A Late Adventure

I’ve been feeling that I could no longer go on my beloved solo adventures now that I don’t have a car, but then I realized that I could have exciting adventures right here in San Francisco. Last night I went on a solo foray to see Björk’s show Cornucopia at the new Chase Center (corner of 16th St. and 3rd St. and only about three miles from home).  I didn’t recall ever hearing Björk, but somehow in my senility I figured that since she was Icelandic I’d like her music as much as I like Sigur Rós. I’d not been to the new center but I Segwayed down there and without too much hassle found the Bike Parking and left the Segway. 

Then the fun began.  Somewhere in that gigantic venue there must be an elevator that takes folks in wheelchairs from the ground level up to the concourse, but I finally gave up looking and just slowly walked up a very long but very gently sloped ramp to the concourse level, where the entrance is.

I’d paid nearly $200 for my ticket but could not get Ticketmaster to print a ticket and instead settled on printing the page that showed I’d paid the money for seat 3, row 3 in section 105.  Alas, the nice young lady at the entrance pointed out that yes, it showed I’d paid a lot of money for a ticket to a certain seat, but it was not the ticket itself, which is what she needed to see.  So I went off to the Will Call window, thinking that perhaps I could get my ticket there.  Nope.  But then the nice young lady there took me in hand (virtually); and, after a lot of hacking around sent me a text message containing a link to the “My Tickets” area in Ticketmaster that I’d been unable to find before. Sure enough, after a bit of poking, I found a screen with my ticket on it; and showing that to people was enough to get me in. After hiking halfway around the concourse on legs turned to jelly by the Great Ramp of Death, I found my seat and collapsed. 

And then the show began.  Click here for the Chronicle’s review. Alas, I could not distinguish one song from another, nor could I understand a single word she sang although I knew from the review that she was singing at least part of it in English.  I sat there patiently, looking at the excellent visual effects while waiting for the concert to end, and thinking about how much better it would have been to be listening to a couple of hours’ worth of Soler harpsichord sonatas or better yet Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues, op. 87.

Finally, at long last, the stage and hall went black and I was able to escape, summoning all the oxygen that had built up in the blood in my legs so that I could dash up to the top of the section and reach the concourse. On the way up I noticed that all but a small handful of us were still sitting in their seats waiting for the show to continue, so obviously I missed the last bit. But that didn’t bother me. What counted was that I was free, free, free at last.  The rest of the good news was that my spatial orientation was good enough that I figured out a shortcut to the bike parking and retrieved the Segway with less of a hike.

Then the rest of the adventure began.  Somehow my helmet straps had got entangled with the handlebars, and my jerking the helmet around to free it made things worse and worse until the helmet was only barely movable at all. It was ten o’clock at night and I was exhausted, so what could I do?  There wasn’t enough light or patience to give the mess calm, close observation; so I figured, what the hell, I’ve got my money’s worth out of this life by now, so why be cautious when I can go out gloriously under the wheels of something.  So I clipped the little flashing red light onto the back of my collar to watch my six and set out for home with no headlight. It’s fixed in position on top of the helmet and can’t be twisted around to shine on the pavement ahead. What I didn’t think of was trying to get the light off the helmet so that I could just hold it in my right hand shining it at will on the way home).  Next time, if there is a next time.

Riding home without a headlight is not quite as bad as it sounds because the area around Chase Center is well lit. I went west on 16th Street for a few blocks and then got over to the east end of 17th Street with no problem.  17th St. has a bike lane that is well lit and groomed silken smooth.  So I just went west on 17th until I hit Valencia and turned left into its bike lane, also well lit and groomed.  At the end of Valencia St., I rode one block east to Coleridge. The northern section of Coleridge is one way north, so I normally just ride on the sidewalk to the top of the hill, where it’s no longer one way. But the sidewalk is neither groomed nor lit, so I ran the wrong way in the middle of the street to the top of the hill.  Sounds dangerous but wasn’t because I’d have been able to see car lights over the top of the hill and swerve out of the way to safety between parked cars before any oncoming car crested. Besides, there’s very little traffic on Coleridge, it being small and residential. I didn’t see a single car moving.

When I got home, I just sat here twitching for a few minutes analyzing the adventure and pulling myself together.  The next morning I examined the helmet and saw that down inside the Gordian knot was the quick release button, and that provided a tiny bit of slack, just barely enough that I was able to get the helmet off the handlebars, ready for another adventure.

Perhaps next time not solo. This whole adventure would have gone so much better if I’d had a companion to help me. Yep, I admit it.

Last fall my friend Dick gave me a very generous present, and I’m happily frittering it away on things like this concert. We read about old folks sitting around bored doing nothing but watching television. Not bloody likely in my case. I don’t have time for television.

Apparently I’m able to insert pics again, but I have no recollection of where in the city this is:

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  1. David Queen
    Posted 18 February 2022 at 14:53 | Permalink

    Good story.
    What an ordeal. I don’t know which would have been worse for me: the “ramp of death” or 90 minutes of Björk. And for $200 … we could have had a nice dinner. Bob Dylan still owes me $400 (2 tickets) for torturing me for 2 hours in 2016 – crooning /croaking out Frank Sinatra ballads, all the while accompanied by what would best be described as a Hawaiian lounge band. Zimmerman is now on my permanent shit list.
    Thanks for sending this out. Always a pleasure to read and enjoy your adventures & writing style.
    All the best

    • Posted 18 February 2022 at 15:36 | Permalink

      Loved your review of Dylan. In my case here, Björk is blameless. The crowd loved her.

      I have fond memories of leading you on culinary adventures in SF. Damn shame I’ve got too old to fly to Denver and let you reciprocate.

  2. Alvis Hendley
    Posted 26 February 2022 at 01:44 | Permalink

    Huzzah! Gordian knots? Always carry a sword. Easier to carry a sword on a Segway than in a Prius. Lots of good stuff on TV. Righteous Gemstones. Catherine the Great. Succession. White Lotus. Severance…usw.

    • Posted 26 February 2022 at 14:31 | Permalink

      Oh yes. I have this picture of a Ukrainian Calvary on Segways with sharp swords. Alas, I used to carry in my backpack this wonderful little tool that combined a set of hex wrenches that fit all the Segway apertures and a single razor-sharp 3″ blade. When I dug into the pack to get that blade, I discovered that I’d lost the tool and thus had nothing but my fingers to attack the knot. And yes, there’s an abundance of excellence on TV, but for me it’s too hard to keep track of, so I forget to turn the set on at the appropriate times. Or to put it another way, I’m not willing to devote the required energy to keeping track of what’s on when.

    • Posted 23 April 2022 at 13:02 | Permalink

      Aargh. I finally noticed your delicate hint. Gordian, which has the weight of history on it. Original text corrected.

  3. Ruth Herring
    Posted 14 April 2022 at 17:15 | Permalink

    I hope you’re not regretting ditching your car after this harrowing experience! Count me in for a companion for a different kind of musical event sometime.

    • Posted 31 May 2022 at 19:17 | Permalink

      I just went running to the Noe Valley Chamber Music site to check their schedule and discovered that I missed the last performance of the season a couple of weeks ago. So right now I’ll invite you to join me for one of their concerts in the next season (as yet unposted).

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