[NB: Written the morning after the Zimmerman verdict, set to publish a week later because I have at least one sensitive bone in my body.]
I think I’m getting too cranky for concerts.
I don’t mean cosy little hole-in-the-wall deals at clubs or pubs where you pay cover and oh! There’s a really awesome act playing in the corner. I mean corporate arena events with umpteen security stops, where your mother swears she gets stopped less often in airports and she should know because she’s flown internationally a great deal since 9/11.
My mother has gotten wickedly sarcastic since Claudius up and stabbed us in the back. To that end, she noted that perhaps the young man who pissed me off beyond all reason was a TSA reject.
Because it would’ve been okay. I would’ve calmed down somehow, sitting up in the shade somewhere with my book, my ginger ale, and maybe an extra Ativan on top of that 5mg of Compazine (which, I can now tell my doctor, works great as a rescue med/premedication for anxiety-inducing events). I was antsy getting there because of traffic; I’d napped earlier and woken up with my heart trying to beat its way out of my chest. The drive itself was our family’s usual dysfunctional mess, with Mum freaking out over Claud’s driving and Claud and I trying to find common ground.
In the end, we settled on education reform, which was really cool. But I could not cope with them anymore by the time we got there, so I walked away. I decided to try and get in by myself, ticket in hand.
Wouldn’t you know, apparently the laughing, shouting, obviously drunk people warranted absolutely no attention, but me with my purse did. You know, the purse with the novel and the makeup bag full of controlled substances. Do you know, good gentles, what the TSA reject decided was a threat?
My ginger ale. My sealed bottle of ginger ale, which therefore could not have contained, as he tried to claim later, any alcohol (underage drinking my foot; he might’ve carded me and discovered I was probably several years his senior).
For fuck’s sake, I had a baggie in there with an unidentifiable pill and he ignored that because I had an unauthorised bottle of ginger ale. Which, yes, the rule says “no food, no drink”, but mostly they don’t inspect less than a freaking picnic basket. If I’d been carrying a cooler or a hamper, sure, pick on me.
“What am I supposed to do if I have a panic attack?” I asked him.
“Get some water,” he said. Like there aren’t lines, like they don’t charge, like I’m not going to go into full freakout mode in that crowd in thirty seconds flat. Pay god-knows-what for enough to flush my pills down my throat?
And because I was already somewhere near the end of my rope, I was a Bad Advocate. I rolled my eyes, I dropped the ginger ale into the bin of everyone else’s empties (was everyone drunk there that night?) and quietly called him a bitch.
Ungendering insults one overzealous security guard at a time, that’s me.
The enthusiasm went on. Who are they hiring nowadays for staff at CMAC? Drill sergeants? You can’t pass through the shell to meet your family and maybe get a glimpse of Tegan and Sara from closer than a football field away — you can’t stand just within the shell, pressed against the rail — and let me tell you, from an accessibility standpoint, sticking the vast majority of the portajohns at the top of a steep hill is stupid. Everyone lines up for the ones at the bottom, but people who can’t hike that hill have no choice. Luckily, in summer, my mental health issues play up worse than my physical fuckery.
On top of everything, I swear they play things louder than they used to, or else it’s time to consider sensory processing fun on top of everything else that’s going on. I had a headache by the time I unfolded my lawn chair as far from the crowd as possible. So I did plunk down my $3 for something non-boozy, in dollar coins since that’s all I had to hand. You know, since I presumed one bottle of fucking ginger ale wasn’t going to bother anyone. Had an Advil, tried to read, tried to actually enjoy Tegan and Sara… couldn’t.
Said “screw this, let’s go home” because I don’t actually like fun. all that much.
On the way out, I told the security guard about the controlled substances he’d missed, conveniently omitting that they were prescribed for me. I left Mum and Claud to deal with him and his fauxpologies. He actually said “Clearly your daughter doesn’t want to hear the explanation,” and I shouted, like a Bad Advocate:
“There is no explanation! I’m disabled!”
Because by that point, I was done. I was thinking, would he have treated me differently if it had been seizure meds and I’d had a chair? A cane? Heart meds and a bracelet to prove it?
He claimed to them that he didn’t know I wasn’t underage. Well, shit, there was a wallet in that purse. He could’ve asked to see my ID. Or he could’ve listened when I said “I need this in case I have a panic attack”, but I guess it’s more convenient to haul my ass down to the emergency station for a distinct non-emergency than it is to let me stop the problem in its tracks.
I only really regret the shouting and the inadvertent gendered insult; I really need to work on both of those. I could’ve been a lot more inconvenient to him. I could’ve opened the bottle and poured it straight into his shoes. I could’ve asked to see his manager. I could’ve refused to budge until he heard what I was actually saying (to wit: I am not amused having to pay even $3 for the privilege of not freaking out in the middle of the crowd).
So I just won’t go back. I won’t spend money for that mess. I’ll go see artists who play decent venues. I’ll save my money, set up speakers in the backyard, and put out a blanket if I want that real concert experience.
(Oddly enough, my family swung back around to functional when we stopped off at Manetti’s on the way home. Now that’s a restaurant. The salad bar has pizza, the smooth red sauce is delicious, and they serve you enough for days of leftovers. Props to our server, Catherine, who got us the food in what felt like no time flat. Manetti’s is a class act.)