ZooDiatribes, part deux

Everyone always seems hot for ZooTunes, but as I reported last year, there are certain drawbacks, two of them being the chair Nazi and being on a first name basis with everyone else’s butt. Now, the two issues are pretty much related, since I would not have the latter problem if I had a tall enough chair. But there’s the choice you need to make. Want to go to ZooTunes? Be prepared to defend your personal space. This time, I’m bringing caltrops and a battery-operated cattleprod.

This year, a new issue popped up. I wanted to give the husband Leon Redbone tickets (a.k.a. Kottke “with” Redbone) for a gift, and I was getting a little paranoid about the whole thing. “Do you suppose they might sell out??,” I asked a long-suffering friend. “Leon Who?,” she replied.

But that’s how it is with me and presents — when I find the perfect gift, I get fixated — and this is how I came to be standing in line at 7:40 in the morning at Sandpoint Metropolitan Market. The first thing you always find out about ZooTunes is that you gotta go in person to get your ticket. The next thing I found out about being there on Opening Day was that they had a special corral for people like me — people who weren’t there for eggs or bread or milk, but were simply there for tickets. These people had overflowed the corral, and the line went out the door and around the side of the building. It was drawing the attention of passers-by and passing vehicles.

Silly me, I thought I would be able to take a number and wander over to drool on the custard tarts.

I got in line because I had to get back home and go to work on time, because this was how I was planning to pay for the tickets. In order keep from thinking about how I was going to freeze to death, I took a poll of who was going to see what. Right away, everyone within earshot told me they were going to see the Indigo Girls. I could tell the girls were the top name band, since they cost twice as much as the other shows.

It was cold, standing outside, and I hadn’t dressed very warmly, so after a while I started to shiver and then of course my gums got to flapping, and I started asking my co-waiters why they wanted to see who they were seeing. This led to a whole long discussion about everyone who was playing ZooTunes this year; one guy serenading us with “At Last” when we didn’t know who Etta James was; a whole digression into the Gorge and Sasquatch; and commiseration over the missing Pier concerts and where the missing Pier bands had gone to.

Periodically an overly cheerful woman came around to ply us with expired pink sugar cookies and free samples of zoo blend coffee, which (she was careful to explain) was roasted yesterday. The guy who had serenaded us stopped singing, and started conducting a focus group on where we shopped and hung out for coffee and snacks. I guess he decided if he was going to stand in line, he’d damn well get paid for it.

Once the 8AM deadline came and went, the line moved quickly, thanks to the five registers they opened especially for the event. I left with two more important pieces of information for next year — dress warm; bring a chair.

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