I had a really weird day on Thursday. I woke up feeling fine, but by the time I got into the office, I was having trouble breathing. This happens to me every once in awhile, only this time the usual “too tight bra feeling” was accompanied by a really woozy, laughing gas feeling.
I tried to work, but somehow sitting there and typing was too much of a strain on my too-tight-bra-laughing-gassed-up self, so I tried lying down on the floor, on the couch, on my stomach, on my back, on my side, but nothing really helped. Eventually I just gave up and went home … floated home, actually. I don’t really remember much of the train ride(s).
As soon as I got inside my apartment, I stripped off all my clothes and changed into some nice, loose-fitting pajamas, which helped a lot. And that made me nervous. Perhaps the shortness of breath and dizziness were signs that I’d finally turned the corner from getting to wear form-fitting clothing to having to wear Cut Loose clothing? (Cut Loose being the store in my neighborhood that sells elastic-waisted, crinkly cotton pants and matching, flowing tops. You may also have heard me describe it as the “docent supply store”.)
In any case, the pajama trick let me breathe well enough to take a short nap, then I got up and took a bath, which made me feel better still, so I did some work-typing until Liz AIMed me to find out if I was ready to head up to Santa Cruz for dinnering with her friend, Peter, followed by ROCKing with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, who Peter does sound for.
I made some groaning noises about not being up for going re: the breathing thing. But then I remembered my recent vow to take more advantage of being fancy-free and unfettered. My babied, married friends keep talking about how minuscule their spare time is, how everything needs to be scheduled crazy-far in advance now. So it feels scandalous to pass up one of the really great things about being single: I can spontaneously leave town and ROCK whenever (the fuck) I want to. Man! Also, I like Peter a lot — the last time he was in town, the three of us went to pat the kitties and the doggies at the SFSPCA and then sat in the sun on the deck outside and chatted and basked and a good time was had by all. Or had by me, at least.
So I gave Liz the “yay” and she came and got me and we drove down and listened to No Doubt and I ate an apple, the only other thing I’d eaten that day besides a (not so) smart muffin from Peet’s. (Partially why I was feeling dizzy, maybe? Huh. I’m dumb.) We picked up Peter at his hotel, which seemed to be hosting some sort of mom convention (they were everywhere, smiling and waving), and headed out to the pier for some fish. While we were parking, we noticed the most amazing thing in the sky, this searing streak of light stretching out above us. At first we thought it was a plane and that the sun, which had just set, was picking up its exhaust and causing it to glow. But then the plane exploded into a dandelion kind of puff, holy shit, yet we could still see something up there, some smaller version of the speck we’d seen before the explosion.
This of course prompted all kinds of goofy, misinformed speculation. Maybe it was the shuttle, disengaging from the, uh, launching plane? (But don’t they launch the shuttle in Florida?) A fighter jet breaking the sound barrier? A really, really slow shooting star? Then, jesuschrist, it exploded again. Crazy. This time, we could barely see the dot that was left and its dim flight path.
We stood there, outside the restaurant, watching the dot fade and the exhaust line, or whatever it was, blow out into a pattern of zags. Then we went in and got ourselves lots of food, most of it ordered from the “From the Fryer” section of the menu (later, with my full belly poking over my pants, I decided that I should just get “From the Fryer” tattooed across my stomach in a ye olde font). We asked our waitress if she knew what was going on up there (pointing up at the sky), but she had no idea. I didn’t actually find out what it was until the next day, when I read Pamie’s account of what apparently was a test missile launch (more pics here). Great. Just a practice war drill! Didn’t we learn anything from WarGames? Or Project X? Or Max Dugan Returns?
Peter, looking guilty.
Then the three of us went for a drink at the Red Room, which is all RED inside (in accordance with the Geneva naming convention). The walls of the bar are also covered with portraits of beauty contestants, who used to stay in the hotel above the Red Room back when the Miss California contest was held in Santa Cruz, which was back before the womyn wearing dresses made of bologna and “Miss Understood” sashes arrived to protest the sexism of it all and smash vials of their blood on the steps in front of the contest hall.
Peter, me, Liz, and my seven chins at the Red Room.
After the Red Room, we headed over to the venue, which was this all-ages club with a strange pastry case in front and the rocking in back. Peter had hooked us up with BACK STAGE PASSES, which meant we got to hang out in a small room with a small group of nice people (two of which turned out to be in the band, but I’m so out of it, I didn’t realize). Of course I did my famous “talk a little too much” bit, no surprise there — much like America, I am back in business! Then we went and saw the show, which was good but dampened considerably by the comatosely stoned crowd. I’m guessing that now, four days later, they’re actually getting around to clapping. And then we drove home! Before I even went to sleep, I stuck my BACK STAGE PASS sticker to my refrigerator, my “all grown up” version of the dorm room door. The end!
Oh except, because I missed the opening band, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, whom I’m a big fan ever since they first ROCKed their way into my heart via one of the Squat CD exchange discs (thanks, Daegan, wherever, whoever, you are!), Peter was so, so nice enough to put me on the list (Liz is out of town this weekend) for the SF show the following night. I almost didn’t go, though — and this is really embarrassing, like almost “hitting bottom” embarrassing — because Young Sherlock Holmes was on TV. Right. But I managed to pry myself away and drive over to the Fillmore, where I promptly got a really cute parking spot, always a good sign. Then I got to say, “I’m on the list” at Will Call (ooh, good-bad fake name for someone in a struggling rock band, Will Call), where I discovered that Peter had double-extra nicely furnished me with a plus one. But I’d come alone! Fuck. There were all these people milling around outside, though, looking for tickets (the show was sold out), so I just handed my extra ticket to this friendly yet depressed looking guy. “How much?” he asked. “Don’t worry about it,” I got to say, “enjoy!” And the guy gave this amazing Christmas smile. That good karma is just piling up, boy — though, really, it belongs to Peter.
I went in and right away I ran into my friend Evan, from school (lots of semi-successful jokes there about how he’s just like me, only without the “why?” and somethingsomething about Y-chromosomes), who was there with his roommate, so I hung out with them for the whole show. And ohmygod was I glad I went. (Take that, young Sherlock Holmes.) The Liars, who are out of New York, had some sort of Australian accent thing going on, at least the lead singer did. He was also really tall and had hair growing out in all directions and wore tight, white, low-riding pants and did a bunch of strutting and shouting. I’m not sure if I liked the music, really, at least not enough to buy a CD. But I appreciated their vim and vinegar.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, on the other hand, were all kinds of great and I bought the shit out of their CD, you bet. They managed to churn out all this noise and energy with just a drummer, a guitarist, and a singer. And holy spit was that singer awesome. She was all retro-eighties-ed out, wearing blue tights and flowery, form-fitting dress (no Cut Loose for her), and warbling out her songs in a voice that was a little like one of the ladies from the B52s, only revved up on rage. She also popped a bottle of champagne and sprayed it out on the first few rows of the audience (just like Gallagher! or Shamu!), and then she went back stage and came out with a second bottle, which she kept to herself, chugging it back throughout the rest of the show, something that I happen to know from experience is very hard to do.
When I was fifteen, I stole a bottle of champagne from Safeway. I didn’t plan to, I just needed to pee, and on my way back to the bathroom, I stumbled across this whole open case of bottles, sitting there, sirening away. Since I was fifteen, I lifted one and brought it with me into the bathroom, where I popped it and started chugging. Only none of the champagne managed to make it down to my throat. It just kept foaming out my nose. Which was why I eventually gave up, tucked the bottle up my sleeve (What? Yeah, I don’t know how that worked, either.), and slinked out of the store, where I was promptly apprehended by security. Viva fifteen!
But the Yeah Yeah Yeas frontwoman managed to keep it all down. In fact at one point she was pounding from two bottles simultaneously. She also managed to remain standing for the entire set. That’s how ROCK she was. Yeah, yeah, yeah!
The Blues Explosion was fantastic, way better than the night before. I’m guessing a big part of it was the crowd, which was actually present, and screaming, for the entire performance. The band powered through the whole show, never pausing at all between songs (The Ramones did the same thing the time I saw them, and it just builds up the crowd into this amazing frenzy). The momentum was undeniable, pulling at you like undertow to lose yourself in the ROCK of it all. Which I did, thank you, Jon Spencer and company! Thank you, Yeah Yeah Yeahs! Thank you Peter!
PS: My doctor called with the results of all my blood tests, which I got when I went in for my annual recently (before the breathless incident, in a fit of good timing). It turns out that I’m anemic, which explains both the shortness of breath and dizziness. So you know what that means. More spinach, less food from the fryer. Stat!