Friday, February 19, 2010

Making Lemonade

There is a popular quote, “When life hands you lemons make lemonade.” Well…on Tuesday, life didn’t so much hand me lemons as much as it threw them at my unsuspecting face. And I don’t really feel like making lemonade because some of the lemons are still orbiting, waiting to make their final attack. So instead of making a delicious beverage I am going to follow another famous quote, “When life throws lemons at your head blog about it and then curl up and take a nap.”

Tuesday was supposed to be an adventure, the type of adventure where the participants travel to a far away land on the back of a unicorn to find a wonderful feast waiting for them. It was not supposed to be the type of adventure where the participants travel through the worst weather possible, get lost in a jungle, get chased by cannibalistic tribesmen (tribesmen who wear nothing but loin clothes and want to eat your pet dog named Snickers), trip over a log and sprain their ankles, get to the feast late, find out they don’t have a seat, and then only get to eat scraps of the wonderful feast that is being held. Then they finally arrive home after a three hour car ride in a blizzard they realize they left their camera in the coat check back at the feast. This adventure I am talking about was a Switchfoot concert in Chicago. And there weren’t really any half naked tribesmen but there might as well have been.

The drive to Chicago was actually pretty pleasant. We didn’t get lost at all and I found out that Shamrock Shakes are back at McDonalds. The only down side to this part of the trip was that I had to listen to country music AND a Josh Groban Christmas CD because I was out voted by the three girls that accompanied me. The problems started as we approached Chicago. It was rush hour, which means we saw old men with walkers passing us on the expressway. We finally found our exit and GPS took over (by GPS I mean Brittany Marshall’s sense of direction in the otherwise confusing concrete jungle that is down town Chicago). She gave me all the right directions, I just missed them. And every time I had to loop back around because of one way streets stress level rose. We finally decided to leave our car in a parking lot that doubled as a McDonalds. It cost $12 an hour to park there but if you bought food you got one free hour. After parking and leaving the car and walking a couple blacks we decided it was to expensive to park at the McParksalot and moved the car to a Walgreens where parking was free but not allowed for long periods of time. We risked it anyway.

We finally made it to the House of Blues where the concert was at about 7:15pm (It actually started at 7:00pm). When we entered the HOB we were frisked and the security guard found that I was concealing a camera (which for some ridiculous reason was banned from the concert). So he made me pay $5 to check my camera at the coat check where a lady who had already had too much to drink and could barely speak English handed me a ticket to remind me to pick up my belongings. I put the ticket in my wallet and moved on. As we climbed the 18 flights of stairs it takes to reach the venue we started to hear the screams of a dying cat mixed with the crying of 2 year old with a harmonica stuck in her wind pipe. When we reached the top we realized that the sound was actually coming from the opening band called “Paper Tongues.” There were no seats, and there was no standing room left within sight of the stage so we wondered around until the screaming stopped and I bought a t-shirt and a CD. We finally found a spot to stand right behind a giant pillar where we had to watch most of the concert on a 19” LCD screen and were constantly distracted by dozens of flashes from the cameras no one were supposed to have.

Switchfoot was amazing! And the lead singer Jon Foreman almost made up for our horrendous view by climbing around the old opera house like a cat with monkey fingers and a really good health insurance policy. They played almost every song of their new album “Hello Hurricane” and even left time for the older unforgettable Switchfoot anthems like “Gone” and “Dare you to Move”. Our eyes were blocked from seeing most of the show by four elderly men trying to reclaim their youth by head banging and some sort of seizure dancing but our ears were reminded that Switchfoot is one of the most talented, creative, and entertaining bands touring today. (If you haven’t picked up their new album you should be ashamed of yourself.) I would not recommend seeing a popular band in concert at the House of blues because they just don’t have the capacity or enough good site lines to be considered a great venue.

When the concert ended and Switchfoot took their final bows we made a dash for the exits because we were all tired of standing on our toes trying to get a glimpse of Foreman swinging his guitar above his head and we desperately desired the comfortable seats of the Malibu. Also, we were all secretly racing back to the Walgreens in hopes that we would get there before our car was towed. On our way out I ran right past the now fully drunk Asian lady at the coat check with my ticket still out of sight in my right butt pocket. We got back to the car a pulled away from the Walgreens before anyone stopped us and charged us for parking. We got out of the city quickly enough but it was on the expressway that I made a navigational error. I exited the expressway 60 miles before I was supposed to. (To bad GPS, a.k.a. Brittany Marshall, doesn’t work out side of Chicago.) I was on the right road, just way to early. So instead of cruising down I-94 at 70 mph we were stuck behind a livestock truck on a back country road going 40.

When we got past Michigan City the blizzard hit. Apparently, cutting out Indiana’s snow plowing budget was the way the state battled unemployment this year because none of the roads (expressways or back roads) had been touched. And if they had it was by a teenager with two ice skates stuck to sideways to the bottom of his car. I am thankful for those two ice skates because they made enough of a two track for me to tell which way the road was turning. It took us 3.5 hours to complete a trip that should have only taken 2 hours. When we got home I realized our camera was still with the Asian lady in Chicago and didn’t care enough to lose any sleep over it.

So here I sit three days later drinking Sprite because I’m to bitter to make real lemonade and holding a coat check ticket that is worth the price of my camera + the cost of shipping that camera from Chicago to Elkhart + the $5 I spend to check the camera in the first place all the while thinking that a glass of lemonade actually tastes pretty good right now and that a nap isn’t really necessary. I was in a bad mood Tuesday because the concert didn’t go the way I thought it would. Today, I am laughing at myself because of all the stupid errors I made that caused the concert to not go the way I expected it to. Sometimes stressful situations make us realize that the lemons life threw at us were actually lemonade the whole time and that God was splashing us in the face to wake us up and help us take ourselves less seriously. ‘Cause once you get past the stinging in your eyes, being splashed in the face with lemonade is actually pretty funny. Thanks for reading!

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