Striving for the A from The School of Rock 

The yellow busses are rolling and the brown bags packing, it’s back to school time. Buckle up Buttercups because boy do I have a story about what happened over my summer break. A tad early in the semester to call in sick, so I’ll have to tell y’all over a different type of cold, ice breaker games! ***This post is loosely based on The Princess Bride. A fantastic film to watch on your first sick day… or if you’re hungover tomorrow.***

First, a battle of strength: Grab your solo cups and Jell-O shots, it’s time for the third round of AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 PINTS. Anytime a classic rock song is mentioned drink! You will be graded on participation so grab that 151 because class is now in session. Yes, even for you my fellow renegades living on a “Permanent Vacation.”

Second, a question to get those sun-tanned minds back in study mode: What is the last sense you would want to lose? Taste, touch, sight, smell, or hearing?… I’ll give you a minute to think it over.

Is it taste perhapse?

A little after school snack in Luang Prabang, Laos

Or maybe the “Human Touch” is the last you’d want to lose.

The moment I realized I didn’t need to make a wish. Life is pretty damn good as is.

Or is it sight?

Might be time to “Smash the Mirror”

Virtually everyone I ask picks sight, but for me it’s hearing. Forget about “Double Vision,” if I couldn’t listen to music life would lose all meaning. It is the axis upon which my universe rotates.

Finally, pour the wine: It’s time for two truths and a lie.

Here it goes,

  1. I attended my first concert at 13, the band was Foreigner, and I gatecrashed.
  2. I have seen The Who and Bruce Springsteen in concert with my parents.
  3. I bought a ticket to see Aerosmith on their farewell tour in Berlin, but it got lost in the mail.

The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide which is the lie (think you, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”) and we both drink.  Find out after a few quick words from our sponsors:

Fast, hurried, speedy, rapid, pronto

So what’s the lie?

Number 1: “I attended my first concert at 13, the band was Foreigner and I gatecrashed,” is true.

I know it may seem like I am telling “La, La, La, Lies,” but this is the 100%, grade-A truth. One summer a, “Juke Box Hero” in my hometown rented the golf course driving range for a private party and booked Foreigner to play. I lived along the 18th hole and my good friend lived on 16. Her dad just so happened to be the golf pro. On the night of the show there we were, the neighborhood crew:

“Standing in the rain, (sitting on our fleet of golf carts in the sunshine)

with head hung low (pleasantly watching from afar)

Couldn’t get a ticket, (nobody tried to)

it was a sold out show (this may be true)

Heard the roar of the crowd (they were pretty hype)

he could picture the scene. (Clear as 20/20 vision from 200 yards would allow.)”

I don’t know what my friend’s dad said to who, but all of a sudden we got the okay to gatecrash. No longer having to, “Rev on the Red Line,” everyone made an “Urgent” dash over the tape and next thing you know my best friend and I are standing second row at a Foreigner concert. It didn’t just “Feel Like the First Time” I saw a live show, it actually was. The best part, we didn’t even have to go, “A Long, Long Way from Home” to see them play.

Number 2. “I have seen The Who and Bruce Springsteen in concert with my parents” is a lie. Okay, so it’s a half lie.

They may not be from “My Generation,” but Back in 2015 I saw The Who on their 50th anniversary tour with my parents aka my original professors in the school of rock. Everything from, Achtung Baby to Ziggy Stardust and the Spider from Mars, and a multitude of sleeves inbetween, served as my story books. Tommy enchanted me beyond compare. From the moment my mom let the table turn, my life was never the same. I remember the first time I heard this work of auditory art clear as a glass house cleaned by an OCD window washer. My little feet dangled off the edge of my seat, miles above the floor. Hands clutched the blue criss-crossed album sleeve reminding me of Apple Pie as the sweet, sweet notes filled my ears. I proceeded to bring the two CD set on every road trip. It thoroughly perplexed me when the other girls scouts preferred to listen to the Scooby Doo sound track on our way to the aquarium. It’s like they said, “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

My old 4th grade mixtape, go ahead take a few drinks

One of my fondest childhood memories is standing on an ottoman belting out “Pinball Wizard” not understanding why my parents were so proud their elementary schooler knew all the words by heart. What can I say, I always was an oddball. My life literally (not misusing it) came full circle the night I saw Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend tear it up on stage while sitting alongside my parents. Back in ’93 when my mom was pregnant with me my parents saw Tommy on BroadwayIf anyone tries to tell you music has no effect on babies in the womb, I seriously beg to differ. I’m getting off track who else am I supposed to be talking about? Oh yes, The Boss. Unfortunately in all my “Glory Days” I haven’t seen Bruce Springsteen in concert. Although, I have been to “Atlantic City” with my parents, but it was for the Miss America pageant. (A story for another time that involves minor lawbreaking, and lots of hotel security.)

Number 3: “I bought a ticket to see Aerosmith in Berlin on their farewell tour, but it got lost in the mail” is true. Allow me to start from the beginning.

August 2016, nine months before the show: The day I learned the music was going to die

One afternoon on a whim I googled, “upcoming Aerosmith concerts.” With cracking voice I lamented the tragic news to my back porch compadres, “Aerosmith is going on their farewell tour in 2017. No dates have been announce yet.” Right then and there I vowed, “No Surrender.” I was GOING to see Aerosmith in concert. I had to. Hell, I’ve been blowing out my car speakers with their music since I could drive. One summer in particular I’m surprised my secondhand Pump CD didn’t drop dead from fatigue. This leads me to the fatal flaw of being a mod-rock aged soul in a modern body. When the majority of your idols are in their seventies, most will be dead by the time you can actually afford to see them in concert… but I’m certainly not going to let that stop me! In the words of Birdman as he bought his goddaughter (Lil Wayne’s daughter) a diamond bracket for her sweet 16, “if you gotta ask the price you can’t afford it.” Affordability be damned, missing Aerosmith was out of the question.

Steven T and the boys have been number one on my, “must see before they kick the bucket” list for quite awhile

February 2017, three months before the show: Divine Intervention

One night, like a lighting bolt hurled out of the blue thin air, I was struck with the thought, “Aerosmith tour!” In mere minutes I was fighting the inner turmoil of, “should I see them in Munich or Berlin?” Ultimately I decided I wanted to “Rock in a Hard Place.” Berlin it was! The only delivery option was airmail, so I had it sent it to my friends’ flat in Brighton. I figured if the ticket arrived after I left England I would hop on a plane, train, “Magic Bus,” “Beast of Burden,” or boat and retrieve it. Basically I was willing to go through hell or high water to get that ticket. I wish it would have been the latter. I’m definitively more of a water sign than fire, but more on that later.

Turns out I picked a rockin good city. Ramones museum that offers a reduced entry ticket if you buy a beer, yes please

With shaking hand I hit, “confirm purchase.” The processing screen painstakingly toyed with my emotions as I sat with baited breath. You see I was on Don Det, a small island in Laos. South East Asia isn’t exactly know for stellar wifi, especially on rural islands. By the grace of Poseidon the wifi held out long enough for me to purchase a ticket. (Okay so Don Det is surrounded by the Mekong River but I don’t know any river Gods.) Anyway I was positively brimming with “Sweet Emotion.” In fact, my friend walked up, and said, “….. why are you so happy?” My over-flow of serotonin distracted him to the point he forgot what he had to tell me. With a giddy shout I yelled to the night, “I’m going to see Aerosmith in Berlin on May 30th!” I was dazed and (certainly not) confused: I had just gotten Aerosmith tickets, top priority of the summer despite having no loser friends to go with.

Leave it to those Boston boys to go old school. Had delivery via email been an option, the story would end here. But ohhhhh just you wait. Like Tommy I was on the verge of starring in my own rock (soap)opera. I didn’t hear from that ticket, I didn’t see that ticket, and I didn’t want to speak of that ticket.

April 13th, 47 days until the show: “Do You Think It’s Alright?”

#whereintheworldisrita Brighton. #whereintheworldismyprecious Somewhere in the, “House of the Rising Sun.” According to its online tracking my ticket had been tossed like a “Rag Doll,” from one post office to another across the UK, although it currently seemed to be stalled. The last update was late March, but I decided to give it a few days.

April 21st, 39 days until the show: “Communication Breakdown”

I like to consider myself a “Woman of the World;” always here, there, and anywhere. But as my ticket? It was completely off the grid. Fun fact, this was not the first time I had mail sent to this address in Brighton. Although I’m not A negative type, I don’t have to worry about being irony deficient. After I lost my NC ID on my fifth day abroad, I had a new one sent here. Like a broken record five months later, after I lost my debit card in Thailand I had a new one sent here. Now my ticket was lost on it’s way to my go to replacement address. Awesome. Thus began a cascade of phone calls:

  • First call: UPS.
  • UPS said, “out of our jurisdiction.”
  • Second call: British UPS.
  • British UPS said, “call the ticket company, have them contact us, then we will launch an investigation.”
  • Third call: INCONCEIVABLE (Viagogo didn’t have a number to call) *send email*
  • Fourth call: Whine to Mom.
  • Final call: Wine.

April 25th, 35 days until the show: Master and Commander (of the obvious)

Viagogo’s people got with British UPS’ people. They collectively concluded: when a ticket is sent to a post office, but never shows, it’s lost. Viagogo said they would either find a replacement or refund me. Being a person that lives on the bright side, I asked them to send the replacement ticket to my friend in Stendal, fingers crossed I’d later be, “Blinded by the Light” of a new ticket.

May 12th, 18 days before the show: Email of Truth

I had not been this nervous to click open since the UNC application board sent me their decision. Luckily this email also started with, “we are pleased to inform you…” They said my ticket should arrive no later than 72 hours before the show. Hallelujah!

May 17th, 13 days before the show: Doing the “E Street Shuffle”

My friend in Stendal told me a few of his lectures were canceled, he wanted to go home for the break, and sorry! but could I have the ticket sent elsewhere? Inward response, “Not in “Nine Lives” am I willing to miss this show. I will haunt you in the next 8 if my ticket gets lost again because of this redirection.” Outward response, “no problem, as you wish.” I emailed the company and asked them to send the ticket to my friend in Berlin.

May 18th, 12 days before the show: “Dancing in the Street”

THE NEXT DAY, I received an emailed saying my ticket had been sent out and should arrive in Stendal by the end of the day. Inward response, “I am the master of none. I am but a pawn in Viagogo’s “Head Games.”” Outward response, *flagrant jazz hands* *high-pitched squeal only dogs can hear.*

May 19th, 11 days until the show: But everything was not “F.I.N.E”

I woke up on the right side of the bed to find out I’d been wronged. I received the following email, “We were unable to deliver your package. Some delivery information was missing or incorrect.” My gmail account had become an (in)“Box of Rain” on my parade. The email went on to say, “You must schedule a new delivery, if you fail to do so you will not be refunded.” Man did I feel “Jaded.” Actually call me the “Acid Queen.” My dream of seeing Aerosmith, once again, slowly dissolving before my eyes. Not only that but, losing the money too. I’m not going to tell you how much this ticket cost, but it wasn’t exactly a “Bargain.” Let’s just say at the time of purchase I was willing to forgo paying for three meals a day. Hell I figured I could always, “Eat the Rich.” Anyway, I desperately wanted to speak to someone over the phone, but in an epic plot twist: the German UPS customer service line was only in German. I had to settle for email. I know you have to play the hand you’re dealt, but I wasn’t sure what was my best bet. Stendal or Berlin? I was still planning on visiting my friend in Stendal so I decided to have the ticket sent there a second time, hey “Duces Are Wild” right?

May 21st, 9 days until show: Desperation in the key of me

I had received no word confirming a redelivery attempt so I gave the automated “Operator” another call. I hit every button in hopes one of them would magically make this monotone autobot start speaking in English. To no avail my desperate taps were met with throat-clearing, good German. I was on the brink of “Crazy.” To ease my nerves I sent a follow up email:

No longer were all the “Toys in the Attic” I was beginning to lose my marbles


 

May 23rd, 7 days until show: “Same Old Song and Dance”

Much like this story began, I was sitting on the back porch with my friend when I received an email saying my ticket had arrived. We walked down stairs to check the mail, well he walked, I bounded down the stairs. He turned the key, opened the box, flipped through all the envelops, and upon reaching the last one… it wasn’t for me. That’s right, my ticket was NO WHERE to be found. I figured the mail man put it in the wrong box. “You Better You Bet” I was ready to take a page out of Janie’s book and go postal. UPS fell for one of the classic blunders, never go in against an Italian when Aerosmith is on the line. (Or something like that.) I was prepared to stage a 168 hour stakeout and ask every person that walked by to empty the contents of their mailbox. But first, a quick interlude of rationality. My friend gave UPS a call and halfway through his tone went from stern to laughing. Turns out my ticket was already in the apartment. His roomie had signed for it a few hours earlier and placed it on the hall table. Suddenly I was happier than a werwolf at a full moon party. I hungrily tore open the envelop and got to the heart of the matter.

I stressed over this piece of paper more than any of the ones I wrote in college. Okay I admit I was that annoying kid who finished a paper within an hour of the dead line the morning after seeing The Who and got a B despite knowing it wasn’t my best effort… I also wrote a 22 page research paper though, so there is that. *Hears collective scream of math majors everywhere*

Oh the concert? It was all I could “Dream On” about and more. Lemme tell you, those boys can still talk the talk and “Walk This Way.” It’s a damn near “Cryin” shame this is their last hoorah. Steven Tyler’s dancing alone gave me life. For two hours I sat entranced by the neon shroud stage. Mesorized, my smile remained long after the final piece of confetti fell. To put the experience into one word, “Amazing.”

Why yes that is Steven Tyler on a piano as he sings the last words of Dream On

Quickly before class is dismissed, does this story apply to real life? Yes.

The morals of the story:

  1. Never give hope. Even if it’s down to the 11th hour remember, you still have 60 minutes to form a new plan.
  2. Never put your dreams on hold. Don’t wait until next year, next month, or even next week to fulfill your craziest desires. The window of opportunity could slam shut at any moment. Imagine being the guy who said, “I’ll see Nirvana the next time they come to town” in March of 1994. (RIP Kurt)
  3. Never let the idea of riding solo stop you from “Livin’ On the Edge.” Leading up to the show a common refrain became, “you’re going alone?” Yep! Sure I would have rather gone with a friend but no companion, no problem. Times moving,  “World Turning” and “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”

 


Besides does it really look like I was alone? At the end of my life I’d hate look back and realize I’m still a blank canvas just because I had no one to paint the town with. Go out and color those imaginative dreams into reality.

 

The bumper sticker of the story: Feed wild dreams, not wildlife

 

“So from all of us at Aerosmith to all of you out there, wherever you are… Remember, the light at the end of the tunnel, may be you! Goodnight!”

From all of us at That Blonde Vagabond we recommend a complimentary pairing of  https://thatblondevagabond.com/2017/01/10/got-to-get-that-monkey-off-my-back-no-im-not-quoting-aerosmith/ if you enjoyed this read.

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