Wastin’ Away in Margaritaville

IMG_0085[1]This nice picture of Jimmy Buffett was on Facebook today.  It’s the only picture I saved today.

Long before there was almost anything else, I was a Jimmy Buffett fan.  One day I found a tape in a discount bin for $1 and recognized a song on it (I’m sure it was “Come Monday”), so I bought it.  Eventually, the only medium I did not purchase his music in/on was vinyl.  I purchased the entire catalog on tape, on CD, in mp3 format.  (And tape covers about 5 different formats.)

I went to my first Jimmy Buffett concert at the old Santa Monica Civic.  It was like an old high school auditorium.  There were folding chairs on a wooden floor.  And you had to shuffle your feet to move around because the floor was literally awash in empty Southern Comfort bottles; we were ankle deep in empty bottles.  I paid $7.50 for the ticket, and I still have it.  For years and years I went to one concert a year, looking for the announcement in the Calendar Section of the LA Times.  Buying a ticket from all the “official” venues, including the box office of the theater.   I’ve seen him at every venue in Southern California, from the Santa Barbara Bowl to the Chula Vista (used to be Verizon) outdoor venue.  I like Irvine the best.

One year — in a complete life-altering moment — my date crapped out on me.  And I had tickets to Buffett.  And nobody to go with.  And I wanted to go.  So I went to the Anaheim Convention Center alone.  The people around me were so nice.  “Wow, you must really be a fan.”  Well, yes I was.  It was a really surprizingly pleasant experience — and think of the money I could save not buying 2 tickets.  I have never hesitated to go to anything alone since.  (That’s probably a good/bad thing.  It never occurs to me to ask anyone to go with me to anything.)

Another year it dawned on me — this was when he was playing several nights at the same venue — that I could go twice in one year.  Major light bulb moment.  I could go see him in Irvine and at the Hollywood Bowl.  Or sometimes on back-to-back nights at the same venue.  It was an unbelievable amount of money (probably $60 per ticket at a time when that was A LOT of money to me).  But, my husband at the time told me, “the Buffett concert is the one time each year you are truly happy”.  (Well, that was probably true with him in the picture.)  So I always went at least once.   And twice if I could swing it.  (It never occurred to me back then that I might go every night.)

I had a job, for awhile, in which I traveled 100%.  And I figured out I could do triangle trips and loop through a city in which Buffett had a concert, spend Saturday night, and the comany would pay for it.  I’ve seen him all over the country. In every city except LA, if I tell the parking staff that I’m there alone and that I came from LA for this concert, they let me park someplace close, well lit, and safe.  (If I said that at home they’d just look at me.)  In variably the person I’m sitting next to says “does he know you’re here?”  No he doesn’t.  There are probably 1,000 people just like me at any show — maybe more.

Once I was flying to a meeting in New Jersey, and the plane didn’t take off from Atlanta.  I had to spend the night in a hotel.  The next day, having missed the meeting, I traveled on.  I later learned that Jimmy Buffett was playing in Atlanta that night.  I had no where to go, I was already in Atlanta.  Rats.  That’s the event that made me put his entire schedule into my Outlook calendar. I use that info to my benefit probably once a year.   Last year I was at a conference in Denver and scheduled to fly home on Thursday.  But Buffett was playing in Indianapolis that Thursday.  So I had to find a map and see where in the hell Indiana is compared to Denver.  And in the end, I flew east, went to the show, and then flew west at the crack of dawn on Friday.

Another life lesson learned through Jimmy Buffett concerts is that life is too short to buy crappy seats.  I always have bought the best seats I could afford.  (And I do that for every event I attend.)  Ebay, and later Stub Hub, have made buying good seats all that much easier.  Except in Las Vegas (where the cost is prohibitive), I rarely sit father back than the 10th row.  I really like to be in the first 3-5.  I’ve been in the front row twice; I got the set list from one of those shows.

His fans do a “convention” in Key West the first week of November every year.  It’s called the Meeting of the Minds and Buffett generally does not show up.  About 3500 Parrotheads from all over the country show up — as do Coral Reefer band members and other musicians from the genre — for three days of drinking and music.  I’ve been a couple of times.  It’s not that interesting to me — California in November can be just as nice as Key West.  And even on the 20th anniversary of the event, when it was very likely that Buffett would appear (and he did), I didn’t want the hassle of schlepping down to Key West, which is out of the way, to say the least.

In describing myself (in thinking about myself), I think of myself first as a parrothead.

And why do I listen to his music?  I don’t drink all that much.  I don’t sail.  I don’t fly planes.  It’s because his music makes me happy.

Food Today:  recorded

Plan for Tomorrow:  done

Training Today:  lifted weights, ran peninsula 3.3 miles, appt with Lisa Fills

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