I like to think about fond memories from the past pretty often, I think everyone does. So here is one of those memories.
A few years ago one of my good friends living right out of Chicago bought us tickets to see NIN on their farewell tour at this massive outdoor arena right next to Lake Michigan. It was May, and i woke up that morning, double checked my backpack for my essentials such as toothbrush, phone charger, security blanket, ipod, clothes, my now favorite David Sedaris book “When You are Engulfed in Flames” and a water bottle that was a gift from work that i used to put a strong mixed vodka drink in for after the show. Hey, a girl needs to be prepared.
I made it to the train station about 15 minutes before the train arrived and boarded. Taking a train for a few hours by yourself with a book and some music is a very therapeutic experience i recommend everyone try at some point. I mean, once you get over the anxiety of deciding where to sit and are sure you aren’t taking someone’s seat while they are in the bathroom, the people watching quality is amazing. A very wide variety of people take the trains. I like to come up with a little back story for the more odd ones, and anyone in a suit is clearly a business professional on their rushed way to one of their many meetings and doesn’t know if they’ll be able to make it home on time to cook dinner, so they’ll probably just pick something up.
I read my book, listened to my music and spaced out.
Once at the train station i found out my friend was running a bit late with traffic as she was coming straight from work to meet me, so i found a bar in Union Station (the only bar i noticed) that had a light up sign that advertised air conditioning and this being May in Chicago, i liked them already. I found a small table by a glass window that separated the bar from the station and a very nice waitress took my order for a long island iced tea. I figured why not, i’m on a mini vacation, i can pretend to be this confident person who can have a drink by themselves and read a book. And i did, and it was great. I ended up having two drinks before my friend arrived, and i had the privilege of listening to a seemingly crazy man at the bar rant and rave about really nothing to anyone who would listen, and the nice waitress would give me a little smile and a roll of her eyes about him when she saw me look over.
Once my friend arrived, we decided to head to the park to get some lunch and get ready to wait in line for over an hour in the heat. Being a server means i usually have some random condiment in my purse at all times and for once the random mustard and mayonnaise packets i had came in handy for our turkey wraps. Then the waiting began. That part was really boring.
Once in we had amazing standing spots just two rows from the front, the opening act was Street Sweeper Social Club. I didn’t know of them before the show, but upon realizing i was mere feet from Tom Morello and his amazing guitar and skills i was hooked. They are a truly talented band and everyone should give them a try!
Once NIN hit the stage, it was basically all over. I have anxiety as it is, so you can only imagine how it felt to have the crowd literally rush and push forward so tightly i couldn’t raise my hands from my sides. My friend is only about 5′ tall, a good 6-7 inches shorter than me, but she sure knows what to do. There was a line of “frat boys” behind us who linked their arms and tried to help keep the crowd from pushing everyone down. At this point it felt like the bottom half of my body was going one direction and the top half the other, and stories of people being crushed during concerts flooded my head. My friend grabbed my arm and told me to push and follow her, and an older man saw and helped us get out of that area. We found a safer spot still in a really good line of sight by the side. After that, the fun continued!
When the show ended and we had already made a mad dash to one of the nastiest, most busy public bathrooms you can imagine in a parking garage, we set up camp listening to music from her car and sitting in the empty space next to it, waiting for the traffic to die down. I got out my water bottle and had a few drinks, already exhausted from the day in general. When we got back to her apartment it wasn’t very long until we were both passed out from the long day.
The next morning she took me to the train station, we said good bye and i was back on my way home. The only really confusing thing was that morning i had a hell of a time finding her toothpaste. I mean, you keep it on the sink by the brushes right? I found something, i dunno what kind of toothpaste it was but it worked.