Monday, July 11, 2005

Last minute Dinosaur Jr, also an Ode to the Hill

My friend Matthew called me at 8:30 tonight and said his friend had cancelled on him and he had an extra ticket to the sold-out Dinosaur Jr reunion concert at the 9:30 club. "I'm planning to head over in about an hour, would you like to come?"

I was sitting in my red velvet armchair with my feet up, staring at leafy trees rustling out my window, drinking tea, and brimful with inertia. "Thanks Matthew, but I'm a bit tired."

"No problem. Give me a call if you change your mind."

Immediately after I hung up I realized that I'd broken a solemn vow I'd made to myself: never to turn down a potentially fun invitation, just because I'm feeling lazy (unless I have a good excuse like sickness or an important appointment to rest for). Just like the True Love Waits teen chastity movement, I believe a good vow is meaningless if you break it the first time it's a little inconvenient. So I called Matthew back and told him I would come.

At nine thirty I jumped on my bike and zipped down the hill* to the club. While I was waiting outside for Matthew, a guy came up to me and handed me two of his extra tickets. "Here you go, take these," he said, and dashed inside.

It seems that Dinosaur Jr tickets have a habit of multiplying like rabbits. Just an hour ago I hadn't had any, and now I had three of the little creatures in my possession. I gazed warily at the tickets in my hand lest they multiply again.

I had the curious problem of unloading two $30 tickets to a sold-out rock concert, at 10pm on a Monday night. I called around to all my friends who lived in the area but didn't get in touch with anyone except Marcella, who was already at the Black Cat.

When I'm trying to decide whether to become friends with someone, I usually apply the following mental test. I imagine being shipwrecked with them on a desert island. When we begin to seriously starve, will the person pick up an axe from the wreckage and murder me for food? If I am pretty sure the person would never do such a thing, I know they'd be a good friend. Although this is the most important test, I suppose a good auxiliary would be to imagine how the person would respond if contacted at 10pm on a Monday night with an offer of free tickets to a Dinosaur Jr show.

The concert was rockin', by the way, and Matthew and I took it in turns giving each other piggy-back rides so that we could see better. J. Mascis shook his grey ponytail all around, and pounded his guitar, although he kept spelling out the band's name: "D-I-N-O-S-A-U-R Jr." I have no idea why; perhaps he's started a family since the band broke up, and he's in the habit of spelling things in front of kids.



Dear Columbia Heights Hill,
I have been riding my bike up and down you at least once a day
for more than a year.
Like my former roommate Jamia you have a lot of different outfits:
Connecticut, 19th, 18th, 16th, 14th, 13th, and 11th.
Every street looks a bit different on you:
Connecticut is wide and full of cars,
19th is short and steep and passes by Mehr's house,
18th is longer and more gradual, studded with restaurants and evolutionary experiments.
(17th doesn't go all the way.)
16th is steep, borders Meridian Hill Park, and is full of zooming buses, so after my accident I've always ridden my bike on the sidewalk.
(15th doesn't go all the way).
14th is not so steep...
but 13th, right next door, is vertiginous, with a downhill slope after you get up to the top (what a waste!)
(12th doesn't go all the way)
11th is about as steep as 14th, but has more potholes.
I usually ride down you in the mornings and what a joy you are then! My bike picks up speed until there's no traction on the wheels even on the highest gear, and I lift my arms in the air and grin against the wind in my face.
But unfortunately in life it seems you cannot zoom downhill all the time.
I have ridden up you in all weather: crisp spring, humid summer, pouring rain, snow, windy cold with lashing leaves.
I have ridden up you in all moods: happy energetic with legs pumping, sick and crabby feeling heavy, lamenting too-sore muscles from a yoga class, enjoying the rush of blood to work-dulled muscles, with an empty belly anticipating the meal I'll cook at the top of you, with a too-full belly from a happy hour, tipsy and swerving, heart pounding on the way to Martin's house.
I have ridden up you in all accoutrements: work clothes, yoga clothes, frilly dresses from going out, with shopping bags from Whole Foods dangling from the handlebars.
When I first climbed up you while shopping for apartments I didn't know you were going to be there (my MapQuest printout hadn't labelled you) and you seemed unreasonably long and steep.
Now you just seem like a little hill.
Sometimes I resent you, sometimes I dread you, but mostly I love you.
Going up and down you is part of my yoga practice.


Blogger Hustleman said...

Nice ode to that hill. It's always amazed me how different 14th and 16th Street are. My ex girlfriend lives on Meridian Street between the two, and it's like night and day LOL. On 16th, she can go jogging and walk home in the evenings with no problem. On 14th, it's all kinds of seedy characters on the street all hours of the day.

4:24 AM  
Blogger pat said...

ah, I bike that hill too, though not nearly so often. a lovely ode, and more forgiving than I am - though I save my real hilly vitriol for the martha custis trail in arlington. curses!

7:10 AM  
Blogger John Holt said...

So THAT'S what your message meant last night!! I had no idea what you were talking about??!

Can't wait to see you Saturday!

Love k

9:27 AM  
Blogger zzzzzoe said...

Waveline - yeah - I thought I remembered you telling me that you were going to Dinosaur Jr with your dad! So I kept peering over the railings at the concert searching the crowd for two very tall rowdy people waving drinks...

12:30 PM  
Blogger Elise said...

I was at the show too. What was up with all the tall people? I've never been to a concert where it was so hard to see. I missed J Mascis spelling out Dinosaur. It was kind of hard to hear in there.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Elise said...

Wait a minute! I went with my dad, too! What's with people seeing this show with parents?

9:11 AM  
Blogger zzzzzoe said...

was it ever loud! I was wearing earplugs and my ears were still I *wish* I could have taken my dad - but his reaction would have been, "This is a waste of time. I would rather sit in my living room at home and listen to the genius intricacies of Beethoven on my finely-calibrated hi-fi stereo system." ;)

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