28
Feb
11

$100/hr parking FTW

Pardon the internet shorthand, I only wish to get right to the point with how tremendously adversarial the forces of the universe were last Friday night before the Glassjaw concert. I touched on it with my review (click here) but the world was seriously out to get me.

I moved down to Long Beach without more than a sniff of the local terrain: I’ve been to Coachella half a dozen times, Disneyland twice, and that’s it. I don’t know my way around anything as I’ve never casually strolled through Sunset Blvd or down Rodeo Drive, and I certainly don’t bring any sense of direction to the table as it took me 18 years to map out my hometown just in time for me to move away for college. When preparing for a trek into the City of Angels, I rely on technology to give me a sneak peak into the world of motor vehicles I am about to enter. GPS, traffic view, maps, alternate routes, and lots of cursing went into figuring out my path.

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t pretty.

You could pick any direction and still feel the pain of joining the ant farm that is the 405, 110, 710, 5, or 60. I was entering from the south, but some friends suggested a jetpack might be the way to go instead. I concur.

The first rain of the week decided to start that day, with temperatures hitting sub 40 degrees and I was driving to a venue I’d never visited along a path I’d never traveled in rain I’d never experienced thus far. The wipers were going as fast as they could as I predictably turned the radio down to focus on the task at hand. I guffawed at the audactiy of vehicles that had yet to turn on their lights or drivers going way faster than I would even on a dry night. When I finally got nearby, I did what any poor concert goer does: find free parking. Apparantly I’m not the first to try and use nearby residential areas to leave my car, as every curb within a 5 block radius (in all four directions) was a “No Parking after 6pm” zone. After parking there and relaxing until the show started, I left my car to realize the spot I had chosen was one such “No Parking, idiot” zones and I then had to find another one quickly.

I pulled into the exit of what looked to be an exclsive strip club, asked if parking was free and was told “No. It’s actually very expesnive.” I was confused, but left before being killed. I pulled into another lot, not twenty feet away that had a giant “PUBLIC PARKING” sign guiding me in.

Public? That’s me! Parking? That’s what I need! Success!

I pulled into stall 47 and noticed a small unmarked car pulled up right behind me. I got out of my car, trying not to dawdle while being poured upon, and went to the pay station to make sure my car wouldn’t be towed. I saw it was only a dollar an hour, so I put in 5 bucks just to be sure. After getting my ticket, it said my space was only good until 8:30 and my phone (Who wears watches anymore?) told me it was 8:27. Awesome.

I take my soaked ass back to my car, where the creeper is still creeping behind me, and get behind the wheel. I was ready to just knock on someone’s door and give them the plight of the poor journalist who only needs a place to park and if they would be so kind to lend their driveway….nah, i couldn’t do that.

Driving out of the lot, I notice that car never moved an inch and I needed to push the thought of getting a ticket for parking for 3 minutes out of my mind before I would road rage my way into an accident. I said “Screw it, I’m just going straight for awhile” out loud and did just that. Ten minutes later, I end up back on the same street I parked on and thought was safe a half an hour before. Turns out, I had to get one more block past the 5 block radius to find the safest spot to park. Sure, I had to walk to the venue in the rain and was freezing before the overwhelming heat that an indoor show provides. The kind of heat that makes you curse bringing a sweater in the first place, until the show is over and you head outside back into the grueling downpour. Ugh.

Speaking of freezing, I made life even worse for myself by helping myself: I needed some water before I hopped into the show and decided to stop at a Staples right near the venue and buy some bottled water. The bottle was so goddamn cold and the rain squeezed its way into the purified bottle between sips. I didnt care that I was matching the elements voluntarily as I needed water.

I finally made it to the venue, got shit for having a camera, didn’t get searched, got shit at the will call for not having my name attached to a photo pass (even though all I was asking for was the ticket waiting for me), got shit for my camera before I entered the front door, got shit for my camera when I finally got in, and then found a spot for my two size 13 shoes to cement for the next three hours.

I have a tough time getting the phrase “I’m a journalist” out of my mouth. It, to some people, means a whole lot of training, preparation, and most importantly, school work, went into the final decision to dub myself a journalist. No institution has decreed me as such and no mentor or professor has given me a three year mastership program to work my way through, but I think titles are determined via behavior more than image. These sorts of the nights, like the one I just described, gives me some credibility. The types of trips that make my cat go nuts whe I get home, sniffing all the smells and textures that the cuff of my jeans have brought home with me, tells me I interacted with my community. The death-defying freeway maneuvering and unfamiliar terreign navigation reinforce that notion. The ability to do a job in the face of the unknown and still see it through adds rings to my journalism stump.

I’m not a cop or a doctor, but I think writing is an important cultural cornerstone that way too many think they can do just because they are able to spell and put verbs and nouns in the same sentence. And the point here is that it’s not just writing: it is preparation (both materially and mentally), it is dedication, insight, and instinct to capture the right moments.

I attended my first press conference the day before the Glassjaw show and had absolutely no idea what I was doing there, but I sat down, shut up, and learned from my peers. Next time, I’l be a bit more aggressive in landing interviews or being noticed because ain’t nobody gonna go “Hey, let me stop what ‘m doing to talk to this bald guy!”

Either way, work is tough no matter what profession you choose and doubly so if you actually give a shit about the task at hand. I just hope the task is around the corner next time so I can leave the car at home and walk instead.

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