Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How to Turn 28

My past couple of birthdays have consisted of me waiting around for someone to plan something, and inevitably being disappointed. So this year, I decided to be a right pain in the ass about dictating what we should do. And, boy, am I glad I did.

The first stage of the birthday weekend kinda happened by accident, with the sudden announcement that my high school pal Shwa was going to play his first ever gig at the 9:30 Club. A big act cancelled, and the bookers scrambled to fill the bill with four local(-ish) bands. The 9:30 Club is one of my favorite places to see music. It's not much to look at, but it's got a big spacious floor, a generous balcony, and pretty friendly staff. I've seen everyone from Crowded House to Cyndi Lauper to Joan Jett to Moby there. So when my buddy, who can very clearly recall singing Aerosmith songs at the 1994 Holland Junior High Beach Day picnic, got booked, I made sure that a group of Council Rock alumni, and some good-spirited DC-area friends, were there.

While it would be too much to expect that the place would be packed, given the circumstances, Shwa mustered a more than respectable turnout, and pretty much killed it. We had unusually free rein of the place, and were running around backstage and in the dressing rooms like kids. Shwa's drummer got engaged, so everyone got a little silly. Maybe a bit too silly, as the end of the night saw a complete breakdown in logistics, and Shwa sent most everyone off to start the post-show celebrations, ensuring that he's "got this." Everyone, that is, except two former junior high classmates who saw where this was going, and knew enough to know that when anyone says they've "got this," they usually don't.

So the evening ended with me, my pal Meredith, and Shwa stumbling down a frigid U Street at 2 am schlepping guitars and trash bags full of merchandise, trying to find his friend's house so we could dump our stuff ("Where we headed?" "I thiiiiiink...12th Street!" "12th and what, babe?" "...craaaap..."). I think we passed the headliner's limo on our way out, while we looked like we were freaking robbing the place. From rockstar to hobos in one evening. It was a ridiculous, and weirdly perfect, way to end the night.

The next day brought three hours of conference calls (meh) followed by four hours of Britpop dance party (meh!). I've been dying to go to this particular party for months, but circumstances prevented it. These same circumstances pretty much prevented any dancing of any kind for the better part of two years. I do not miss these circumstances. The highlight of the evening included an exuberant young lad who I suspect was faking an English accent, encouraging us to "Let's disco!" He asked how old I was, and when I told him 28, he replied "But you're so beautiful!" Thanks, uh, Nigel.

Top the weekend off with an Eagles win to go on to the NFC Championship, and a three-piece dinner from Popeye's, and I'd say that's a hell of a weekend right there. Now all I have to look forward to is another major football game, a free concert with Springsteen and Bono, and a new president next weekend. Bor. Ing.

I've got a good feeling about 2009. Let's let Shwa play us out, yes?