I’m a strong believer in karma. I think the universe abhors a vacuum, which is good when it comes to my belief that every no you hear means you are one step closer to a Yes, but bad when it seems as though the universe sets forth a correction in a strong series of calamities.
Last week, the Midwest had a cyclone. This is apparently different than a tornado that sent Dorothy to Oz, but rather basically an inland hurricane. Shit was flying everywhere. Pieces of roofs blocked streets. The first day of the storm, I had the strong misfortune of NEEDING to go into the office, because the fan on my laptop was frying out again, so I absolutely had to go out in the wind. On my way to work, I dropped the puglet off at her daycare and the wind ripped my car door out of my hand, bending the hinges. I groaned, because it’s happened before, at that same spot (it’s in an industrial park, so the wind just howls through there) but then when I opened the back door to get Ave out, the wind grabbed and bent the hinges on that door as well. Awesome. On my drive in, I realized that I had been stupid to take one of the big bridges, because semis were having a hard time staying in their lanes, and even the Murano was doing its best impression of an air hockey puck.
I ran into the building, noting that more people than usual had parked in my usual spot. I was in the office for about thirty minutes and managed to spray myself with Kool-Aid while I was shaking it in my faux Sigg. Then an e-mail was sent out to everyone stating that we weren’t supposed to be parked in the place where I was parking. Oh. Apparently they had changed the parking heirarchy and didn’t note it the last time they sent out a parking reminder. Ok, fine, I won’t park there again. Except then the receptionist made an announcement stating that everyone parked in the rogue spots had to go and move their cars RIGHT THAT MINUTE WE ARE NOT KIDDING DO IT.
Go out into the hurricane. Awesome sauce.
I nabbed my keys out of my purse and listened to people around the cube farm excuse themselves off of conference calls to go move their cars, for the love of Pete! It was a company-wide walk of shame, complete with a maintenance guy standing out in the parking lot with his arms folded, making sure that we complied with the evacuation order. Everyone was pissed, and at least two people moved their cars to OTHER illegal spots (basically some tenants of our building get huge numbers of very close spots that they never use, leaving the rest of the day-to-day people to walk past those rock star spots to get to a much further door. Totally a Haves and Have Nots situation that has generated an obscene amount of bitterness, particularly in the winter when we also have to deal with a haphazardly-cleared icy parking lot) in defiance.
I was similarly pissed so I decided that since I was out in my car anyway, I would swing through Starbucks and nab some coffee. Fuck the Man! And my devious plan would have worked brilliantly except that after the barissta had made my drink and handed me a piece of Lemon Loaf I realized that, oh, yeah, I didn’t have a purse and the Starbucks card that lives on my dashboard only had exactly 11 cents on it. Which is less than you need for a Grande coffee and a piece of Lemon Loaf, apparently. I tried to give it back to them, but they couldn’t accept the food after it had been in my car, and since they had made my picky drink already, they were just going to give it to me for free.
Do you know how hard it is to enjoy freeloaded coffee? It tastes of bitterness and guilt, I tell you!
The Lemon Loaf, however, was delicious. It is impervious to guilt and shame.
I ambled back into the office, happy that I had avoided the return Walk of Shame with the rest of the car movers. I sat down at my desk, started working, and then clicked on a link to go to MSNBC, which promptly downloaded some kind of Mega Trojan onto my computer, completely devastating everything and unrecoverable after several reboots.
At that point, I wanted to give up. I called in the issue with the IT guy, who was going to be awhile, and then realized that I might as well go to lunch, because I certainly couldn’t get anything done until I had a replacement. I went to a vintage store and ambled around for a bit, scoring a totally vintage Eames desk lamp and one of those great old fans with the steel blades and open cages that they discontinued because they chop off fingers (or something silly like that), as well as some ancient books. I could so easily become a hoarder, for reals, because I am powerless in the face of amazing junk store finds.
I got back to work, happy that the IT guy had brought me a replacement desktop and used it for several hours. It was too soon to determine whether my bad karma had shifted yet, so I kept feeling like the other shoe was about to drop at any moment. Then the IT guy came over and said that he was going to give me a new laptop rather than mess around with my corrupted one (the fan had been replaced twice already and was going again, apparently a problem with that model), something I’d been begging for for months (when I returned from my sabbatical, I actually received my old laptop back, so my laptop was legitimately long in the teeth and I had grown tired of its face).
When the whistle blew, I skedaddled out of the office and ran home to change my Kool-Aid speckled dress, as I had two tickets to a Stars concert in Milwaukee! I had contacted Christine, a fellow Stars enthusiast, and asked if she wanted to go along, especially since I would be driving through Sheboygan anyway. She was all over it, and was ready whenever, but the wind storm was making driving somewhat treacherous, and it took forever to get down to her apartment, and then apparently the cell networks were being weird as she didn’t get my “I’m here!” texts for an unusually long time after I had sent them.
Together, with a Stars playlist queued up, we raced down the freeway, semi-panicked about the time frame. You see, I had exchanged Tweets with their road manager and he had promised to hook me up with a band Meet and Greet. For reals. My little heart, it went pitter pat! But now the stupid wind storm was making the ETA dicey, plus when we got to the venue, we realized that whoa, there was a huge WWE event happening across the street, which meant that parking was nowhere to be had. After a nearby lot turned us away, I spotted an open spot that had a RESERVED sign on it. Hmmm… do I care about this? Park in someone else’s spot or park in a safe spot and miss my chance to meet Stars? Fuck the rules, man. The parking lot attendant came over and informed me that I would get a $50 ticket, and I said “Ok!” because hell, if I had stayed the night in Milwaukee, I would have paid like $30 for my car on top of the hotel anyway. A $50 ticket and they don’t tow my car? Fine with me.
We raced up the stairs of the Historic Turner Auditorium and met with the merchandising girl as well as the road manager, who told us it would be awhile. It seems the wind had wreaked havoc with everyone, as Amy Millan and Even Cranley had a flight into Milwaukee get canceled so they were driving up from Chicago. They were ten minutes away, so we had plenty of time. Great for me, since in my rush to get inside, I had left my phone and camera in the car, so I ran back out and scored everything then raced back up the stairs a second time. And that’s why I was a big sweaty mess when it came time to meet and talk with Evan and Pat and Amy and Torq and Chris.
I didn’t care. It was still awesome. They are awesome. I am forever a Stars girl, without a question.
Christine and I scored an amazing spot for the concert, at the feet of Chris Seligman, the source of all of those ethereal melodies (and the guy tucked against my side in the above photo). Stars have an amazing show every time I’ve seen them, but this particular concert was fantastic. The performers play their asses off and didn’t even mind with Torq called an audible and decided to add another song and do “Heart” at the end of the encore. The best part: at one point, Chris was trying to get my attention while I was all gazey-goober at the singers, so he nodded to Christine to tap my shoulder and then he handed me a white rose from the stage (lest you think this is a big deal, it’s not quite a huge deal, as part of their thing is that they throw flowers off the stage, but being singled out is still pretty cool). Also, the roadie gave me one of the five set lists, so now I have Madison AND Milwaukee’s set list.
It was a good night. Clearly my karmic debt had been paid off by the craptastic morning and the universe was feeling generous again. Certainly I could not have asked for a better evening and the bonus of having fantastic and fashionable Christine for company.
Also? The $50 parking ticket never materialized and apparently I didn’t have to pay a cent for the parking spot right outside the door to the venue. Now I’m worried that I’m in the red with the universe again. Note to self: load up on the acts of senseless kindness this month. For reals.
Speaking of doing good for your fellow man, don’t forget: I’m coordinating the annual Holiday Card Exchange again this year and you can sign up for it RIGHT NOW and ensure a mailbox full of happiness throughout the month of December and into the New Year! Details and all your questions answered right here.