Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Trip to See Regina Spektor in Toronto but Not IKEA

I am a fainter.

I have fainted in an eclectic array of locations. I think my tendency to “black out” on occasion is a combination of rather low blood pressure and other factors like dehydration, intense pain, nausea, or a bad reaction to funky medication. (I’ve never fainted in fright and I don’t swoon. I want to make that perfectly clear. I blush, but I do not swoon.)

The first time I remember passing out was after I cut my shin on my bicycle. It basically sliced off a layer of flesh, and left a thin, white stratum of skin. It looked icky. It really hurt. Christine said:

“On my God! You cut all the way to the bone!” And Holly fell over.

I fainted in the hallway in high school. I have fainted at two separate theatrical productions. The first time I fainted on John was when we were dating. I passed out in front of his dorm building. He stood over me and as I came to I heard him say to the couple who was sitting nearby on the grass on a blanket something along the lines of, “What am I supposed to do with her?

I have refused ambulances twice. I fainted after the births of both Caleb and Ben. I have had smelling salts shoved under my nose. I have never seriously hurt myself. It’s gotten to the point that I can give someone a good three second warning before I keel over.

It is not romantic. It is a hassle and it is embarrassing.

I am also claustrophobic. I get panic attacks when confined to small, stifling spaces. Combine this with a penchant for fainting and kapow! A recipe for an incident.

So why do I go to concerts where people are squeezed together like chickens in a pen to listen to music that is too loud in a dark music hall that smells like body odor, an amalgam of colognes, and beer? I dunno.

We ventured off yesterday afternoon to see Regina Spektor (people keep asking me who she is- she’s a singer, indie-rock/pop, I guess is the best way to describe her?) in Toronto. I think someone stole my camera. I had taken some nice shots of the skyline from the pier.

It was an “all-ages” concert event, which meant that the place was swarmed with teenagers whose shrieking put them on par with screech owls, hyenas, or high-pitched pumas. I stood in the bathroom before the concert began and two girls in their late teens were applying makeup and giggling and I caught all of our reflections in the mirror. I looked… older. Not like a teenager anymore. I can’t quite put my finger on what is different. I guess there are crow’s feet around my eyes and my skin no longer has that bright luminosity accompanied by youth. I’ve always been told I looked young for my age! I think I’m starting to look like (gasp) a mom or something.

John loves Regina. I think she is one of the few women he would leave me for. I suspected this last night when we saw a young guy holding a sign above his head that said: REGINA HAVE MY BABIES. John elbowed his way up, clomped the kid, stole his sign, and held it above his own head for the rest of the evening. All the while, I was thinking, sheesh, don’t you have enough babies?

We chose a cozy spot on the side of the room near a railing where I could lean lethargically. We had a great view of Regina’s curls bouncing just above her piano. I was fine and content for quite for a while. Then the crowd got closer, the girl in front of me with the horrific body odor raised her arms, and I started to breathe more quickly.

The key to avoiding a panic attack it to be cognizant of the amount of oxygen you take in. Breathe deeply. Think happy thoughts. You are safe. The fire exit is behind you. You can move around if you really want to. The person behind you breathing on your neck probably doesn’t have the swine flu. The guy to your left isn’t feeling your butt on purpose; he’s sixteen years old and quite frankly, his androgynous appearance makes his sexuality suspect.

It was only after I realized by camera was gone and that I was starting to feel extremely warm (sudden warmth is a key sign you may be about to (a) lose your cookies or (b) tip over like an abused, unsuspecting cow on a cool fall evening) that we found a spot where we could stretch our limbs, breathe in cool air, and buy me a cool souvenir t-shirt. No incident. Some other guy had an incident. He was escorted to medical help by security men in bright yellow t-shirts. I didn’t see what happened to him but my guess is that he swooned.

Some further thoughts about the evening:

-Forty miles of traffic jam sucks. Especially if you’re driving a stick.

-If sets on Broadway shows can be completely changed in two minutes time, why can’t headline bands make their way up to the stage sooner after the opening act? What do they do back there while we wait? Must they complete the entire yoga moon salutation before appearing? Are they finishing a game of chess? Are they just watching us from someplace hidden and chuckling at what suckers we are, standing and waiting with our arms crossed and our brows furrowed until we spot a sound guy walk across the stage and we can't help but scream with excitement?

-DO NOT GO to the McDonalds near B.J.’s off the 290 in Buffalo. Just don’t.

-Whoever stole my camera sucks.

-Regina has a beautiful, pure voice, and is fantastic in concert. She is I-could-be-a-puppy adorable.

-When given the opportunity to venture to Toronto, every western NY woman thinks to herself… I shall go to Ikea and be gloriously happy! I shall decorate my habitat with inexpensive, Swedish décor! Thanks to traffic jams, NO IKEA.

-Rochester should really get an IKEA.

-Most people who live in Toronto never even heard of the Fast Ferry.

Here are the slightly nonsensical lyrics from one of my fave Regina songs:

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth
I have to go, I have to go
Your hair was long when we first met

Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
He ate a slice of wonder bread and went right back to bed
And history books forgot about us and the bible didn't mention us
And the bible didn't mention us, not even once

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the stars came fallin' on our heads
But they're just old light, they're just old light
Your hair was long when we first met

Samson came to my bed
Told me that my hair was red
Told me I was beautiful and came into my bed
Oh I cut his hair myself one night
A pair of dull scissors in the yellow light
And he told me that I'd done alright
And kissed me 'til the mornin' light, the mornin' light
And he kissed me 'til the mornin' light

Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
Ate a slice of wonderbread and went right back to bed
Oh, we couldn't bring the columns down
Yeah we couldn't destroy a single one
And history books forgot about us
And the bible didn't mention us, not even once

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first


Janet said...

Sorry I missed it! :)

Brittany at Mommy Words said...

OMG...just found your blog through MBC and am so following. Fellow fainter, fellow claustrophobe and fellow HUGE REGINA SPEKTOR fan!!! I mean huge! You may be my long lost soul sista! We can chill in big open fields listening to private concerts without all the bodies. Ah - perfection!

Christine Riesenberger said...

You make me laugh so hard. I remember when you skinned your knee, it was white, that's why I thought the bone was showing. You entertain me:)

Jennette said...

I am visiting from MBC and am now following!

Sassypants said...

Love her too. Her latest CD is my favorite though I have two others also. Laughing with is a great song it was the reason I bought the most recent CD !!! Didn't know she was in Toronto wish she had come closer! Sorry about your camera :(

Future Mama said...

I'm a fainter too! but it's only happened once :)

Stopping by from MBC Follow Me Club (even though I'm not a mom, so I hope they don't kick me out) to follow and say hello! You have an adorable blog :) I'm a Future Baby Makin' Machine, trying to prepare to become a mommy! Hope you'll share your wisdom with me!

Scott said...

I heard a slightly different version of this story from John. Also, I love that McDonalds.

Holly said...

Dear Scott,

You would.


btobey said...

Yet another thing we have in my case it's definitely related to low BP and usually happens when 1) I'm in a hot, crowded area, 2) I'm in a hot, steamy shower (this has been the scene of several fainting episodes!), and 3) I'm transiting from sitting (or crouching) to standing, especially in winter when bundled up in layers of clothing, although I can usually prevent it in those cases. The first time for me was when I was a teenager and in line for communion at church (yes, I actually went to church back then!); later, my sister had the grace to tell me "you feel on some guy's foot!" The second time was in college, just before the big holiday dinner at Bucknell, where they actually served shrimp and lobster. We were waiting in the crowded lobby to get in--this is winter, so we were wearing coats--and I passed out just as they opened the doors. Although Bob and I weren't yet dating at the time (I was still with his best friend, Steve), he was there, and he was much more concerned about getting his dinner than about my well-being. :p

Holly said...

Just another reason to be feel bad for the jilted Steve....