A chunk of yesterday vanished as I madly combed the universe for affordable seats to Bruce Springsteen’s extended Broadway extravaganza, verified fan code I’ve been hoping to get for months in hand. My dad’s love for Bruce Springsteen predates my existence. They’re from the same nook of New Jersey. Springsteen is special. When I first heard about this show it sounded like it’d be such a treat for him. Prior to receiving my special code text and sinking into the Ticketmaster void, my definition of an “affordable” price to a live performance with a super high production value had 2 digits. How quaint. Two digits would barely cover Ticketmaster’s processing fees.
But what’s money when you harbor a financial lunatic inside you?
Years ago, Raj and I set out on one of many apartment hunts. The journey taught me how much I know about budgeting under pressure. Back then we lived in a nightmare with a busted front door that didn’t lock. I nailed the fire escape window shut after some dude squeaked open the window and started climbing in while I was working from home, about two feet away. The lopsided floors imbued each sleepy morning with confused panic. Are we tipping over?
Apartment hunting in Brooklyn on a normal budget is fun if you enjoy exploring the very edges of livability. One real estate agent with slick hair found his bliss by showing us places further and further beyond our budget. By the end of the day, we’re on the balcony of a duplex with a lovely view of Greenwood Cemetery. Raj went back to searching Craigslist while I arranged pretend patio furniture on our magical balcony because I can work three jobs. I want to work three jobs. Anything for you, Duplex with radiant floor heating.
Yesterday, that lunatic returned. In a matter of seconds, getting my dad tickets to see Bruce Springsteen morphed from a wouldn’t-that-be-fun to my life’s mission. The reason for my existence. No $75 tickets? So began the hunt. No $200 seats left on any date? And up and up jumped my budget odometer. Ah, a $400 seat way off to the side and a $300 ticket way up there for his friend. They can wave to each other and everything. Score! What a steal!
To buy or not to buy? I put those seats in my cart with 5 Ticketmaster minutes to decide. How did I go from willing to splurge on 2 tickets for a dream total of $150-ish+fees to possibly parting with $700+fees for my dad’s only chance to be happy ever. To buy or not to buy? Of course none of my sisters answered their phones to advise while the clock counted down.
King Lear asked his daughters How much do you love me? It didn’t go well. When we were kids the answer was an easy This much with arms wide. That was enough. That’s still enough. I know that. Lunatic doesn’t.
Because it’s Bruce Springsteen and it’s for my dad. He hasn’t seen Springsteen play since before he was a dad, lifeguard by day and hanging around The Saint at night, chatting with Clarence Clemons in the parking lot after shows, telling us what a nice guy he was anytime we heard that sweet saxophone so many years later. The need to put my dad in a seat at this show swelled. Finally, the same part of me that didn’t want to work three jobs to live in a duplex snapped to attention with a simple suggestion to ask if he even wanted to go. I called my dad fully expecting an excited Yes and you were always my favorite.
What I got was Nah. I don’t want to go all they way up there for that.
So now I’m clear. A real show in New Jersey with the full band is a cranky yes. Absolutely. Sitting in a lousy seat in a Broadway theater listening to stories and songs about the working class for $400 is a don’t you dare pay that much money.
The effort wasn’t fruitless. I finally harassed my dad into revealing something he actually does want for Christmas. A fruit cake. He loves fruit cakes. The kind he grew up with – dark and fruity with lots of booze. A good one, he felt the need to specify, meaning please don’t bake it yourself. I won’t. I’m still hearing about a cake I baked him in the 90’s. It looked like a cake. Smelled like lasagna and tasted like chocolaty bologna due to a mix-up in the adding savory seasoned oil department. So begins a new hunt.