Monday, April 06, 2009

I Will See You in Far Off Places

At around 7 a.m. last Wednesday, I dropped the dog off at what I euphemistically refer to as Camp Buttsniff, immediately tie-dyed my white t-shirt with a large Krispy Kreme coffee and set the GPS for my second Morrissey concert of Oh Nine. Other than consuming enough sodium benzoate to embalm my internal organs, it was an uneventful 378 miles through North Cackalacky, Virginia1, Left Virginia2 and Ohio3.

After chewing the edges of my St. Christopher medal for exactly six hours, I rolled safely into Columbus, parked the car and dragged my duffel bag toward the hotel. As I made my way around the block, I saw a tour bus idling at the side door and my heart lodged itself in my trachea. Could it be that...that...Morrissey and I would be unwrapping identical brands of tiny toiletries? Would he be making a hand puppet out of the same cloth shoe mitt? Would he be stealing the same towels? As I checked in, I casually asked the well-pressed woman at the front desk whose wheels were outside and she answered with a shrug that I interpreted as "THE SAME GUY WHOSE COFFEE-STAINED FACE IS STARING AT ME FROM YOUR T-SHIRT".

I dropped my stuff in my room, laced my sneakers and decided to do my best sleuthing in the guise of a run, kickstarting the first chapter of Nancy Drew and the Case of the Sad Stalkery Fan. As I stretched on the sidewalk, I watched a burly man with a hotdog neck toss several cases into the bus and--after a glimpse of the Mississippi plates--I decided it probably wasn't the MozWagon after all. BUT when I got within a half-block of the Palace Theatre, the same bus passed me, belching some exhaust directly into my bronchial tubes. I followed it to the alley behind the building, trying to look nonchalant despite the fact that I was sweating profusely and sucking on an asthma inhaler.

I loitered long enough to even creep myself out and didn't seen anyone other than a pair of black-clad men with All Access lanyards. Later I found out that Team Morrissey and I HAD briefly shared a building, but they all checked out pre-show. While I was disappointed, it saved me from asking the Room Service Chef if he could bake me into a pie. 4

Before the show, I met up with some 'net friends from the Moz message boards5, L & her husband 6 who had rolled in from Pittsburgh, and S, a local attorney. Over a table-buckling amount of Indian food, we swapped backstories and quizzed each other about what Smiths lyrics we'd get inked on our bodies. It's always nice to split appetizers with people who share your obsessions and couldn't have had a more perfect group to spend the evening with.

Fast forward to immediately after The Courteeners' opening set when I scrambled from Section One down to the Pit, said hello to the security guard and plopped my ass into an empty second row seat beside S. There's a Billy Crystal Michael Keaton flick called The Paper where he drops a line about how a clipboard and a confident wave will get you into any building in America. There's mad truth to that, and if you don't have any available office supplies, batting a set of Cover Girl-encrusted eyelashes works too.

We made adrenaline fueled smalltalk and I waited to get yanked by the collar back to the cheap seats. At exactly 8:30 the lights dimmed, the REFUSAL background was illuminated, and the crowd surged to the edge of the stage. We went with it. The same well-muscled mass of security I'd spoken to stood directly behind me, pushing everyone else back. We were in.

The show somehow seemed to speed by and to unfold slowly, every note loitering in our ears. It was during the fifth song--the Smiths classic "How Soon is Now?"--that Morrissey made his way to our side of the stage and, in order, shook S's outstretched hand, then L's, then mine.

Read that sentence again.

Morrissey touched me. Our eyes met and I think I know what an aneurysm feels like. My mitt was in his for maybe a solid second, but it was long enough to notice the smoothness of his skin, the way it felt firm and cool like a marble statue. Or a pint of Ben&Jerry's about the time you unbag it and shove it in the freezer.

We all made our best "HOLY FUCK" expression, staring at each other wide-eyed and relieved that we had each other to confirm that it had really happened. The rest of the show was excellent as he swung through another fifteen songs and, of course, ripped his shirt off like a Hugo Boss wearing Hulk Hogan. S managed to both find a stray button and get demolished by security when he tried to invade the stage, L got one of guitarist Jesse Tobias' MEXI-CAN etched picks and I scored another setlist.

We made our way through the shuffling crowd and stepped out onto the street with sore throats, ringing ears and full hearts. Stop me if you think you've heard this one before...

1 I do owe Wythe County a new raccoon.
2 It costs a cumulative $7.50 to drive the length of Left Virginia twice which blows goats. Thanks to dropping all my cash and a handful of pennies at the tollbooths, I'll now be paying 29.99% APR on the McGriddle Value Meal I had to Visa.
3I spent two solid hours passing and being passed by an erratically driven Seibring. I started hating her after the fifth time she blew past me only to immediately park herself in front of my bumper. I despised everything about her, from the WVSTEELR vanity plate to the Pittsburgh flags flapping from both sides of the car to the inexplicable pyramid of Bounty paper towels stacked in the back seat. If you require enough paper products to sop up an Exxon spill, you think you'd head home to start mopping instead of reading road signs that flashed three different state mottos. Or maybe she was just having a heavy flow day.
4 There was a couple from Michigan patiently waiting in the hotel for the Mozzer and I'm curious if they ever saw 'im. We spoke briefly after the show but were split up by the crowd before I could ask if there were any parts of the lobby that I needed to lick.
5This prompted my sis to send me a text that said "Please don't be a Law & Order episode where you get killed by the internet".
6 L was wearing a handmade "Now My Heart is Full" sweater which should replace the Shroud of Turin as a museum piece. Seriously. It was so awesome, tourists should make pilgrimages to see it and schoolchildren should sketch it. I wish I'd snapped a picture of it, but meeting someone and immediately demanding to photograph their clothes is probably farther down the creepster scale than I'd like to be.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

You've probably seen this but just in case not.

http://7confessions.blogspot.com/2008/06/hugh-laurie-exposed-hot-naked-butt.html

Mike said...

note 3 - After the second time it would be time to pull into a rest stop and count to 1000.

*Akilah Sakai* said...

I agree with Mike, you were probably being stalked (and possibly by some bat-like wo/man from Jeepers Creepers).

Glad you had such a good time, got bangin' ass seats and touched The Hand.

repliderium.com said...

Perhaps she was from his tour and was checking out who had been stalking him earlier. Check the bushes outside of your room tonight. He might be there.....

lacochran said...

"L, could I snap a picture of your sweater? Could you lean in a little? A little more? Now lick your lips..."

Michael said...

"bake me in a pie?"

What, you think you're four and twenty blackbirds or sumpin'?

Seriously, hilarious post, as usual.

Leigh White said...

Like I wouldn't have let you photo the sweater!
Although, I must say the thought of wearing the sweater now, w/o the purpose of seeing Moz is a bit bittersweet!

Anonymous said...

(Psssst. It's Oh Nine. ;))

alexis said...

Oh Eight eh? This blog has been marinating a while!

Eddie said...

Also: The Paper was a Michael Keaton movie.

LiLu said...

This is hilarious! Glad I stumbled over here :-)

Bitterly Books said...

It's rough being as fashion ignorant as I am.

When I first read your sentence about how he "ripped his shirt off like a Hugo Boss wearing Hulk Hogan," I thought you were talking about a fashion designer with a Silence of the Lambs-style skin suit made from a wrestlemania star, and it got kind of weird.

I was able to figure it out, though. I'm glad you had fun.

beeker said...

Hotdog neck? I think I just pissed in my pants!

emmysuh said...

Hmm, "Nancy Drew and the Case of the Sad Stalkery Fan"? I think I've read that one, it's right before "Nancy Drew and the Time She Had to Pay Bail for Her Sad Stalkery Fan-Friend's Public Intoxication" or something right?

By the way, it took me about 5 tries to properly spell "intoxicated." I may be intoxicated myself.

J-Money said...

anonymous: You just earned yourself the MY FAVORITE COMMENTER EVER award. Congratulations.

Mike: If there had been a rest stop, I would've. Although I did mutter into my energy drink and I distinctly remember shaking a Slim Jim in her direction.

*Akilah Sakai*: Bat-like woman? Thank you for giving me something new to fear.

repliderium.com: I've never been more relieved that I don't live on the ground floor.

lacochran: Add a couple "NOW SHOW ME YOUR ANGGGGRY FACE"s and that's pretty much the way it would've worked.

Michael: At best I'm three and a quarter blackbirds.

Leigh White: I know you wouldn't have minded...because you're awesome. I for real meant to snap a shot of it before we split up but was so overwhelmed because MORRISSEY HAD TOUCHED US.

Anonymous & Alexis: Dammit. Fixed. Thanks for pointing that out...

Eddie: I'm full of fail today. Thanks...I actually just saw it once. OBVIOUSLY.

LiLu: Sweet...please stumble back again!

Bitterly Books: Your scenario is about 18 times more bitching than reality was. The Hulkster is big enough to make a suit from I think...

beeker: Sorry about that... I take full responsibility.

emmysuh: If Nancy Drew had a drunk, stalkery friend, it would probably be Bess. Didn't she always end up, like, mysteriously facedown in a patch of ivy and stuff?

zlionsfan said...

I visit friends in Virginia about twice a year and I always find the WV tolls a bit disconcerting ... too much to be easily covered by spare change and not enough to justify using a pass that coincidentally does not work on the toll roads in Chicago, my other frequent destination ...

emmysuh said...

Isn't Bess the one that the bitchy narrator always pointed out was "really pretty, but just needed to lose like five pounds?"

Bess needs less bitchy friends.

Gillian said...

HOLD ON JUST A SECOND.

Your Ben & Jerry's makes it into the freezer?