September 07, 2007

When you can't buy a break.

My week so far has read like the answer to the question: what is the exact opposite, in subjective experience, of a satisfying three-day weekend?

Three days of Fiasco Week.

Tuesday was merely the warm-up. Work stressed me out and I got hit by a massive wave of homesickness, but that does not a fiasco make. I even managed to get my bike dropped off for repairs, which pleased me to no end. Cue the trumpets and curtain; the theater of the absurd begins on Wednesday.

Wednesday was information I couldn't get, things I needed to help with and didn't know how, and the absence from work of everyone I could have asked about anything. Phone calls, interruptions, panic, frustration. When my co-worker asked me if I'd had enough of the day, I said, oh yes, but I'd be fine as long as I could get my bike from the shop and go out for a nice ride to unwind. I'm convinced that my saying so is the reason that, on Wednesday afternoon, a Max train hit a semi truck in Chinatown and all trains running across the river to points including North Portland were stopped. I walked in circles looking for buses and bridges and finally walked across the river to catch a train far too late for the bike shop. Cut to the interpersonal weirdness alluded to in my last post, and thence to Thursday.

Thursday at work was fine! Compared to Wednesday, anyway. Nothing I couldn't handle. The bike shop said my bike was ready! A fun band was playing in the park blocks at lunch! The internet told me Spoon! was playing! at the Crystal Ballroom! Thursday night! OMG Spoon! It was all going to be a close thing with picking up my bike and getting tickets, but it was all going to work. I dashed from work, sprung for a $40 wristband to get into the whole weekend's worth of Music Fest NW shows, chased a Max train two stops and caught it, ran through traffic in pursuit of a bus and didn't die, and made it to the bike shop to pick up my ride. It was beautifully fixed and shiny and nice; I left it in the garage and went to eat dinner, then came back for it when it was time to leave for Spoon.

It's important to mention at this point that the things I just paid a lot of money for centered in large part around my front wheel. The bike shop dudes trued the wheel to within an inch of its life, installed a nice new sturdy puncture-resistant tire, did a tapey thing with the spoke ends so they wouldn't stab my inner tube, and, you know. Wheel stuff. That's why I was so astounded to find, two hours after my triumphant return from the shop, my front tire dead, rim-on-the-ground flat.

No time to worry about that! Spoon! playing! soon! I borrowed my roommate's mountain bike, which was comically small for me and made me feel like a little kid with my handlebars way up in the air. I zoomed over the bridge, rode in circles around the bewildering one-way downtown streets, locked up the bike in a not-too-awful place, and hustled toward the venue to discover... I had failed to reckon with concert time. Spoon playing at 11 means that the girl who runs around freaking out about her transportation and finally shows up like a jackass at 10:30 will wait, wristband or no, in a line around three sides of the block that moves one person in for every one who leaves. Which, with Spoon playing, is no one.

I have a theory now. I came up with it while glumly, Spoonlessly riding my painfully-ill-fitting borrowed bike back over the Broadway Bridge the uphill way, and thinking sadly of my sleek and properly-sized ride sitting at home with its pancake-flat tire. The universe is not against me; at this point it is simply following a policy of harm reduction. A pleasant evening, a chance to get my rock and roll on, a nice ride on my newly-repaired bike: these things could be a shock to my system this far into Fiasco Week. One does not simply yank the morphine drip from a patient who's gotten accustomed to it; presumably if one were administering a medically necessary regimen of Indian burns or scathing insults, mercy and human decency would require that it too be tapered off slowly. Hence, Fiasco Week. Clearly the only way out is through.

Posted by dianna at September 7, 2007 12:47 AM

Oh! I almost forgot. Tuesday was the day I overslept and woke up 10 minutes before I had to be at my office which is a 40-minute train ride away. That's why it qualified as part of Fiasco Week.

Posted by: Dianna at September 7, 2007 08:34 AM

What I'm about to comment on could be construed as having something to do with the above post, but in reality that's not why I'm posting it.

I was listening to Indie Pop Rocks the other day when I heard a heartbreakingly gorgeous cover of The Magnetic Fields' "Why I Cry" by Ben Gibbard (aka All-Time Quarterback). If you haven't yet heard it, you really should. Your infatuation with the Magnetic Fields is what prompted this comment, but the timing with your latest post couldn't be better.

Hope the week starts looking up. Here in Berkeley we're being inundated by ash from wildfires, which caused yesterday's sunrise to be crimson. My hatches are battened, since of course, red sky in morning, sailors take warning.

Posted by: Jacob at September 7, 2007 02:54 PM