Backstage with Baldy
Chicago – August 24th
This job, and the lack of sleep that goes along with it, makes my brain a warm bowl of low functioning tapioca pudding to begin with, so I really don’t need any more assistance in losing my mind on a daily basis.
But there were a couple of instances in Chicago where I got that assistance anyway, along with my daily dose of abuse.
I was on the 8th floor of our hotel, needing to go up to my room on the 16th floor.
I hit the up button and waited, and a guy came around the corner and hit the button to go down.
I hate playing elevator roulette, because sometimes you’re not sure what direction the first elevator that stops will be going in, which is exactly what happened.
Just as I feared, there were no lights indicating what direction it was going when the elevator stopped, but the doors that opened were closer to me, so I started to get on. A woman was already in the car, so I asked, “Is this going up, or down?”
She looked back at me blankly and replied, “I don’t know.”
I don’t know???
I saw that the only button lit up on the panel was for the lobby, so I assumed it was going down, and jumped off.
And it went up.
This was an older hotel with extremely slow elevators and I still had the guy next to me waiting to go down (she let the doors close before he could get in), so I knew I’d be standing there a while.
This gave me plenty of time to stew over what happened, and I did something I rarely ever do; curse in front of a total stranger.
But seriously, “I don’t know?”
You’re on the elevator. You were coming from somewhere. Even if you were mistakenly heading in the wrong direction, wouldn’t you at least know what direction that was?
Something about the sheer and utter stupidity of that reply really worked my nerves, but things weren’t quite over yet.
That night, I sent a text to our trusty tour manager Chuck, along with our bus driver, asking who was going to the venue at what time in the morning.
The reply from Chuck?…”Yep”
Clearly he misinterpreted my text, and our driver hadn’t replied yet, so I tried again.
“What does that mean, time-wise?”
This time there was no response from Chuck at all, but our driver replied with the answer, “45 minutes plus traffic”.
I wasn’t asking how long it would take to get to the gig, I was asking what time we were leaving.
And I never got an answer, so I went to bed confused and mildly agitated.
I managed to make it to the venue with Chuck in the morning though, and just as I knew it would, the agitation ramped up as soon as the band arrived.
There’s nothing new about Sean & Mike pounding me ferociously with a blitzkrieg of humorous word spanking.
But what I found really entertaining was the casual nature in which Jerry joined in.
Mike & Sean were settled into another early evening skewering of me when Jerry walked into the dressing room.
As nonchalantly as if he was inquiring what time it was, Jerry asked, “We bashing Baldy again?” followed up by “Is it too late to get in?”
“We just chummed up the water for ya”, Sean replied.
“Yeah, I thought I smelled blood down the hall”
I literally typed that interchange into my phone immediately after it happened, as I was so amused by the sheer laid-back manner in which it took place.
As I was making painstakingly accurate notes about the exchange that just transpired, they continued to assail me for the things I don’t do, attack me for the things I do wrong, and just generally heap a pile of fresh criticism on me.
It’s all in good fun though. It makes them feel better, I don’t mind, and I can give it back as easily as I can take it.
So that was my 36 hours in Chicago.
Confusion, bewilderment, anguish, and abuse.
Or as I call it, another day at work.