” is one of the most gorgeous examples, as is “Not the Same,” complete with the audience as a choir, while “Zak and Sara” is pure fun and “Rock This Bitch” is impressive. It’s well-worth it, trust me.
We ended the night with Mad Mex and my early birthday presents from Terra, which were some little metal stamps that say “As you wish” and “Stay shiny,” plus a little shirt with a penguin on it, handmade earrings, and Wizard of Oz duct tape that’s surprisingly adorable.
And because I can’t have a simple night, I was met with more parking woes when I got home–my lot was full of people who don’t live here and I was forced to park at the Methodist church next door. I don’t have to resort to that often–it was normally when a snow storm was coming up and I knew I’d get stuck in my own lot–but it’s happened enough that I almost feel like I should slip them a thank-you note and a check.
Today, I took the day off to sleep in after what I knew would be a late night. I’ve been in bed for most of it.