Last night, I attended a hot, sweaty sold-out Dinosaur Jr show in a venue a bit too small for the group. The teeming mass of sweaty humanity was packed "butts to nuts," to quote a high school PE teacher I once had, and there wasn't one second of the show in which my personal space wasn't violated. I'm such a Dinosaur Jr superfan that I managed to enjoy the show anyway, and the band was in particularly fine form, but something stupid happened in the middle of the show that momentarily threatened to turn the whole experience into one big stupid downer. I have to share some of the responsibility for the stupidity.
Despite the uncomfortable conditions, the crowd was on pretty swell behavior and people seemed to be in a good mood. I managed to squeeze into a spot next to a friend of mine and was happily enjoying the show until some drunk, high, smelly idiot and his stupid girlfriend started shoving their way into the crowd. This moron put his hand on the shoulder of my friend, which is a universal concert signal for "hey buddy, I'm trying to get through, could you please step aside while I squeeze past you," so my friend and I moved a little to accommodate him and his girlfriend. I also need to mention here that the dude was wearing a large backpack that appeared to be fully packed. Two people could have stood in the space the backpack was taking up. I don't know if this guy thought he would be moving into the venue for a few days or what. I had to stand sideways to let them squeeze through. Instead of continuing on their way, they just stand there. They stole our spots through a ruse involving deceptive rock concert body language. It was an outrage. Meanwhile, I'm stuck in a sideways position and can't move. My friend is able to squeeze back into his spot, but I'm stuck in my weird half-spot. I nudge the guy politely to try to get some of my old spot back. No response. I nudge him again. No response. Now I'm fuming. This guy, his girlfriend, and his stupid goddamn backpack are taking up way too much space at this sold-out show, and his method of shoving people out of his way is not sitting well with me. I'm pissed. So pissed that I do something stupid and childish that I immediately regret. I throw my body weight full force into the guy, which sets off a domino effect that knocks about 37 people over. No, I'm exaggerating. But it did knock over between three and six people. Oh shit, I only meant to get my spot back and now I'm probably going to be in a fight.
Several people in the crowd get pissed at backpack guy, assuming he's the one who knocked them over. He turns around and looks at me and says, "What the fuck? Why'd you shove me?" I respond, "You shoved everybody else to get your spot." Some other guy comes up and says, "Be cool, guys. Be cool." Backpack guy keeps saying, "Be nice, man. Be nice." Over and over and over. I say, "Why don't you take your own advice?" He responds, "Be nice, man. Be nice." I say, "Yeah, I heard you the first time." Then, he turns around and continues watching the show. I move a little and continue watching the show. My shitty behavior has the positive effect of actually creating a space for me to stand in, so that's something. I feel like an idiot for a few minutes, and then I feel relief that the situation didn't escalate into a fistfight. I'm not 12 years old anymore. Me, and Danny Glover, are too old for this shit.
Backpack guy did get his comeuppance later in the show, in a moment of karmic beauty, and no fists had to be thrown. He proceeded to annoy everyone around him for about 30 minutes. A guy tried to squeeze past him, and backpack guy shoved him. Backpack guy raised his hands in the air and clasped them with his girlfriend's and swayed annoyingly back and forth. Backpack guy yelled between songs, "J, YOU KICK SO MUCH ASS!!! I LOVE YOU, J!!!!!!" (How could this shit-eating mouthbreather and I love the same band so much?) Backpack guy took out his phone and started filming the show. A few minutes into the song, he dropped his phone, hard. After a few minutes of crawling on the ground looking for his phone, he picks it up and starts filming the show again. Ten seconds later, he dropped the phone again, hard and then accidentally stepped on it. Then, he and his girlfriend moved somewhere else. Did I mention he also wore a backwards baseball cap? He did. In many ways, I am a small man, so I took a great deal of pleasure in his cell phone fiasco. The End.
Moral of the story: People are dumb. I am a person. I am dumb.