Oh, houseguests. The joys are endless, really. Sleeping on the couch, cleaning up 3x as much hair, running out of hot water for the shower… it’s a real treat.
One real (non-facetious) benefit to having houseguests, though, is that it forces you to put down the remote, take a break from your regular weekend PVR marathon, and actually get off your ass for a change. So when my sister and her friend were in town from Nova Scotia this past weekend, I tried to gracefully swallow my resentment, and plan some fun stuff for us to do around Toronto.
Next we checked out some comedy at Second City. I’ll be honest, I was afraid it would leave me with a bad case of “the cringes”.. But I was actually pleasantly surprised at how funny it was. Minus the unnecessary dancing interludes.
Hands down the most interesting experience we had all weekend, though, was our ill-fated attempt at getting tickets to the Kanye West/ Jay Z concert. It was sort of a last minute decision, and since the show was sold out, we headed down to the concert and try to pick up some tickets from the dudes hanging around outside of the stadium.
Now, I grew up in a small town where, if you had shit to sell, you called and did it over a local AM radio show called “Swap and Shop“. Washing machines, old skates, retainers, you name it, bitches were selling it. Tickets, however, were strictly prohibited items. This left me with the impression that scalping was a highly illegal activity. So I was surprised to learn that, here in Toronto, it’s not only not enforced- but a lucrative underground enterprise. There were at least 100 scalpers trawling the grounds, and we thought this would be a walk in the park…until we started talking to a few of them, and realized we had entered a tangled web of scalping hierarchy.
There were two “Dons” amongst the scalpers, each with no less than 70 employees hustling for them. In a complex feeder system, the lackeys would greet you, get your necessary purchase information and ultimately deliver you back to the Don for final determination. I felt like I was in an episode of The Wire.
The Dons all had a few features in common: freakishly straight white teeth, about 5’2 in height, bald, chewing the hell out of a piece of gum , and hating on us for absolutely no reason. Seriously. Every time we made some headway with a lackey, the Don pulled the veto card. Maybe he didn’t like our non-regional diction.. or the cut of our jibs… but we just couldn’t catch a break. We even tried pulling the “I just flew in from Nova Scotia” card on a Don from Newfoundland and he simply turned a blind eye. This, we felt, was the ultimate betrayal. If you can’t get a deal from a fellow east coaster, then what have you got left? (Nothing. The answer is nothing. It’s the most sacred of all black market relationships.)
Deciding to cut our losses, we were making our way out of the stadium, when we encountered a girl perched at the entrance, shouting “Tickettsssss” in a highly practiced auctioneer voice. I stopped and took a good look at her. She was younger than me, maybe 19, and vaguely resembled Ruby Sue from National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. (Seriously. I think there may have been literal dirt on her cheeks.) I decided I liked her.
“Do you have 3 tickets??” I asked. “Sure, I can help you” she said…”let me take you to my boss”.
Sigh. I knew it was too good to be true. “can’t we just deal with you?” I asked.
“Nah.. ” She responded. “I ain’t got no tickets.. I just stand here and get people’s attention. I’m just the worm on the hook“.
This struck me as strangely profound… and as I watched her shiver in the cold, eyes wide as saucers, I couldn’t help but feel a sort of connection between us. Sure, on the outside we couldn’t be more different.. she, a child ticket reseller with a speech impediment, and me a jaded young professional with a Kardashian Complex, but on the inside, maybe me and Ruby Sue weren’t so different after all. Both of us just worms on the hook… being offered up as a constant sacrifice, in an attempt to reel in the big fish for the ultimate Don they call “The Man”.
At that moment, the RocaWear merchandise truck blasting Lil’ Wayne barreled past, and quickly snapped me back into reality. Was I really having an existential crisis right now?? while talking to a ticket scalper at a Kanye West/Jay Z concert?? I must be getting my period.
“Screw it” I said to my sister. “Let’s go get some burgers. I’m pretty sure I just felt the first tremor of a feeling.. and that shit needs to be taken care of.”