We finally made it home after the long, tedious drive from Napa. We have to make the same trip in a few days when we head up to Tahoe, and I can tell you that I’m not looking forward to it. We would have been there now except that MD has to sing in a performance of Mahler’s Third Symphony on August 16. Early on the morning of the 17th we’re out of here.
Years ago when our youngest son, Scott, was in kindergarten or the first grade, he came home from school in a huff. When we asked him what was wrong, he told us that he had had a very rude day. We thought the expression was hilarious, and it’s become part of our family lingo since. We don’t have bad days – we have rude days. And I’ve had a few rude days in a row that I feel compelled to tell everyone about.
It started last Thursday. I got a call on my cellphone from a Colorado area code. When I answered, it was a real good news/bad news call. Back in 2003 our house in Boulder was burglarized. The crooks went through every drawer, every closet, every everything. All our drawers were dumped, all the clothes in the closets were on the floor, and the house was trashed. We had all of our computers and electronic items (TVs, DVD players, stereo system, etc.) taken as well as a lot of artifacts we had collected over the years. They got a couple of guns that I had owned since I was a teenager and a bunch of casts of various hominid skulls that I had collected over the years. And they took my Gibson guitar (the best guitar I’ve ever had – it was custom made) and the 100 plus year-old, sweet-toned violin on which I had learned to play. All in all, they got about $75,000 worth of stuff, much of which was irreplaceable. The detectives from Boulder came out and fingerprinted everything and collected some cigarette butts from which they hoped to be able to extract DNA. But they told us that the testing would take forever because we were behind all the murders and rapes in the system. There was a lot of sturm and drang from the police for a bit, but in the end, no one was fingered for the crime.
The call I got last Thursday was from a detective in the Boulder County Sheriff’s office telling me that they had finally gotten a hit on the DNA from the cigarette butts. The good news was that they had found the thief (at least one of them). He had been incarcerated in the state of Washington, and upon his release had moved to Montana. The bad news was that the statute of limitations had passed, so there was apparently nothing that could be done to him. Nor could any attempts be made to find and/or collect any of our stuff that he might still have. The call just sort of rubbed salt into an old wound.
Things got worse. That same Thursday night MD and I went to a concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl. MD is a big Steve Miller Band fan and a long-time Joe Cocker fan (as well as a dedicated and devoted concert goer), and when she found out that they were both going to be performing on the same night at the SB Bowl, she sat poised with her finger on the button to get tickets as soon as they were made available. At the time it seemed so distant that I (foolishly) agreed to go with her.
The Santa Barbara Bowl is a great venue for concerts and Santa Barbara is a great venue for anything out of doors. The weather is mild, even in the middle of summer (and in the middle of winter, for that matter) and there are no bugs, so you can watch a concert outside without dripping sweat and swatting mosquitoes. I’ve been to too many of those kinds of concerts during my days in the South.
We got there and found our seats, drank a little champagne and watched the crowd shuffle in as we waited for the show to start. An interesting and diverse crowd it was. There were a lot more young people there than I would have expected along with a lot of people who were on the leading edge of the baby boom. A lot of young women scantily clad (miniskirts and short shorts, it appeared, were de rigeur) and a lot of mutton dressed as lamb. And there was a guy whom I couldn’t quit staring at who could have come in first in a Fred West look alike contest. It was eerie. I was settling in for at worst a good time simply people watching.
When Joe Cocker took the stage and the music started, however, I realized that I had made a huge mistake in agreeing to attend. First, the sound was at deafening decibel levels, and, second, Joe Cocker could barely be understood. One of his first songs was The Letter, which is my favorite Joe Cocker song, and he was at least a third of the way through the tune before I recognized it. In his best days, Joe kind of croaked and screamed out his songs, but the words were at least recognizable. Now, his voice is…I don’t want to be unkind, so let’s just say, he’s no Freddie Mercury.
And, like the rest of the population, Joe has added some weight since his youth. He’s not of Orson Welles proportions yet, but he’s well on his way. And he’s lost his hair. All changes which are kind of for the better, at least in terms of his watchability (by me, at any rate). When he was younger, all of his choreaform movements and the thing he did with his hands kind of gave me the creeps. As an older, bald, obese guy they didn’t seem nearly so bad. In fact, they somehow seemed more appropriate.
Even worse than the Cockeresque unintelligible croaking and screaming were the throngs of hemorrhoids (I call them hemorrhoids because they are a pain in the you-know-what) who all insisted on standing and swaying, totally oblivious to those behind them who didn’t particularly want to stand and sway to the croaking, yet wanted to see the stage. And, just like Joe Cocker, the hemorrhoids have aged and followed the trend of all Americans in adding avoirdupois to their frames, making them even more difficult to see around. Here is a picture of my view of the Joe Cocker portion of the concert.
Now, you may tell me that all people stand and sway to the music at concerts. Not so. Not so at all. At some concerts the ratio of hemorrhoids to others is small, at others – Gordon Lightfoot concerts, for example – the ratio is so small that it’s infinitesimal. MD and I went to the SB Bowl a few days before the Cocker/SMB concert and saw James Taylor. As you can see from the photo below (which you can click to enlarge), there was nary a hemorrhoid in sight, at least not one in front of us, which, as far as I’m concerned, is all that really matters.
The hemorrhoids to others ratio is huge at some concerts. Jimmy Buffet comes to mind. I’ve seen him a couple of times, and at the first chord of each song, all the Parrotheads jump to their feet and start to jerk and twitch. Annoying to the max. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be at a Hank Williams, Jr. concert. All I know is that I couldn’t be dragged to one with a team of horses. Other concerts are a crap shoot. MD and I saw Paul McCartney in Michigan years ago, and everyone stood the whole time, making it virtually impossible to see. Had everyone remained seated, everyone could have seen. As it was the hemorrhoids in the front, prevented people in the back from seeing the concert. We saw McCartney two more times over the years – both the later times in the South – and most of the people sat. The latter two concerts were the same music but much more civilized in terms of concert goers. So, you never know. I guess you pays your money and you takes your chances.
At least we lucked out in one category at the concert. We had good seats on the end of the row, and no one, not one single person, went in and out during the performance. I can never understand why people pay good money to go to a concert or a sporting event, then spend all their time going back and forth to the concession stand. Go to the concert or the game and sit and watch it, for God’s sake. You can eat and drink at home or during intermission or halftime. That’s my opinion, at least.
The Steve Miller Band was kind of a disappointment on a couple of fronts. First, the sound was way too loud. Don’t the people that put these things on realize that sounds in excess of a certain decibel level can damage hearing permanently. And the damage is cumulative. I don’t know what the sound level was during the SMB performance, but it was earsplitting.
Second, the band has added a new member, who is a lead singer and backup singer. He sang four or five new songs that the band has recorded, none of which sound anything like the SMB is supposed to sound. The guy has a good voice, but with him singing, it’s a different band. And, worst of all, the guy is on stage for the entire concert, and when he’s not singing, which is most of the time, he gambols around the stage doing some kind of dance that makes him look like the village idiot or worse. It is annoyingly distracting. And not just to curmudgeonly me – I heard others make the same comment.
As the concert mercifully ended and we trudged out and down the hill (the SB bowl is way up on a big hill) and the drunken chavs stumbled along (many were literally falling-down drunk), I couldn’t help but wonder how people can think it’s fun to go to a concert, have their eardrums blown out, and get knee-walking drunk. It’s a mystery to me, but God knows, a lot of people must enjoy it.
I left the concert with my ears ringing and damn glad it was over. MD left wishing she had come with anyone but me. We both dreaded that we had to get up the next morning at 4 AM to leave for Napa in order to get there in time for our meeting.
I’ll post about Napa next and the heart stopping $1400 dinner bill. I’m sorry to bore you all with my trials and tribulations of the past few days, but I’ve faithfully posted on nothing but nutritional topics for the past year. No political ruminations, no weird things I’ve found in my daily slog through the web, no nothing other than pure nutrition. So, you’ve got to indulge me on these couple of soul-cleansing blogs. It’s how I regenerate and restore my good humor.