5:25 - I sneak out of work and head home. On the way, I make a detour past Madison Square Garden. On any other day, I would HATE Madison Square Garden because it replaced the glorious original Penn Station, but tonight, it gets a pass. All I want to do is go home and change, and head right back out.
6:00 - I walk in the door and Larry asks, "Did you see the car?" My stomach turns. I know what he's going to say before he even says it.
Ever the proactive, hardworker, he has purchased ALL the bathroom tiles for this week's super-mega-dual-bathroom-makeover-renovation-extravaganza. We had gone tile shopping over the weekend (more on that later), and the price quote we received on Monday turned out to be way beyond what we could afford. (Thanks for nothing, Norman)
"How much time do you have?" he asks with hesitation, sensing that I am so twitchy-hyper I could probably just lift the car off the ground and carry it up and into the apartment all by myself. "All done!" I would say, setting the Mercury Sable wagon down in the middle of the empty kitchen.
"About 45 minutes," I say. "But, don't worry. We'll do this," I say, taking a break from being a self-centered, hyper fucktard.
Question: What's worse than having nosey neighbors?
Click Read More to continue
Answer: Bumping into every single one of them while you're struggling to carry 30 boxes of tile into the apartment at 6:15, when everyone is either coming home from work, or walking their dogs.
As I struggle with the heavy boxes, I realize that this couldn't have happened on a better day. I had eaten like a pig at work, gorging on leftover Greek food from a catered lunch, so I need this impromptu workout. My arms are on fire.
Eventually, we get all the boxes upstairs and I have to take a shower, because I am a sweaty, hyper mess.
6:50 - I grab my ticket and gently ease it into the front pocket of my jeans. I skip down the hall and take the stairs, not wanting to see any more neighbors.
7:05 - I arrive at MSG. I get goosebumps when I see her face on the LCD screen. Just ahead of me are three people, one of which is dressed as a Like a Virgin era Madonna.
As I walk towards the security gate, I feel a cheesy sense of honor, that I am able to be here tonight. This is the highlight of my year (sorry, new apartment, you are #2 this year) and I try to live for the moment, instead of worrying about tomorrow.
I breeze right through security, the man with the handheld metal detector smiling at me. I smile right back, a huge, cheesy shit-eating grin.
I head straight for the entrance, where people are starting to head in. A quick check of my ticket tells me to head for Tower A, Gate 61. My ticket is scanned and I pass through the very narrow turnstile. Wow. I'm average weight and had trouble with that, I think to myself.
As the group of us heads for the next escalator, two girls in purple Madison Square Garden polo shirts merge with the crowd.
"All these people gonna be waitin' for two hours! She doesn't start til 9!" yells one of them.
What were we supposed to do? Turn around on the moving escalator?
I make a short walk down the hall and then turn right, into Gate 61. I can see a sliver of the arena, bathed in pink lights. I rush through and the adrenaline peaks. This is it. I'm finally here.
Even though I could probably find my seat on my own, paranoia kicks in and I have the usher point me in the right direction. Why take a chance that you're in the wrong seat and find out 30 minutes into the show when you're kicked out of it?
"Right behind that man in the orange hat," says the usher. It's an excellent seat, just four rows in, on the aisle. I sit down and smell something funky in section 104.
"God, it stinks in here," I say to myself.
The arena is mostly empty, so I feel stupid for rushing to get those tiles into the apartment earlier. I look at my cell phone to see if Joe has called back. He's coming to tonight's show and I want to finally meet a fellow blogger in the flesh. He's my biggest fan and might want an autograph, so I don't want to disappoint. I was also supposed to meet Vidis, but I forgot to program his cell phone number into mine ahead of time. This is why I have no friends.
I get antsy and decide to walk around, walking towards the stage to get a closer look and taking a picture with my cell phone camera. This makes me feel stupid.
Back in my seat, I realize that the funk is coming from the old man in front of me. Great. I'll have this to contend with all night long. This is when I notice that he's a lot older than I thought, and is wearing a hearing aid, one that I'll likely blow out when I start screaming.
As the arena slowly fills, I mentally scream at the crowd to hurry the fuck up so that the show can start on time. I take another walk, this time out into the hall. I look for the bathroom, but can't find it. I am trying to kill time now and I can't even do that right.
I head back to my seat again, and this time, two guys are sitting in the seats next to me. I sit down and debate whether or not I should introduce myself. If I do, they might not hate me as much when I start screaming like a lunatic. If I don't, they might just hate me for being anti-social. Somehow, I break the ice.
"Hi, I'm Chris," I say to the man next to me. Jason is quite large, the opposite of his skinny boyfriend, who gives me pursed lips, a faked "nice to meet you" and a limp fish handshake. Translation: I don't like you already.
Okaaaay, maybe I shouldn't have bothered. I quickly realize that Fishy Pursed Lips is the jealous one, as his boyfriend will only talk to me when Fishy has gone to the bathroom.
Some people tend to dress up when Madonna is in town. In the past, I've seen everything from sequins to rollerskates to full-on Madonna impersonators like Madiva who sat next to me during the Reinvention Tour. Tonight's event is no different, as two guys sport gold lame jackets and matching gold ties. Four women march in line wearing cone bras made from metallic party hats.
My regret over not bringing a camera kicks in when I notice a man with a camcorder standing up, filming the crowd. He is in plain sight of everyone and no one says a word. Why don't they just do away with the whole camera ban already?
At 8:30, I see that there are still a lot of empty seats.
"See? This is why the show starts late - no one comes on time!" I say to Jason.
"Maybe they don't come on time because she always starts late," he says.
I look down at the first row in my section and see two guys browsing the tour book. The one not holding the book reaches over and starts turning the pages with all the grace of a rabid monkey, creasing and bending the pages, practically crumpling them up. I want to yell, What the fuck are you doing? You just paid $30 for that book, you stupid ass!
The middle section attempts to start a wave. It gets about four sections over before it stops. They try again, and soon, the entire arena is doing the wave. This is the first time I've ever seen this at a Madonna concert. After four revolutions, the crowd gets over it. The crowd is tired.
At 8:45, I decide to try calling Joe again. He has just arrived.
"I'm in section 46," he says. I stand up and look for him in section 46.
"Behind you," I yell, "directly behind you!"
It's strange to talk to someone on the phone and be able to see them at the same time. This is why video phones will never take off. Do you make eye contact? Or do you pretend you don't see them?
"Larry doesn't look too happy," says Joe, referring to Jason.
"Larry's not here," I say.
"Then who is that?" he asks with alarm.
"I don't know. Just some people," I say.
"They look miserable," he says.
I'm now trying to watch what I say because I don't want to slip and say, Well, the fat one is nice, but the little one is a jealous, moody asshole." I could literally run down to Joe's section, but I didn't want to risk running back when the lights go out and falling up the stairs. Sorry Joe.
I'm over the waiting. "This is never going to start," I bitch to myself.
At 9:20, the house lights go out. The crowd erupts in a huge cheer. It's go-time. I am out of my seat. I won't be sitting down. I don't care who else does.
Suffice it to say that I scream and yell - a lot. I clap, I cheer, I laugh and I cry during You Must Love Me. Into the Groove is non-stop fun. I never thought I'd see Madonna jump rope all the way across the stage, then do double dutch! And she doesn't trip (probably because I am praying she won't).
I am annoyed at the controversial Get Stupid video. Mostly because everyone keeps harping on about McCain and Obama being in there. Who gives a shit about those two when there are about 70 other issues that she's touching on in this video? But, no, just keep feeding the ego of politicians. Forget about starvation, genocide and animal slaughter. For fuck's sake.
When 4 Minutes comes on, the crowd goes wild. Honestly, I do not get the appeal of this song at all.
I am blown away by a fast techno remix of Like A Prayer and jump up and down during Ray of Light. Unfortunately, the crowd becomes pretty much dead still when she butchers Hung Up by giving it a horrible Death Metal arrangement that makes the song very hard to follow. I wait for the song to collapse in on itself like a black hole.
The finale of Give it 2 Me was extremely loud, a lot of fun, and reminded me of my club-going days. I am sure that on this song, I broke the hearing aid of the stink-pot sitting in front of me.
The downer of the night? The 10 people in the next section who never stood up at all. I absolutely HATE that, and so does Madonna (we have something in common!). I wanted to yell at them, give them the finger. I wanted to yell, Why even come, then? You're not at home watching a DVD! They didn't clap along with everybody else, they didn't cheer, they didn't even move. I wanted to kill them, but they were probably dead already.
Madonna hasn't done an encore since 2001, and I already knew there wouldn't be one, so as soon as the house lights turned on, I bolted for the exit, even though they started playing Holiday over the speakers. If you're not ahead of the pack, it will take at least a half hour to get the fuck out of the arena.
Of course, I am trapped behind a slow moving gaggle of over-dressed, post-middle-age hags with over-done hooker make up in the skinny stairwell on the way out. I feel bad that I didn't try to go down and meet Joe, but I surely would have lost him in the post-show chaos.
At street level, I'm delighted that I actually have beat the rush and head for the exit, bypassing the souvenir stands and the shitty overpriced merchandise. I scoff at a saxaphone player trying to get money out of me. Sorry, I've paid enough for music tonight, I want to say.
As I walk down the front steps, I do a double take.
"Joe, is that you?"