As a young lad growing up in New Jersey, summer was my favorite season. Not so much because of the weather, but really because of the all the free time I had. I loved the freedom from the regimented school day, and used this new-found autonomy in the most efficient way possible: playing video games and reading comic books. However, as I’ve become older and more grizzled, summer is dropping down in my season power rankings. I’m sweating in the subway to work, all vacation spots are increasing their prices, and I spend 20 minutes putting on sunscreen to go out and check the mail. And yet, even as the glory days of summer become a thing of the past, I still love Memorial Day weekend, as it signifies the start of what will assuredly be the greatest summer ever. This year, things kicked off the way my younger self would have whole-heartedly approved of: a Third Eye Blind concert.
The crew for this adventure consisted of the Atlantic City veteran and man of leisure, OB, and good-friend-but-Atlantic-City-novice Steve. Like many of our trips, this tale begins in the subterranean basement of Port Authority, waiting at gate 80….
3:30PM – OB and I are waiting on an ever-growing line for a bus to Caesar’s. As it is Memorial Day weekend, the crowd is more numerous and more hostile. Behind us, a crazy women dressed like Stevie Nicks is monitoring the line, yelling at people she suspects may be cutting in (when in reality, they are just asking if this was the right gate, or they had been in line already). We are slightly nervous, as Steve has been unresponsive so far, and sneaking him into our spot in line may prove difficult. However, another bus to Atlantic City shows up at the adjacent gate, and the crazy lady hops on it. The first crisis of the weekend has been averted.
4:00 – Due to the excess of people, there are two buses waiting to take people to Caesar’s at the scheduled time. We begin to board, with Steve still incommunicado. We have to pass up the first bus, and things are starting to look dicey. The next bus is the “last of the Mohicans,” a strange Greyhound worker tells us. As OB and I try to unwrap this baffling piece of information, Steve makes a dramatic last minute appearance, and we are able to get the second bus. Second crisis averted, and we are off to Atlantic City!
6:25 – At our estimated arrival time, we arrive….at exit 102 on the Garden State Parkway. The traffic is bad but not unexpected – it is Memorial Day Weekend after all. However, the concert starts at 9:00PM, and I still do not have a ticket to the concert. Just to explain the situation – OB was given two complimentary tickets, but the seat location was not set. I would like to get a third complimentary ticket, but failing that, I would like to buy a ticket near where they are sitting.
Anyway, this bus ride was not as booze-filled as our usual trips. Since it is just the Friday of a three day weekend, we are all playing the long game – you don’t want to get too drunk too early. We pass the extended bus ride by playing a “top 3″ game, where we name our top 3 songs by particular artists, or top 3 movies by particular actors. We are cool.