Ryan and the Technicolor Wardrobe
Short Stories and Essays

I ended up seeing Fiona Apple at The Greek Theatre because Jessica just happened to have an extra ticket.  It’s not that I don’t like Fiona or going to shows at The Greek, it’s that the ticket price had scared me off.  She let me go for free and little did either of us know that I would end up paying it forward just a few weeks later with a free Wilco ticket for the Hollywood Bowl.  The whole chain of events was so serendipitous that we managed to not hit any major traffic on our commute from Orange to Los Angeles, AND we managed to find a free parking spot not too far from the venue.  We had to walk up a hill, but it was a small price to pay for not having to pay for inconvenient stacked parking and we had the companionship of some scotch that we had poured into some red Solo cups.

I decided to buy a carafe of wine at the show, and by a carafe, I mean a bottle that’s poured into a plastic carafe so you won’t have a glass bottle for a weapon later in the evening.  I wasn’t hungry, but I was basically drinking on an empty stomach, so by the time the opening act had finished, I realized that I needed something to eat, and in my poor judgment, I thought getting some popcorn would be enough sustenance to tide me over until we could grab a bite after the show.  So I left my seat, stumbled into a line and proceeded to buy a tub of popcorn, but not before I stared at some video screens that told me that I could buy tickets with no service charges at the box office and that the box office would still be open for another half an hour.  I hatched a plan to not only buy some popcorn, but to also buy some Grizzly Bear tickets without having to pay Ticketmaster service charges.  I was a genius.

Even though I was definitely not in the most sober state, I was cognizant enough of my situation to ask a security guard if I would be allowed back into the venue if I were to go to the box office.  He told me that he wasn’t sure, so I asked him: “Why would they tell me that I can buy tickets without service charges and that the box office is still open until 9?  I’m trying to give you guys more money!” This prompted him to find his supervisor so he could ask for permission to go to the box office on my behalf, and quickly thereafter, I was stumbling towards a box office window, popcorn still in tow, on the prowl for some Grizzly Bear tickets.

When I returned to my seat, Jessica asked me what took me so long to get the popcorn.  I told her “I think I just bought some tickets for the Grizzly Bear show.”  She shook her head both amused and slightly embarrassed.  “Who are you going to take to the show?”  She wasn’t passive aggressively hinting to me that she wanted to go, in fact, Jessica kind of hates Grizzly Bear.  She was asking because she was anticipating a certain answer out of me.

“Chris, probably.”

“Of course.”

Chris isn’t my “goto” person when it comes to shows.  In fact, that would be Jessica, which is kind of strange since Chris had hook ups to get us in to a lot of shows for free since he used to work at various box offices.  He’s used those connections more than a few times for us and I’m forever grateful for that, but we definitely didn’t go to as many shows as you would expect from two guys who love live music and have access to concerts all over Southern California.  Chris does carry a certain distinction with concerts that no one in my life can also stake claim to, not even Jessica.  Chris has seen the “Holy Trifecta” of music with me: Pavement, Radiohead, and Wilco.  This has been no easy feat, since Pavement have been broken up for all but one year since Chris and I have known each other and Radiohead tickets are never easy to get.  There are a couple of people that have seen two of the holy trinity with me, but Chris stands alone as the sole person who’s seen the trifecta.

So while Chris may not be the default person in my mind for just any show, Jessica knew he would be the default person for the Grizzly Bear show for a variety of reasons.  We both knew that she wouldn’t want to go, Chris has seen Grizzly Bear with me before, and probably most importantly, Grizzly Bear may be my favorite band to come out that didn’t exist until after 90s, so if Pavement is now defunct forever, then Grizzly Bear might be the heir to their place trifecta, so who better to be there for that coronation than Chris?  Of course, for those who don’t love the music we do or as much as we do, this is all but a foreign language, a folk tale spun out of control.  It can be simply explained as me needing one of my best friends to bail me out by going to a show I drunkenly bought some tickets for when I was only supposed to be getting popcorn, and that it oddly means a lot to me.

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