Mostly translucent.

Erica and I ventured into Philadelphia on Tuesday evening to attend a performance of Telefon Tel Aviv.  It was, among many things, a trip of frustration.  What began as a nice, belated anniversary gift slowly turned into a tiring debacle.

The President was in Philly that day.  Motorcade traffic should’ve served as a bad omen.

Mapquest, for the Nth time, failed us, and we spent a good hour driving in the wrong direction.  This, too, should’ve served as a bad omen.

We made it to the venue, though, about an hour later than planned.  We met up with our friend Meg and grabbed a bite to eat at McDonald’s.  Went back to the venue (it was a bar called Kung Fu Necktie), took a seat and waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  Eight o’clock came and went, and the first opener didn’t take the stage until closer to 9.

Long story short, there were two opening acts, who I might have enjoyed had the acoustics in that place been better.  I’m not an audiophile by any measure, but I know you shouldn’t crank the bass in a small area.  The sound echoes into itself and distorts to noisy effect.  Sadly, when Telefon Tel Aviv took the stage, the sound was not corrected.  While I could hear Joshua Eustis sing, the music was drowning in itself.  By this point it was after 11.  Though I’d scheduled off the following morning, I had no intention of being out that late, and Meg had to work the next day too.  After hearing  about 5 or 6 songs, we decided it was time to call it a night.

Before we departed, I left a copy of ALT on our table.  The inscription read “Finders Keepers” along with my signature.  I’d like to think someone – be it someone who works at the bar, or a random patron – kept that book and that it’s not on its way to a landfill.  I’d like to think it’ll find its way into other hands, and so on, and that whoever has it will eventually let me know they have it.  Who knows.  There might be something in it for you if you do.

So, we left.  We said goodbye to our friend, got in the car, and started our trip home.  Except those directions failed us again.  Except there was construction, and closed ramps, and unmarked streets.  I’m not a city person.  I grew up in the country.  Even though I live 20 miles from a city, it’s not a very large city.  Not like Philly.  Big places like that make me incredibly tense.  And I hate being lost.

In the end, after getting stuck in late night construction and narrowly avoiding crossing over into New Jersey, we made it home.  At 3 AM.  While I’d hoped to go into work at the normal time to avoid missing some hours this week, I knew that, if I did go to work at the normal time, I’d be a useless zombie.  So I slept in until about 10:30, got up, dressed and went to work, thankful that I’d requested off that morning ahead of time.

I have to be honest, here.  It was a crappy evening.  I don’t mean that as disrespect to any of the performers or the venue.  It was just a confluence of circumstances that weren’t working in our favor.

We’ve spent the remainder of the week recuperating from that night.  Erica’s sick now, and I’ve been really tired with an upset stomach.  We think it was the McDonald’s that did it.

Last night I sat down to write and do a little preemptive editing, as I received more excellent feedback on Part I.  Apparently I was more tired than I thought.  I woke up about an hour later with a stiff neck.  At some point I wrote “Keep moving forward” in my notebook.  Good advice courtesy of my subconscious.  I guess I’ve no choice but to heed it.

This weekend I hope to finish chapter five.  It’s titled “In the Court of the Monochrome King,” and I’m probably going to have to cut out a minor character.  There will be blood.