My friend Todd is a bassoonist. I don't know if you're supposed to put "classical" bassoonist, cause I don't know if there's any other kind? But that's what he is. He plays in orchestras around the country, jets off to exciting places like Wisconsin and Florida. He's got dark curly hair and a gorgeous poised "I look like a ballerina" girlfriend. He brews beer. He's living the dream. Anyway. Bassoonist. We love Todd.
So last night, he got me a ticket to one of his performances with the Akron Symphony. I was going to meet up with some of my other friends before the show, but I ended up running out of my house late, big surprise. I'd never been to EJ Thomas Hall before, because in general I try to keep my time in Akron succinct and to the point. Akron tries to trap you with one way streets and despite having had to drive there for my birth certificate multiple times*, and various forays out to college dance bars, I have yet to learn anything about the layout of downtown Akron. At all. I'm convinced the damn streets move like that MC Escher picture of the stairs, floating back and forth like buoys on the rough waves of fucking Summit County. Maybe it's the leftover fumes of Goodyear that turn me around, but every experience I've had in Akron can be boiled down to this: "how the fuck do I get off the Akron U campus? Why does this building look exactly like the four buildings I just passed where I also couldn't turn left? Is Exchange street in fact an alternate dimension with no beginning or end point?"
I finally got to the Hall, but couldn't find the parking lot, so I walked in the lobby 5 minutes late (after the valets finally just let me take one of their spaces since I looked like I was about to cry after curbing my car pulling into the damn garage), and had to wait until the first pause before I could go in and find my seat. The performance was beautiful, Todd's principal piece was wonderful. I actually learned what a bassoon sounds like, which sounds ignorant**, but really, it's not an instrument I see a lot separate from the whole orchestra, right? So it was like a good class field trip, one in which we went out to drink later. I did find the bar much easier. Hung out with my friends for a little, told Todd he was wonderful ect., admired Todd's girlfriends ability to look French all the time. The risotto balls at Bricco are great, the fried pickles are good but not spectacular. Then we all got up to go home, and went outside.
Into the deepest fog ever. Like, if ever there was a fog that made you think there was an alien attack or that something evil this way comes, this was it. It was all over the city in thick grey soupiness, which was fine and fitting for flitting my way back the highway, cause Akron matches that abandoned train line feel. But once on 77 and headed home, it became a problem. You couldn't see more than ten feet in front of you. Worse, a large stretch of the Bop back to Coney is street light less deer farm country. I had to turn my brights on for literally the first time in my entire time owning this car. Which meant I had to find the brights. The lone car in front of me kept disappearing into wormholes and reappearing randomly, so I went fifty the whole 45 minutes back, convinced I would hit a deer, run off the road, have to hitch a ride in the fog, and end up a news story, or wrapped in duct tape in a Fairlawn basement.
According to my friend, this is what happens when the lake isn't frozen over yet, the Blind Fog creeps over the valley and throws you back into the Country Primeval.
Eventually I crawled out of the muck into the Cleveland lights. I picked up my friend, who was biking back from a bar, so I parked on his street and waited for ten minutes, during which I saw 1 drug deal and 2 gay prostitutes. Oh Ohio City. Oh Akron. Oh Ohio how hard you try to remind us we are only settlers here, and that your weather patterns, your underground rivers, your glacial history and wet future all still exist despite our best attempts at infrastructure.
*This is why Akron tries to kill me, because I was born there, and it is my Achilles Heel Zone and I become powerless and weak when in it's grip.
** I am not in fact saying the bassoon sounds ignorant, even though that's what the sentence structure implies. Bassoons sounds very smart.