Tuesday, November 20, 2001

These apples are delicious...

On my way in to work this morning I rearended a car. It was scary, but, it could have been a lot worse.

It was pouring out, and I was coughing (yes, coughing. My ass off. Trying not to pee my pants), and I looked up and saw her brakelights on. I hit my brakes, the anti-lock mechanism did its thing, had me skidding along, and then thump. I hit her.

We pulled over, and examined our cars. My license plate is slightly bent. There was no mark at all on her car, I didn't hit her that hard, it was more like a kiss. We shook on it and walked away. She was on her way to get a cast removed off her left hand from an accident she was in 2 months ago where she rearended someone, so she thought it was kind of amusing in a way. I followed her to her doctor's office, it was near my office, and we waved goodbye.

I'm sure she memorized my plate in her rearview mirror and I'll receive some sort of something in the mail saying she's got whiplash and she'll sue my ass. Or, perhaps, I'll be that lucky and I'll never hear from her. We shall see. Like I said, it could have been worse. Here's the entry I started yesterday, wrapping my 35th birthday bonanza up for those unable to attend:

November 19, 2001. Happy Birthday to me.

I came into the office to about 10 blue mountain cards in my inbox. I gotta love the fact that all my nerdy friends are so online and hooked up. They all made me smile... thank you all very much (and I know you are reading this...)

Okay so my last entry made me cry my ass off for a day. Writing about people you lose at a time when you should be celebrating life and joy is a bittersweet dose of reality. Death is part of life, and thinking of others who have gone before is just a testimony to the fact that while you live and live well, you still are aware of the inevitable and the loss.

On that note, let's talk birthday.

We went to Maine on Saturday, got there in the afternoon and hung out with Wayne and the kiddies, my son looks upon their 4 year old as his absolute best friend on earth, he is hard to drag away, and it is heartwrenchingly painful when it is time to leave. While we are there though they get on like a house on fire, and have a blast.

Jessica and Natalie disappear into their world of girl makebelieve, or Girltopia as they call it. They even have hats they wear celebrating their girltopianess. The hats are sofa armrest slipcovers. They look almost Masonic as they regally march about the house.

Doug and I went to the BNL concert Saturday night, leaving the kids with they Hydes and Eric Gustafson, also known as E to me and the Hydes. E is another friend from college whom I adore and wish we saw more often. He is so sweet and funny. The girls have him wrapped around their fingers, and he had an origami book and spent hours folding them any animal they begged. So with the shorties fully taken care of and in trusted hands, we were off to the Cumberland County Civic Center, in Portland, where BNL rocked our asses off.

When we got to the area where our seats were, the usher directed us up. Section U, row 24. We walked up the stairs and the section only has 23 rows. So we studied our tickets, yup, row 24... No row 24 to be found though. Confused, we decided that we would sit in the open air booth where the hockey announcers sit. There were 8 chairs up there, so we decided this must be row 24. We had a counter to lean on, and no one next to us, no one obstructing our view... it actually was pretty damn nice. If we'd wanted, we could have snuck up into the catwalk, but we quashed our desire to do so.

The opening act was horrifyingly lame. We got there after they got on stage and when they got off they didn't say their name, so we still have no idea who they are. They were there from San Francisco, and the crowd was underwhelmed by them.

The thing I didn't understand about them was that the girl lead singer person kept changing guitars... between every song the guitar tech brought her a different guitar. All the songs sounded like they were in the same key, so it wasn't for tuning. Once it was an electric guitar, then a 6 string, then 12, then back to 6, then the electric again.

Thing was, she barely played any of them. It wasn't like she needed guitar changes. She'd play two chords, strum strum and then sing and then jump around like she was trying to rock out. It was pretentious and annoying after a while. The lead guitarist did a great job, he also did keyboards, and they had a nice 80s style keyboard old INXS kind of thing going at one point. He was cool... and the drummer rocked... but they were overall super lame.

BNL took the stage and the place ERUPTED. "Old Apartment." Roof falling in. Walls shaking. Steve jumping around like a rock star, kicking in the air, rocking out totally, climbing up on the boxes beside the stage to sing out into the audience as if he were on the catwalk. The fans were insane.

The band played selections from just about every album, there was only one song that I didn't recognize, and I have all the albums. It could be off the new Greatest Hits album (which they made a big deal of, obviously) and I will become familiar with it as soon as I have it in my grubby little hands.

They played the intro that they use on "Rock Spectacle" to "These Apples," and then went into "Jane" which confused the audience greatly, but it was very funny. And Steven Page -- man alive, that bastard sure can sing. Holy Cow, you can totally tell that he went to music camp growing up (that's where he and Ed met... band camp). His stage presence is amazing. I'd love to see him in a Broadway musical. When he sings "Break Your Heart," and is at the part where he goes from singing softly to screaming ("You arrogant man, what do you think that I am? My heart will be fine, just stop wasting my time, AND NOW I Know that you will be okay, and that I got what I want, and that's rid of you. Goodbye.") he sings it like a torch song almost, so theatrical, so full. Ugh. Amazing.

They japed around a lot, the way BNL does. They made up a rap song about driving around in a car that is started by the key to the city, which they got from the mayor of Portland the last time they were there. They also talked a lot about the Lord of the Rings. Ed confessed that he can't wait for the movie but doesn't remember the story, but the hell he's gonna read 3000 pages again... so he just got the same BBC series that Doug and Jessica took across country with them so he can listen to the story and get his memory refreshed. He also said that Tyler Stewart should have been cast as one of the hobbits, "you should see how hairy HIS feet are!"

The audience was so super nerdy, and clean. So different than the DMB show where everyone was in college and drunk or stoned off their asses. There were full families there, little kids as young as five walking around. It amazed me. I don't know if I'd bring Geoff out to an arena show yet, he's a little young, but Jessica I would totally take to BNL.

The great thing about this show was one girl in the front row of the audience. We were high up on Steve's side of the stage so everyone on Ed's side was visible to us. She must have been in her early 20s if that, and she had on a Harry Potter style wizard hat. She wore glasses and had a green T-shirt on that said "I love" something that I couldn't read. She was the queen of all the nerds. And she was so in her element. So loving being there. She danced and danced and sang every song. I noticed her about three songs into the show, and I said to myself as I watched her dance Jessica's Pattented Hammerhands Dance, "Oh my God, that's my daughter in 10 years." So I nudged Doug and pointed her out. He started laughing immediately and I knew he saw the same thing. Totally Jessica.

I wanted to find that girl after the show, I wanted to tell her that I loved her. I was proud of her, and so happy to see her be so incredibly happy. I really did... and Doug said to me "go home and tell the person who she reminds you of those things..." so I did.

We went to dinner after the show at a Mexican joint right across from the Civic Center. The margaritas were amazing, but my quesadilla had velveeta cheese on it. Well, that's Maine for ya, I guess.

We got home after midnight. Everyone was in bed except E who was sort of waiting up for us. He was sleeping out in the yard, not for lack of place to sleep but because he wanted to see all of the Leonid meteor shower that was coming that morning. He didn't want to miss any of it... so he had a tent and sleeping bag and the whole nine yards out there to lay out in the field and watch. Wayne got up at about 4am, and thought about waking us up, but decided against it. Kinger barked when he was in the living room and woke me up, so by the time I had gotten up to pee and got my bearings about me, I'd decided to go out too. I took the dogs out with me, and joined E and Wayne out there, and sat for over an hour watching the show. It was amazing. There were some that lit the whole yard up like fireworks, but by the time we turned our heads to see them they were gone. It was the second coolest night of stargazing I'd ever done, the first was out in Oregon one night, but I'll write about that another time. I went inside at about 5 because I couldn't take the cold any more, and E told me that the "finale" of this fireworks show was about 15 minutes after I'd gone in. Oh well. it was still cool.

E thought it was incredibly cool that the last time this meteor display was so strong was November 18, 1966, the day before my birth. He thought it was special that in my lifetime I was welcomed by the meteor shower and 35 years later was able to share it with friends. I thought that was cool. When we left to come home I told them that I'd always think of them when I saw wicked cool shooting stars. E and Wayne laughed and agreed they'd think of me as well. Thank you Leonid meteor shower for being the celestial display for my weekend, and thank you God for the clear skies and the lack of a stiff breeze so we could sit out and enjoy.

I didn't wake Doug up, because earlier in the day he'd totally scoffed at us for wanting to get up at 4am and go sit out in the cold. So I pretty much interpreted that as him not wanting to participate. He can be sort of brusk that way, and I figured he thought we were stupid so I wouldn't make the effort. He was pissed at me in the morning when he found out I went out there and didn't wake him up. I told him that he'd made it clear that he didn't want to... and Wayne said "Yeah, your negativity came back to bite you. Sometimes it does!" and we laughed at him. Ha. He got over it though, but I realize that sometimes he is a sarcastic jerk and I interpret his sarcasm as his actual thought. I should have told him I was heading out at least, and invited him and given him the chance to refuse rather than just going. But whatever, it's past now.

Marcia baked me a really nice cake yesterday afternoon and they sang happy birthday to me, and we feasted on it and were filled with the joy of cake and icecream. Then it came time for the parting. Geoff was his usual drama queen self, and Natalie was very sad to lose her Jessica (it was painful when I looked back into the kitchen and she had her chin on the dining table, colored pencil in hand, as I'd ripped her Jessie away from them in mid-coloring...) and we got everyone and the left over cake crammed into the car for the ride home.

I had a half day at the office today due to Jessica's parent/teacher conference in the afternoon. I had big plans for the afternoon, but this cold has worn me out, and with the added lack of sleep on Sunday morning, I felt that I needed a nap. So Jessie got invited to Megan's to check out the new kitten, and I slept like a big fat warm sleeping thing for 3 hours. Doug and Geoff went out and bought me birthday gifts. I didn't expect anything, I thought the concert was my gift, but much to my amazement and surprise, Doug goes and buys stuff. I got: A book by Michael Chabon called "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" his latest; the full Fawlty Towers collection, all 12 episodes from the hotel reviewer to the hamster "Basil...;" "Black Adder V, Back and Forth," Douglas feeding my BritCom addiction wholeheartedly here; a dozen pale pink roses; and dinner out at Joe Fish in North Andover... all told, between meteors and roses, BNL and Bl'adder, I'm feeling this is the best birthday in a long time. Memorable on so many accounts.

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