Thursday, August 13, 2009

Promises in the Dark

I think the history of concerts I have seen that I haven't enjoyed, if graphed, would correspond rather perfectly with concerts that I have attended without imbibing or partaking of other substances.  This also corresponds for the most part with concerts that I have biked to and from, as I generally try to avoid combining pedaling and altering of consciousness, or reflexes, or judgement.  I didn't always feel this way, but 30 stitches to the head made me realize that, well, I didn't like getting 30 stitches in the head.  The lack of health insurance at that time was painful as well, but not quite as painful as listening to some of the town hall meetings this week regarding public heath care.  One of the many, many things I love about getting around by bike is the way my thought process seems unhitched while the wheels are rolling.  It's like playtime for my brain, and any thoughts are welcome.  I also fully enjoy, (and after having done it for as long as I have, have come to be able to predict and expect), the seesaw of euphoria to doldrums that comes, probably all chemical balance/nutrition-related.  The first of these fake highs on Thursday's post-work ride to Coney Island came close to the end of the ride, almost immediately after crossing Ocean Parkway.  Yes, I live on the other side of the park, but my wife and a couple of friends were going to see the Pat Benatar/Blondie double bill that had all of NYC talking, mainly asking who in their right mind would go to Coney Island to see a Pat Benatar/Blondie double bill.  I have a love/hate relationships with "greenways" in general.  Love them in theory but almost always prefer a well paved road to a cracked sidewalk with curbs on every corner and associated turns for cars.  That was my memory of the path to Coney Island, so I decided to try a side street and see if I could just be parallel to the path.  This brilliant idea went nowhere except in a big circle leading me straight back to the greenway, so I relented, and this is where the happiness came.  It was nice!  They had fixed it up!  Smooth sailing, and noone was on it!  It was so nice in fact that I had almost decided it was worth it to come this way to Floyd rather than bombing down Flatbush, had almost decided that when the nice new pavement ended and it was back to an organ mashing craterfest.  I just tried to hold the wheel of crazy mountain bike guy in front of me to distract me from the non-chamois wearing pain I was experiencing in the nether regions.  

I was mocking the lack of foot traffic as I approached Avenue X, "yeah, some concert.."  I would eat those words when I got there, and looked around for a place to lock up my bike.  There was a distinct 80's style guitar sound emanating from the stage where The Donnas were "rocking out,"  playing songs from the hopefully ironically title "Greatest Hits" album.  Actually they weren't bad, and the place was packed.  Like mobbed packed.  I couldn't find my friends for a long long time, and it took even longer to find my wife who had arrived much earlier.  Sprint sucks, no service at all, or maybe it was Verizon sabotaging them since they had a tent set up to sign people up.  My wife finally found us and had narrowly escaped a close encounter with a few middle aged woman who were very much encroaching on her space and telling the people in front of her to sit down.  Again, my head voice was mocking the concert.  And what was with the lack of smoke?  The stage looked like the Denver airport.  Finally, Pat Benatar came on and, I think, for the most part looked and sounded like I remembered.  Keep in mind that being the old fogey that I am, I remember the 80's vividly, and Pat Benatar is not necessarily a fond memory.  There is no kitsch value in it for me, she was a purveyor of bad pop, and that was all, and I had to sit through her videos in the early days of MTV over and over and over again. That said, she looked and sounded like I remembered, certainly not bad for a 56 year old woman (from Greenpoint!!!, nee Patricia Mae Andrzejewski), and she did all the hits, and yes, I actually enjoyed them, especially the crowd singing along with "Hit Me With Your Best Shot."  Being out of the crowd was nice, and the boardwalk was very nice, and thankfully the appropriate smells finally wafted our way.  It was officially a concert now.  We didn't wait for Blondie, but there is a cycling connection.  Her guitar player is Paul Carbonara, a local racer, much more representative for me and cycling in the city than David Byrne, whom I love musically, but am not convinced I really want as a spokesman for cycling in NYC.  I was hungry and didn't get to see Paul, whom I actually think, even being the jazz snob I am, is a good guitarist, and who I was more interested in than the not so interested in Deborah Harry, who is now 64 years old!  So, to recap, couldn't make it to the end of a concert featuring a 56 year old and a 64 year old. 

I stayed on Ocean Pkwy the whole way home, again opting for street over path.  It was nice, and dark, and pleasant, even if the cars turning right off the main parkway almost killed me several times.  Eventually, after what seemed like many more than 26 lettered Avenues, I arrived back to the cozy confines of the Park, but eschewed it for a street in order to find a store, pasta sauce, and beer. The rest of the night was "Bringing up Baby," with food, and beer, and cat, and my lovely wife, who, as it turns out with most things, is right, I don't party anymore.  

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