New York, 2002

I had entered a draw at Man Ray on Wednesday for free bus and concert tickets for the Incus show at Downtime in NYC. I ended up leaving early and missing the draw, but Lee emailed me the next day offering to split the pair of tickets with her, as she won them as a runner up. I agreed, and we were off to NYC 3 days later.

Sat Apr 6

I had gone out to a midnight movie on Friday and stayed up until 3am in an effort to shift over to a nocturnal schedule, but still woke up at 10am. Did some chores around the house, read for a bit, then had to rush around to get ready to catch the bus to Central Square for 2pm departure. My room mate offered to drive me as I was lacing up my boots and we got there in lots of time. Lee was waiting outside the bus, she eventually got the list of prepaid tickets and started checking those people off and adding walk ons. 2pm departure turned into 2:30pm as a slew of people were late. It was sunny but a bit nippy out, so I alternated between warming up on the bus and keeping Lee company. Eventually, we ended up leaving the last two pre paids and hit the road. Getting onto I90 westbound was a snap, we entered just by Newbury St. off Mass. Ave. I had finished my book while waiting for the bus to leave, after claiming the second pair of seats from the front on the right, so I pulled out my yarn and practiced knitting for a bit. Just learned on Thursday. :) Talked a bit with a Navy nuclear tech, but mostly was quiet and contemplating the folly of taking off with little notice for a concert.

We stopped briefly in North Hampton MA to pick up a group of fans there, and were able to get them on the bus and us on the road again with a minimum of fuss. The clouds were very cool looking, like cotton candy. The conversation levels rose to a fairly high level and stayed that way to the venue. Very friendly crowd, and it was fun watching people watch us when we made a rest stop just inside NY state. It was a bit harder to gather up people again, someone was apparently sent in to page the Children of Doom back to the departing bus. Roll call one more time and into the city we went. We went over the Triboro bridge and then straight down Lexington to 29th st. Then over to 8th ave and back up to 30th and we were there.

The club wasn't open yet, we'd arrived at 8 when we were supposed to be able to get in, but no dice. The bus driver would come pick us up in 8 hours, 4am by our watches, 5am by Daylight savings time, which would kick in at 2am. Incus was just arriving, so I took off to find some food. Walked a few blocks and ended up backtracking to a Wendy's where the line was long, the customers annoying, the staff clueless (ice tea != hot tea, and I never did get my refund), but the mandarin orange chicken salad was good. It was 9pm by this time and the first band was due to hit the stage. I seriously doubted they'd be on time, but headed back anyway. Guest list privileges got me through the door okay, and I settled in to watch All The Pretty Horses. TG/TV band, with one song where the corsetted lead singer donned glasses, took up a grinder and shot sparks off of one of the dancer's metal chastity belt.

Carfax Abbey also went on fairly promptly, at 10. They were more metal sounding, and had a fairly spare stage set up (singer, guitarist, bassist, drummer) but lots of energy. The singer's painted on scars were kind of odd, but his contortions were very reminiscent of a mad man's. I enjoyed their set. After it was over, I went upstairs to check my coat, ran into Masha, who'd be coming back with us on the bus, and danced a bit. I put my ear plugs in for Carfax Abbey and didn't take them out until we were about to head out an hour before the bus was to show up. Such a huge difference, it was painful when I took them out. They isolated me a bit though, so I didn't talk to anyone other than Lee, transformed via a wig and a lace top such that she had to track me down after I walked past her.

I came back downstairs as Incus was starting up, and found a spot on the floor to enjoy the show. It was over too fast, but we did get an encore. I ended up with Dead Wood stuck in my head for the rest of the night. I'm pretty sure that the MA bus load of people was the main part of the crowd for the first two bands, but it had filled in by the time Incus went on. I actually saw the dance floor at the top, and was able to get into the bathroom w/o a wait when we first arrived. It never really got all that crowded, but my last two times there were during C7 and for a Funker Vogt concert and it was packed, so my impression may have been skewed. I was a bit worried about someone catching my stitches, but I had a bandaid prominently over them and was fine.

Sun Apr 7

By this point I was fairly tired, so I took to wandering around to try and keep awake. Danced a bit, paid an arm for a cran&amarretto, and a leg for a bottle of water. I tried to avoid the stairs between levels, as I was glowing like a ghost from the lint on my hoodie. I finally found a couch with a tv screen near it and micro napped for a half hour or so, until a sick woman and her friend plopped down next to me and needed some more space. She collapsed briefly on my shoulder and then was moved to his lap. *sigh* Poor thing, but still.

My cat naps had refreshed me a bit, I danced again, and then found Lee and resorted to my Palm Pilot and Vindigo to find a 24 hour diner near by. We went up to get our coats from the check (with Marilyn My Bitterness playing for the enjoyment of the crowd of dancers) and then escaped into the chilly but clear air. Well, for NYC. :) The club had used some flavoured artificial fog, and there was pot smoke in the air as well, so I needed to get out and breathe for a while. I followed the directions to the Tick Tock Diner and found out that Steph, Martin and I had eaten there when we'd all come up for the Kraftwerk concert. This time, at 3/4am, it had a scattering of gang members (stupid complicated handshake thingy) and a few kids from Downtime showed up as well. No waffles, so I had granny smith apple, raisin and walnut pancakes. Mmmmmm. We discussed how people react totally differently to us depending on how we're dressed (she was more dressed up and I was less, in combat boots and pants and a hoodie). I went back for a second try at getting into the washroom, a single user cubby in a hallway between the diner and the hotel, and as I was about to get in, two Scotsmen in full highlander regalia, kilts and bagpipe and all, passed by. They wanted to know what I was doing out that late and expressed concern over my bandaid. The non bag pipe carrying one, old enough to be my father I'm sure, very gently touched my chin to move my head so he could see if I was bleeding, and they needed me to reassure them that I was all right. Very very very oddly, I didn't react badly to a stranger touching me. He had a very gentle touch and it was concerned rather than impersonal crowding, so that probably helped a lot. They wandered off, I ducked in, and then Lee and I took off to catch our bus.

The driver had been there when we came out, but knew he was an hour early and was going to circle until he got everyone. It wasn't there when we got back, but arrived again in a minute or so. We collected Masha, Adam, and purp and made it off Manhattan in 13 minutes, retracing our route but going up Lexington. The crescent moon rode over the city, though we didn't spot the towers of light that were supposed to be installed at the WTC attack site. Lee and I had lost our second seats, and took the first ones, but I had to sit on the end due to not having enough space to stretch out my legs. I dozed off, woke up briefly at the rest stop, noted that the dawn was pretty, slept again until we hit North Hampton when I switched to a seat a bit farther out of the sun. Woke when we hit Cambridge, and Lee gave me a ride home. Showered to get the smoke off me then wrote this as I try to decide if I should sleep some more. I think so.

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