Saturday, October 14, 2006

Oh, How I Long for the Special Skill of "Beaming Up"

I've been trying not to think too hard over the last few days just how much transportation costs me, living in Chicago. Even aside from the cost of gas, which is still a dry rape, there are a myriad ways that the City of Chicago (Richard J. Daley, Mayor) manages to stick it in. There's the much-loathed city sticker, which makes all Chicago auto owners pay $75 for the privilege of parking on the streets, when they'll usually find a way to give us a ticket for parking in even legal spots; the expense of off-street parking if one must rent it (I pay $40 per month for a space at an elementary school two blocks from my building, which I can only park in overnight and on weekends--a lifesaver on gig nights, when I may get home after 1:00 a.m., which is the only reason I took it), and the ever-increasing cost of public transportation (CTA, which stands for "Can't Travel Anywhere"), which sadly hasn't seen a noticeable increase in its quality to correspond to its rising fees.

All of these things could be spared me if I had what the folks on the Starship Enterprise had: the ionic transporter. OK, granted, there was that time when it malfunctioned and vaporized the people inside, but that was just the one time. It was usually safer than flying a plane! Now, I don't know how many earth dollars it costs to buy one of those suckers (I might have to ask Majel Barrett now that her husband, Mr. Roddenberry, is now on his own Star Trek), but I figure that after all the gas, stickers, license plate renewals and parking tickets, it would have to at least pay for itself inside three years.

This point was driven home to me (no pun intended) as I circled the block last night before the Lilly's gig, hoping desperately to find a parking spot very close to the bar. I literally got there 3 1/2 hours early just to find a decent spot, and still ended up halfway between the club and the Biograph. If I look closely, I might even find some of John Dillinger's blood on my fender. Now, this is pretty damn close, when you think about it. Really only about a block and a half.

When you're carrying a five-piece drum set with all the accessories, which necessitates about three trips, it's about a mile. Trying to cross the street at the corner where the bar is (Altgeld, I think) is a major hazard, since it's diagonal to Lincoln Ave. and people don't really watch carefully when they make sharp turns.

I contemplated how cheap and easy life would be (insert predictable joke here) if I had an ionic transporter (or whatever it's called). Especially if it had a cargo pallet and I could just stack all the drums up on it and be at my destination in an instant!

Getting home, of course, would be another matter. Unless the destination, too, had an ionic transporter. (And let's face it, this place barely has functioning restrooms. There sure as hell wasn't any soap in there, increasing the "eww" factor a bit).

Other than that, the gig went splendidly. Once I waited 10 minutes to get my drink from the Arlo Guthrie lookalike behind the bar ($4 for a fucking beer!), I was able to enjoy the first act, Kevon, a piano player. The bar is very atmospheric and cool as hell. It's an old building, with a second floor that looks down onto the main bar. You can go upstairs and listen to the bands if you like. The square footage is so small that you can pretty much hear anywhere in there (except the back of the first floor room, which my friend Devin said was full of people talking, so they couldn't hear as well).

The people (many of whom were strangers) LOVED us. We never got more compliments on our sound. A friend of Taylor's, Dan, showed up to listen, and he had a great time. Of course, I think he'd had a few rounds before he showed up, if you catch my drift! But at the end of our set (which seemed to FLY by--it did, actually, since there were so many bands that we had to keep it to under an hour), after the nerve-wracking business of packing up (such a tiny space and three band's drum gear everywhere make for not much room unscrew and take down!), Taylor and Dan were kind enough to wait with my gear outside as I went and got my car, and they also helped me load it in.

Of course, they wouldn't have had to do that if I'd had that ionic transporter. (Is there a catalog where I can at least look at one...?)

Side note: Taylor showed up two hours after I did, and got a parking spot right around the corner. Tracy showed up even later, and got a spot right across the intersection.

Is there no fucking rhyme or reason now...?


Blogger dirk.mancuso said...

I must admit I was more than a little surprised my first few times in the city and experienced the various trials and tribble-lations of parking there.

Lilly's...I have no idea where that is. I really need to get out more often. Any more Friday shows coming up? With the new Amtrak schedule, it would be easier to catch one.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

There's a potential gig on Friday, November 24 (the day after Thanksgiving), but it's very tentative, because I'm not sure who, if any, of us will be in town. I can make it back from Peoria, but I don't know if Taylor will be back from St. Louis then or not. (Tracy and Lisa hate their families, so holidays are not a conflict...:-))

We'll be updating the calendar at as more dates are added...they'll have to be after "Caged Dames," since I'll be doing shows every night Thurs.-Sun. until Nov. 19.

9:59 PM  

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