Then (b) I spent the rest of the day angsting abt whether to go see this New York band Park Ranger who I found on MySpace play a DC show. They sound like Death Cab, if Death Cab had an actual decent guitarist. Did I mention that I was forced to listen to "I Will Possess Your Heart" the other week in class, and my first thought was "Man this takes minimalism to new heights", my second thought was "Man did they write this on a pot binge break or what?" and my third thought was "Man turn this crud off already." I'm sure there's a 14-year-old out there who thinks it's sexxi tho.
Getting back to Park Ranger, the reason I wuz angsting is cuz the bar where they were playing was one I'd not yet been to, located in what is called the "Atlas District", which translates to "Ghetto in NE where there are now some rock clubs and theme bars but you still might not get a cab." For those of you who don't know from DC, it's divided into quadrants and pretty much everything you want to go/see/do is located in the NW quadrant, or at least on its fringes. This joint was 12 blocks into NE which doesn't quite make it "on NW's fringes" and, as someone on Yelp.com observed, you didn't used to go into that area if you were white unless you were looking to score crack and/or get shot. I had personally walked about eight blocks in during the daytime to go to a legal printers that moved there, and let's just say I stood out in the crowd.
I could have drove down and parked, having Driven and Parked in some mighty shite areas in my time (I'm recalling that DoS DC show across from the Smack n' Crack House so we all got to see some brotha collapsing in the street on his way to or from) but my car has a beat-up ragtop with busted windows that invite folks to root through it in my absence - not that I leave anything in there to steal, but I just don't want strangers clawing around in my car, on principle - and I'm not all that sure of its mechanical ability to drive long distances anymore and would rather not test it out in the wee hours in a strange 'hood. Plus if I didn't want to drive clear home afterwards, which I really didn't, parking for 20+ hours by my orfuss would cost me the price of a festival pass, which is partly why I never drive to work as it is. I didn't want to make Ted drive me or at least not pick me up after cuz he gets bitchy if I keep him up too late on work nights. Of course there are no subway stops in this neighborhood and the subway prolly stops running too early anyway.
So I was pondering whether seeing this band and checking out the H St NE Scene (Black Moth Super Rainbow is playing in a couple wks at another H St NE joint) was worth possibly enduring another "Stuck at the Beachland When the Cab Don't Come" headache. I might add that since the Beachland is now pretty much the only music club in Cleveland located in a shite area, I've gotten quite spoiled on visits home. I also find it a bit annoying that just when U St./ the "new 9:30" 'hood reached the point where I stopped feeling like I might get jumped between the cab and the curb, the club owners gotta push the envelope further, but I know it's cuz the city is giving them development money, and stuff. The clubs do grok the problem as they run a free shuttle to Union Station a mile away on Fri and Sat nites, but that doesn't do me much good on a Sunday.
So I was pondering away when I saw a comment on Yelp saying "just take the damn bus, people!" and I looked and saw the X2 does indeed run up and down H Street till 1:30 am and stops right at Lafayette Park next to my old place o' employment, said neighborhood being pretty dern safe due to the White House being right there also. Let me make it perfectly clear that I have never shied away from buses in DC due to their being dirty or having Poor Ppl Often of Color on them. I rode the 6 between Pubic Square and Case through the burnt-out mess that used to be Hough for enough years to back me up there. (I might add that I never had a problem on that bus and probably was in way less danger of harm than if I took the Rapid, as people got mugged weekly at the Murray Hill station then and I think one guy even got killed.) No, the reason I do not take buses in DC is that they jack the bus routes around so frequently I can't keep track of Where Shit Be Goin'. Even the Circulator, which is the bright-red Uber-Stupid-Tourist-Friendly bus that runs from the train station to G-town, has changed routes like 5 times in two years. But the H Street bus seemed wildly easy to understand as it just seems to run up and down H St, with a little detour downtown to go round the block. So yeah, even an idiot like me can understand that. Hey, I come from a city where streets are Straight and blocks are Nice and Square and Midwest-American and none of this Eurotrash twisty-angley-road traffic-circle folderol.
Anyway Ted dropped me off at the show and I enjoyed the show and wondered why a band with 4700+ Myspaz fiends still only had like 3 people at their show who weren't the other bands on the bill or their dates, and I talked to the singer and bought a cd and then went down the street and waited for the bus, which came of course at a time almost dead smack between the times one would have expected it based on the 11-page bus schedule (that's another thing: is an 11-page bus schedule really necessary for a bus that basically runs up and down one street?). I was a little nervous abt waiting on the street for the bus at midnight all alone, but got over it because even though it was a slow bar night, I was right in front of some super-noisy gourmet Belgian frites bistro (well, there goes the neighborhood) and there were yuppies popping up every three minutes in shorts and flip flops with cell phones (and there I was dressed all in black with sneakers in case I had to run, having even turned my Hot Water Music hoodie inside out for added blending) as well as po-po cars tooling up and down regularly. Too bad the B-land can't get a similar vibe going in its area. At one point, some dude in a suit showed up with another dude who seemed to be giving him a tour of potential real estate development sites - at 12 midnight - they were like gay mafiosi or something. I even saw at least two empty on-duty cabs. Eventually the bus materialized, full of tired workers, baby mommas, alkies, hookers and one Metro official writing it all down who got on and off each stop, and whisked me back to civilization without a hitch. I do hope they're not planning to jack that route around. Keep It Simple, Stupid.