Bits and Bytes

Tragically Hip Tragedy

I just went to a Tragically Hip concert in San Fran. They were playing at the Warfield on Wednesday night. I was wary before I left that I wouldn’t enjoy it and now, I just wish I’d listened to myself.

For those who don’t know, The Hip are Canada’s largest rock band. You can attend any one of their concerts with 50 thousand or more of your closest friends. However, they haven’t quite made the grade here in the US. (Or, they haven’t sold out to the American market–depends on how you look at it). Maybe too though, it’s because their lyrics often contain cultural and historical references that Americans just wouldn’t understand.

I drove the 45 minutes to the Golden Gate Bridge and spent another 45 minutes or so trying to find parking. I thought I’d meetup with a few other Canadians and it would be good to step out of my comfort zone. Get out. Meet new people–people who understand the “U” in colour and neighbour and don’t ask you to repeat words like “out” and “house”. And there are no bits and bytes lost in translation…but I digress.

We met at the Olive. Which–from the web pics, seemed like a decent sort of place to meet people whom you’ve never met before. What I didn’t know, was that this particular place was in a dodgy bit of the city.

Anyway. I drove around a bit and found parking–right on Olive Street. Olive Street connects Polk to Larkin. It was a dingy little street, but I was happy to find parking. I tossed a few things in the backseat, jumped out, and hurried up the street. It was now just past 7h30 and I didn’t want to miss the group. We’d agreed to meet just after 6h00. As I was hurrying away, I used my remote to lock the doors. I always double-click and listen for the happy beep. “Beep. Beep, I’m locked”. Very satisfying.

Regardless, I know I locked my car.

I ducked into the bar and tried to assess who were Canadians. They said they were going to be wearing jerseys from Queens. (Queens University–in Kingston–where the Tragically Hip originated). I didn’t know what such a jersey looked like however, and I just scanned for people who looked like they were Canadian. Mark piped up when he saw me and said: Looks like you’re looking for some Canadians.

Relieved, I just laughed and joined their table. It was interesting just meeting a whole bunch of expats all at once.

What part of Canada are you from? The Yukon? No. Wow. You are the first person from the Yukon I’ve ever met. What do they call people from the Yukon? Yukon-ites?

Yukonian I correct.

What are you doing here? They ask. In the Bay Area?

I got lost. I tell them. I got lost.

Here. Sit down. Have a drink.
What do people drink in the Yukon?

Yukon Jack. I grin. Yukon Jack.

How long have you been here?

Since 2001.

No..Really? You want to go back to Canada? Why?

Long story. I don’t know where I would start.

Hmm–they said. There’s got to be more to that story.

There is but I don’t elaborate. I just ask where they are from and what they are doing in the Bay Area.

I’m pleased to report, I met quite a few different people. A consultant to lawyers, a project manager in a software company, an engineer??? for a GPS company, an inventory manager for the GAP. Quite an eclectic group. Good people. All good people of course.

We chit-chatted for a bit. Two girls finished their drinks and we headed down to the concert in groups. I left with the consultant and the project manager. We were going to catch a cab, but turned out we arrived at the Warfield before we found a cabbie who was free.

I was worried that I wouldn’t get in as I’d forgotten to print my ticket from the email. That was the first sign of the tragic evening–just the simple fact I’d forgotten to print the ticket. (I just read today–however, that the airline industry is going to text bar codes to mobile phones as proof of purchase. Wouldn’t that be cool?. Just show up in some line somewhere and show a bar code from your cell phone screen…but I digress…yet again).

They were able to find my proof of purchase with my credit card and some ID–so it wasn’t difficult at all. We arrived between the opening act and The Hip themselves. They were setting up and people started moving into the hall. We moved right down to the general admission area. Like the rest of Canadians-who-live-in-the-States, we were just ecstatic to be-like-five people in front of Gord Downie. (And–like–I say that with an American accent–like, you know).

In summary, here is what happened the rest of the night:

Loud music.
Very loud music.
Was ready to leave after about an hour…too much stuff I’d already seen and not enough of anything new.
Gord Downie was freakishly thin.
He is quite the performer though, but I–personally–am not terribly impressed with his spastic dancing and hacky-sac antics with the mic.
Rob Baker still had long hair.

That’s not to say I don’t like their music. I do. I just think they haven’t changed much since the 20th Century. Maybe, if you’re that famous, you don’t have to, but I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to.

Mark convinced me I should stick around for the encore and I did. And they played a few more songs. And I’m glad I stuck around except, I was more than ready to leave.

We all finally left and walked back to our cars parked on Olive Street.

SOMEBODY HAD SMASHED MY PASSENGER WINDOW, rummaged through the glove compartment, and stolen what obvious valuables were in the front seat: mp3 player, bluetooth ear piece, keys, and a few other bits and bytes.

UGH. That’s it. Not only was I too tired and probably–maybe–too old to enjoy the concert, somebody broke into my car. Now, the entire undesirable night cost:

  • $50 ticket to the concert.
  • Gas to and from the city.
  • $5.00 cover charge just to get into the city.
  • $15.00 for two drinks
  • $250 for the deductible to fix the car window
  • ~$500 dollars to replace the stolen property
  • Time spent sorting things out with the insurance agency and the glass repair guy

Again. UGH. It’s not as if I can afford the extra costs right now either. I’m chiding myself for being so stupid and leaving visible property in the front seat (and therefore very visible) part of my car.

More UGH.

Expensive night out and I didn’t have much fun. Next time–if I ever get the urge to go to a concert, I’m just going to stay at home and turn up my favourite tunes on my own sound system and invite my co-Canadians for an evening of CanCon and our own cultural stories.

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