01 September 2006

MoCo Report, part 1: The Wait

("part 2: The Show" will be coming shortly, once I'm recovered enough from part 1 to provide any sort of insight. I figure it's not a huge rush because if you're not already planning to devote 24 hours of your life to seeing this show, what I have to say isn't going to change that. But just in case: I have good things to say.)

James and I headed to the subway around 11:45 Wednesday night. Although James wasn't going to be waiting with us, I couldn't very well get 2 beach chairs, 2 blankets, and whatever other crap I felt the need to take down to the Public all by myself. And I needed to make him work at least a little for his ticket. And in case you're wondering, yes, it does feel very very silly to be walking around the city at midnight with a beach chair and a backpack. And yes, the loitering high schoolers will point and laugh.

We got to the Public at 12:15, and were about 15 people back in line. (I later learned that the first person and his aerobed got there around 6pm.) Lila showed up about twenty minutes later, and after staying to chat for a bit, James headed back home. When he texted me "goddamn uptown 6 isn't running" I couldn't feel too bad, because even though he'd have to take the N and walk a bit, he got to end up in a bed. The original plan had been for James to keep me company for the first bit, and then head home or to work. But then a few days before, Lila, in town for just a couple of days, sent an email: "Any chance I could get together with you and James Wednesday or Thursday?" Why yes, Lila, you can. For many, many hours. And for some reason she said yes. If you ever do the crazy waiting in line thing, I highly recommend doing it with a good friend who's in grad school across the country. We talked for a few hours, sleep-over-style, and then settled in to sleep.

If you ever do the crazy waiting in line thing, I also recommend some careful thought about the weather. I wore a sweatshirt and brought blankets. Lila wore a crazy-ass sweater, and lent me a puffy vest. It was still fucking freezing. And Lafayette seems to do a Sci-Li style wind tunnel thing past the Public. Sure, it wasn't technically "cold," but we both agreed that it's hard to sleep when you're shivering.

Nonetheless. We gave up on sleep around 6am. The line had grown quite a bit by then. There were about 50 people at 5am, and I think 50 more came in the next hour. It was very weird to hear newcomers having the same discussions at 6am that we'd been having six hours before - are we close enough, how long's the wait, I wonder how many tickets they give out - and then seeing them set up camp. For a mere seven-hour wait? Pfft. Already my mental clarity was failing me, because I felt very much that these were interlopers on my experience! The sanity continued to falter from there.

The morning passed well. We each only once had to buy tea from the 24 hour diner to use their bathroom. I only had one sneezing fit. It eventually got warm enough to disentangle from the blankets, and later from the vest. We ran into (or were run into by) five people we knew. We played Connect Four and Quiddler, a card game that's like Gin meets Scrabble, and I failed to read any plays. We were chatted with by the guy in front of us, and sadly not as much by the cute boy two spots back. Rebecca, who would be using Lila's second ticket, spent much of the morning with us. I gave away one of the beach chairs, and found a dumpster for the other. And when we got to the front of the line to get our tickets (row K!), for some reason Oskar was hanging out there, and gave us each a big kiss on the cheek (more on that later), so I think I can stop worrying that he doesn't remember me.

All in all, it was much easier than I expected. One summer Allison and I drove to visit James in Chatauqua - her dad had told us it would take ten hours, so when we got there in six it felt like a breeze. This was like that - I was mentally prepared for a gauntlety thirteen hours on a sidewalk, so when I spent thirteen hours on a sidewalk and it wasn't a horror, it felt alarmingly like a piece of cake.

Of course, by the time I got on the subway I wanted to curl up and sleep for years. I split the rest of the afternoon into two naps, but it takes more than that to make up for a night of two hours of fitful sleep. A three-hour play doesn't exactly help, and by the time it was over I was a cranky toddler of exhaustion and got into a very ridiculous fight with James about walking home vs. taking two buses. I'm doing a little better this morning, and hopefully by tomorrow I'll be rested enough to venture into my Second Adventure In Sleep Deprivation: The Wedding That Doesn't Start Until Motherfucking Ten PM.

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