Taco Tuesday

Standard

I don’t have a “real job,” per se. I am overeducated, yet inexperienced. I “learn by doing.” I’m part Millennial, part Xennial. I’m part public school, part private education. I did my undergrad by the beach. I earned my Master’s in a concrete jungle. I’m disciplined; I’m organized; I’m a “culture enthusiast.” I can hang with the best of ‘em, but I’m not really inclined to work for you.

What are you selling, exactly? And, how much are you paying?

See, I park cars for a living at a luxury boutique hotel in the suburbs. The thought of it is extremely dull. Well, it is dull. And valets are so undervalued, don’t you know? But hey, “I’m takin’ what they’re givin’, cause I’m workin’ for a livin’.

I grew up in the countryside, too; now I’m a “city slicker.” Smart people evolve. Intelligent folks adapt. Shrewd individuals can recognize an arbitrage.

As we speak,

All my best friends are “off bread.”

All my best friends work in “tech.”

All my best friends are really ironic on Venmo.

And, of course, “All My Best Friends Are Metalheads.

It seems like, “I’ve got nothing in common with anything, anymore.

As a result, I typically carve out a lot of “me time” these days. Rest assured, I’m not a loner; I’m independent. I jog around the lake, I go to shows, I write, I celebrate “Taco Tuesday.”

I like punk rock, but I’m not that punk. So, last Monday night, I decided to catch Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers at The Greek Theatre. It was the “40th Anniversary Tour.” I had the night off. I got a great deal on a last-minute ticket. I saw Banjo Man in the crowd, too.

Tom Petty falls somewhere in between “classic rock ‘n’ roll” and “punk” and “new wave.” Hailing from Gainesville (Rock City), Florida, Petty came of age in the late 70s and early 80s. The Gen Xers are fans, most definitely. But Petty never really released a “groundbreaking” album, so to speak. He’s always been more of a “singles” guy. Sure, I remember his videos on MTV and VH1 in the early 90s; but at the end of the day, I only know the Greatest Hits. Admittedly, that’s all “I Need To Know.”

I went, mostly because I had never seen him before, and moreover, when would I ever see him again? The dude is 66 years old, after all. And, he had just recovered from a bout of laryngitis and bronchitis.

He was slated to perform three sold-out nights at The Greek, those being Tuesday (August 22), Wednesday (August 23), and Sunday (August 27). Tickets on StubHub had gone “through the roof.” The secondary (i.e. “natural”) market offered “lawn” tickets upwards of $100 apiece. The Tuesday show went as planned, but the subsequent Wednesday and Sunday concerts were postponed until the following Monday (August 28) and Wednesday (August 30), respectively.

The postponement was not only an inconvenience for concertgoers; it was an economic disruption. A handful of original ticket holders could not attend their rescheduled event(s). In a scenario like this, Ticketmaster – the primary vendor – is required to deliver full refunds to its customers. In turn, the supply increases rapidly, and the demand drops off substantially. It’s economics 101. I ended up buying a ticket at the “11th hour” at face value.

“[Hey] Baby, Even The Losers (Get Lucky Sometimes).”

And my roommate, A.J., told me to “swipe” at the show, because that’s how people meet nowadays. I thought, “Eh, I suppose. I’d much rather meet someone IRL.” I simply wasn’t in the mood to “swipe.” I wanted to enjoy the show!

I ended up talking to the folks sitting next to me. We discussed Petty’s career in detail, covering the highs and the lows. We brushed on the “evolving” music industry, ticketing, and whatnot. And, before he graced the stage, they assured me that, indeed, he would play the “hits.”

Still, the online profile is so crucial nowadays. But has the advent of this technology advanced our society? Or, are we more “Disconnected” than ever before? Do you feel comfortable having random people “follow” you on Twitter? If someone follows you down the street, aren’t you “creeped out?”

What are we really trying to do aside from making sure that other people “like” us? LinkedIn, Tinder, Twitter, Facebook, you name it. It’s all personal branding!

I can’t land a job because my LinkedIn is not “professional” enough. I can’t get a date because my Tinder is not “hawt” enough. My Twitter is a mess. But Facebook is different. Facebook is fun.

Facebook is a series of digital “stop and chats,” a form of mobile human interaction made famous on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Likewise, Facebook users are extremely selective. They choose which conversations they want to enter. As such, Facebook is a waste of time for many, unless you are using it correctly.

See, I am an original Facebook user. I can hark back to the early days, when we were merely college students, documenting our experiences on this brand new, exciting platform. The truth is, is that we were guinea pigs in a larger sociological experiment.

So, yes, I use Facebook. But, I use it to invoke irony. I like to poke fun at the world. Life is too short to focus on the negative. Plus, comedy = tragedy + time. (Don’t believe me? Just do the math, or watch a Woody Allen flick). And, I like to poke fun at the art(?) of making a Facebook post. Do people plan these things? Are most people spontaneous? Meanwhile, do most people really care about other peoples’ kids, their houses, and their made-to-order avocado toast?

And, when did avocado toast become a “thing?” It’s simply avocado on (toasted) bread! Moreover, why am I purchasing it for $8 and change? And when did ginger beer become trendy? And when did a “bartender” evolve into a “mixologist?” Just give me a “Jack and ginger ale with a wedge of lime,” and we’ll call it a day.

Today’s means of communication are so concise. They have to be. Nobody has time. Nobody talks on the phone anymore, unless it’s scheduled beforehand. People are tied to text messages, and one-line email responses. I know this, because nobody has the patience to read a piece like this, except my mother. (Thanks, Mom). I’m trying to cater to the Millennials, and they don’t get it! The Xennials are similar; perhaps they’re slightly more open-minded.

What people really need is good, in-person dialogue – you know, a series of meaningful questions and answers. And tangents. Tangents are the cornerstone of a healthy conversation. They allow for a meaningful, verbal exchange. Tangents reflect widespread depth, knowledge, and expertise. Otherwise, why would the individual go off on the tangent in the first place? Tangents generate reason, purpose, and reciprocal interest. 

And, every action is executed by a decision. A decision is man-made, but can also be interpreted through machines, like a Tesla. See, I don’t really care for these cars. They feel too “automatic.” I’m behind the wheel, but it feels as if I have “no control.” Do you comprehend?

And, subtlety in dialogue is integral, as well. But you have to be smart to “get it.” Lucky for you, I’m “over the top.” Indeed, illustrating subtlety on e-communication lines is a challenging task. That’s why people use emojis. But emojis are so cheesy, except for the “cool” – looking, smiley face dude donning the black shades (😎).

I wrote this piece over the course of two weeks. I drafted it on my Android cellular telephone using my Gmail app. As I jotted down ideas, I thought to myself, “Will the kids (of subsequent generations) be taught how to type on a traditional, desktop QWERTY keyboard? Or is it all SMS moving forward? It takes a certain skill set to text well. It’s quite a workout for your thumbs, too. I want to know, will the kids be alright?”

I was on the BART platform at the Lake Merritt station before the Tom Petty show. I was awaiting the Richmond train. I had to get to Downtown Berkeley. It was a 24-minute wait.

By the way, it’s “BART” (Bay Area Rapid Transit), not “The BART.” Only tourists say the latter. But sometimes I feel like a tourist in my own hometown. And sometimes my friends tell me that I’m a “Chatty Cathy.” But my name is Ian, so I really don’t understand their “train of thought.”

And, I know BART “like the back of my hand.” One must board the Richmond train if he/she wants to get to Berkeley. There’s no other option. This isn’t New York City. BART is expansive, yet inefficient. The NYC Subway is intricate, yet versatile. People wait in lines in San Francisco; it’s a “free for all” in New York.

In NYC, I might’ve caught another train. A different line, the same results. There’s so much overlap in the Big Apple. Not in the Bay. BART is a simple rail service that resembles the Washington DC Metro. It offers service from the city center, to the major airports, and all the way out to the ‘burbs.

I wrote the second installment of this masterpiece on “Taco Tuesday.”

I kindly asked the barkeep to change it to the A’s game. He said, “Sure man, no problem. But it’s so hard to watch a baseball team in September that’s not in contention.” I concurred, and added, “Hey, there’s always next season.”

And there really wasn’t much else happening on this Tuesday night. It truly was a “Monday” for the 9-5ers. Labor Day had passed. “Summer” was basically over. Nobody in sight was wearing white pants.

So it goes. I ate my fish tacos, and I washed it down with a margarita. And, I always order my margarita with “No salt. NO SALT!” And, I overpaid for a mere three tablespoons of house guacamole. And, I found a French fry in my basket of tortilla chips, but I didn’t think much of it.

In the midst of it all, I was at peace. Everything was “Back To Normal.” The heat wave had finally subsided. The fog had rolled in. It was a classic “East Bay Night.” I could write again. I could think logically. It was just another episode, “somewhere between the lows and the highs.”

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