Tuesday, Jul. 05, 2005

The Streets of Philadelphia

I always hate coming back home after going away on vacation. Today is my first day back to work since Wednesday. I had forgotten that yesterday was the 4th of July, so instead of having a four day weekend, to my surprise, I had a five day weekend. It was a great weekend too. I just wish it could have lasted longer....

Any other time when Adam and I went away, I'd leave the housework for when we got home. The mess was just too bad to be left go this time though, so I cleaned vigorously on Wednesday night. All the dishes were done, floors were vacuumed, bedroom and livingroom were dusted, and the bathroom was spotless. The only thing that needed to be done was the laundry. However, the piles and piles of clothing on our floor were still there when we left for Philadelphia on Thursday night. We had too many other things to do during the day so we did a small load of laundry; enough clothes to take with us, at Patty and Jack's. By the time we drove to the bank and back to withdraw money, met Nate for our herbal fix, got something to eat and showered, it was already 6:30 / 7:00 pm. We were on the road a little later then I wanted to be, but we still made fairly good time.

From my house, Philly is very easy to get to so we had no problem locating my sister's house. Basically, as soon as we entered the city, we turned down a few streets and we were at her front door. The area that Megan lives in is really nice. She lives in a fairly rural college area a few blocks from her school (USP), Drexel, and UPenn. A lot of the houses near there were student housing and they all looked the same. Megan's house and most of the others were three story, brick houses with about five steps leading up to the front porch. As soon as we found her house she called my cell phone asking when we'd be there. I said,"Well, we're here, we just have to find a place to park." As it turned out, her entire street is only two hour parking so we took our luggage inside while Megan parked my car.

Julia, Heather, Chelsea and a few other friends of Megan's from home were already waiting outside her house to go to the party. Chelsea came up to me while Megan and her boyfriend, Phil were parking my car and said,"We (as in her and Julia) don't like Megan's new guy. He doesn't treat her right." At the time I didn't have the right to form an opinion of him yet because I had only met him a few moments earlier. I could only go by my first impression but I was sort of leaning towards the feelings Chelsea and Julia were having towards him. While we walked to the party he was being very loud, a little obnoxious and he seemed arrogant. He reminded me of the stereo typical frat boy. Adam joked,"He probably just bought that outfit at Abercrombie yesterday." I was surprised that his collar wasn't popped.

The party was hosted at my sister's friend's house in honor of her birthday. We were the first people to arrive there. Adam and I had bought beer before we left for Philly but were unable to take it to the party anyway because it would have been too much to walk a few blocks with a cooler full of Bud Light and Miller Light. After we arrived at the party, we were taken downstairs to where the keg was. We were led down very narrow, winding steps to a small, dank basement with a low ceiling. As I was walking down the steps, memories of frat parties with Taryn and Jaquolyn came flooding back to me. It reminded me of the parties we used to go to so much when we were summer freshman. The only thing that was missing was the dirt floor. At least this one was concrete. What was not missing however, was bad beer. I haven't been to a college party in ages so drinking Bud Light has spoiled me terribly. I would drink Natural Ice at the parties Jaquolyn, Taryn and I used to go to and wouldn't mind it at all. I could barely get down three or four cups of Milwaukee's Best without gagging. My shot of Gray Goose that Chelsea saved for me tasted like heaven in a shot glass. Seriously, it did!

Most of the night Adam and I hung out outside in the backyard. The party filled up quickly. As soon as we knew it there were tons of people milling around inside and out. The backyard that was bare when we got there was now filled with guys and girls laughing, drinking, hollering and having a great time. Despite the people, noone was aware that Adam, Heather and I snuck off to the side of the house and smoked a joint. We emerged from the side of the house into the backyard again with slightly red eyes and dazed looks on our faces. At that point I couldn't drink anymore of 'The Beast' (Milwaukee's Best) so Adam and I walked down the street to a bar to have something other than cheap beer from a keg.

The bar that we went to wasn't exactly the nicest bar in Philadelphia, but it was better than the bars from my hometown. The majority bars in my town are shitty (but fun). It reminded me a lot of a bar in town except it was about four times bigger and a hell of a lot nicer. A heavy metal band was playing at the front of the bar and there were a lot of people standing up head banging. It wasn't the kind of bar that you'd usually find me in, but it was fun none the less. Adam and I each had a drink, then left when we saw a few guys take off their shirts, start running around the building yelling.

Because there were so many people staying at my sister's house with not enough places for everyone to sleep comfortably, we decided to rent a room. For awhile, we drove around looking for a place to stay. We drove up and down streets and down and up streets. At one point, we ended up somewhere in the ghetto of west Philly. You could gradually see the scenery start to change. There were people standing outside of rundown buildings with a bunch of trash outside of them. The names of the stores were all foreign. It was just really shady. We had no business being there so we went back to where we came from and finally found a place to stay. The hotel we stayed at was a branch of a Hilton Hotel so it was very nice. The valet parked our car and we checked into our room. The only rooms that were available had double beds as opposed to kings or queens, but it was still one of the most comfortable beds I've ever slept on. I fell asleep almost instantaneously.

We requested a late checkout the next morning which enabled us to leave at 1pm instead of noon. That afternoon Adam and I went back to Megan's. While everyone was getting ready, Adam and I hung out on the back porch with this guy named Keith and two of his friends from home. We smoked and had a few beers before we went to South St.

On South St. I ate the most amazing pizza. They won an award for having good pizza because there was a plaque on the wall that said so. There was not a place to sit down in the building, but there was a room in the back that looked like some kind of beauty room where you would see people getting ready to go out. It was a rectangular shaped room with long counters where you stood up to eat your pizza. It was different for me. I was glad to get out of there though because there was no air conditioning and it was so god damn hot.

We didn't walk the whole way down South St., but we went into a record store and some clothing and shoe shops. Our funds were so limited for the weekend so I didn't have any extra spending money. Otherwise, I would have been buying a lot. I saw so many things that I liked.

As soon as we were finished walking around, we headed back to my car. It started raining the minute we got to the car and inside of it. In Philadelphia, it doesn't just rain, it like, monsoons. The rain was coming down so hard that Adam could barely see the road to drive. I looked ahead and saw the wind whipping trees around...it looked like the trees were going to come out of the ground. Dirt was flying in the sky too. I felt like I was in The Wizard of Oz. I felt really bad for people who weren't in shelter.

The rain slowed down as we got back to Megan's house. Friday night we didn't do a whole lot. Adam and I walked down the street and got pizza while mostly everyone napped. We were all bored and watched tv for a few hours until everyone got ready to go out again. My sister and her friends were going to the same kid's house we were all at the night before. I felt a little bad, but Adam and I stayed home and relaxed because we were both so tired and didn't feel much like partying. I used to love big, crazy parties like that. If this were a few years ago, I'd probably be the first one there and the last one to leave. I kept reminding myself that I'm a few years older than most of these people so I guess I'm just growing up. Those types of parties just don't have the appeal that they once did. Now, I'd rather go to a bar with friends or drink at someone's house with only a few people, not a few hundred people. Someday my sister and her friends will probably feel the same way.

I guess I didn't miss too much at the party because when Heather got home she said it was boring. That night Adam and I slept on the floor in my sister's bedroom. We forgot to bring blankets along, so we borrowed one sheet and one small blanket from Megan. We shared a bean bag chair as a pillow. haha. Heather slept on the floor beside me and Megan and Phil slept in her bed. How the two of them can sleep in a single bed comfortably together beats the hell out of me.

"Jenn ... Wake up! Time to get up!" I replied sleepily to Megan,"No, I am asleep." She laughed and said,"No you're not! Get up!" She then made a great effort trying to wake up me, Adam, Heather and Phil. Phil's response was,"You're waking me up at 7:30 in the morning! That has to be against the law." As soon as I came around a bit I was actually really awake. I rarely eat breakfast, but I even had a bowl of cereal.

For weeks, Adam had been telling me that there was no way he would go with me to the Live 8 concert due to the hundreds of thousands of people who were going to be there. He is the only person in the house who didn't go to the concert besides Phil. Originally, Megan, Heather, and I were going to walk down with Erica, Erica's brother and her brother's friends. It ended up being just Megan, Heather and I who walked down together. Erica and her brother's friends wanted to drink beforehand. I thought about drinking, but then decided against it. I didn't want to be in the sun for hours with alcohol in me. I would have either passed out or thrown up in front of everyone.

This past weekend, I did more walking then I had in years. Not only did I walk around South St. on Friday, but we walked about thirty blocks to the Live 8 concert at the Art Museam. We arrived a little before noon and there were already a lot of people there. Earlier that morning, around nine, my mom called and was like,"They're showing the concert on tv .... you girls better hurry up or it's not even going to be worth going." She was right. There were people everywhere. After we each got a bottle of water, it was finally time to brave the crowd. We weaved in and out of people, literally tripping over people who were sitting on the ground. A lot of people were on their cell phones, trying to locate their friends. Groups of people had beach balls that they would toss carelessly into the air, then someone else would hit it into the air again. Whenever someone would let it drop, everyone would yell,"ASS - HOLE!!! ASS - HOLE!!" For some reason I thought this was hilarious. As we pushed our way through the crowd, saying 'excuse me', every two seconds, I just tried to take everything in.

Since we got there at about noon, we had an hour to choose a spot to stand in. Heather, Megan, and I twisted our way through the crowd into the very front row. It was as good as it got. The part that sucked was that they had the stage raised up, but it was about 100 feet away from the audience and there was tent with sound equipment set up underneath it that kind of blocked the stage. We were still able to see the artists though as they walked across the stage. Plus, they had three big screens that showed the stage that we were able to see clearly.

When Will Smith first appeared on stage everyone went crazy. Everyone was getting so excited and ready for the actual concert to start. He spoke at the beginning about ending poverty. I don't know if people were cheering about the actual message of the concert, or the fact that we were seeing Will Smith, but after each sentence that Will spoke, everyone would get rowdy.

The opening act was Bon Jovi. I've always liked his music, but was never really a huge fan of his. Let me tell you though, that guy is about as old as my parents but can still rock like he is 23 years old. His performance was excellent. Everyone always says how Bon Jovi is an amazing live performer.; and now I know. He opened with Livin' On a Prayer. Great song. Everyone was singing along. I thought he was a good act to open with because it got the crowd excited. When his third song ended, someone I heard someone yell, "WOOO!!! Bon fuckin' Jovi!!!!!!" It was so great.

Each artist or band played about three songs, except for Alicia Keys, who only sang one, and Dave Matthews, who sang four because his fans wanted an encore. Alicia's performance was a little disappointing. The only song that she sang wasn't even hers. Megan had been waiting for her to come on because she's always loved her. When she was done, Megan was like,"Uhh... guys ......one fucking song?! Come on!" Dave sang 'Don't Drink the Water', another song that I didn't know, his new song, 'American Baby', and for the encore song he sand 'Too Much'. I'm glad he sang some old ones instead of all new songs. I prefer old Dave rather than new Dave.

Black Eyed Peas performed 'Don't Funk With My Heart', and two other songs. They were alright .... Ferg didn't sound that great. I thought she'd be better.

Kanye West was another one of the more popular people there. He had everyone dancing, singing, and clapping along with his songs.

When Toby Keith got on stage, I thought to myself,"He's going to sing 'I Love this Bar'." I hear that song at every bar I go to in my hometown so why not hear it in Philly too, right?! ha. But no, he didn't sing it. The only one I recognized from him was Whisky Girl which is a decent song.
I was thinking of Adam when Toby was singing because he likes Toby Keith. He even bought his CD last year. When I told Adam that he was there, he asked if he sang 'Weed With Willy'. lol

The funniest part of the concert was when Will Smith got up to sing. He sang 'Switch' and 'Gettin' Jiggy Wit It' first. Then, all of a sudden, he starts singing 'Iiiin.....West Philadelphia, born and raised...' He sang the theme song to 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air'. What was cool was that the whole audience sang along. I was cracking up laughing! If you know who Will Smith is, chances are you know the song to Fresh Prince. I don't think I know anyone who doesn't know the song. So just imagine, 1 million people singing it in unison with Will on stage with Jazzy Jeff. Yes, Jazzy Jeff was there. Him and Will sang 'Summertime' together.

During the breaks between artists, they showed footage from Live 8 in other countries. I heard that between all of the Live 8 shows they booked 150 bands and artists. The other countries looked like they had as big of a crowd (if not bigger) as Philly did. When they would show Philadelphia on the screens it was amazing to see all the people there and how the crowd grew as the day went on. If you saw any footage of it on MTV or the news you'll know what I mean. It was really chaotic and hectic, but a lot of fun at the same time.

Because they showed the footage from other countries, it really drug the show out. It started at 1 and by about 4:30 / 5:00, Megan, Heather and I were getting tired. We wanted to see Jay Z and then leave. We kept saying that we'd stick around for one more performer and if he wasn't next, then we'd just leave. I'm glad we stuck around though because Lincoln Park came on right before Jay Z and they were awsome. Linkin Park was one of the best performers there. People were standing up on folding chairs so they could get a better glimpse at them. Everyone was clapping and singing. After they sang 'Crawling', everyone cheered as loud as they could. Then someone started chanting,'HOVA! HOVA! HOVA!" The next thing you know, Jay Z came on stage and sang the 'Numb' duet with Linkin park. I loved it. It was absolutly incredible.

As we were leaving, Def Leppord was singing 'Pour Some Sugar on Me'. Luckily since we were standing in the very front row, behind a low fence, we hopped right over the fence towards the exit instead of trying to get out through the crowd. That would have been horrible. We walked the thirty blocks back to Megan's house even more tired than we were when we left 6 hours prior. I was so happy to sit down, relax and get something to eat.

Not too long after we ate, we decided to head home. Heather road in the backseat, Adam drove and I was in the front seat. The ride home wasn't that bad. We got out of the city a lot quicker than I thought we would. Usually going into the city isn't bad, but it's hectic leaving because around the time we left, a lot of other people usually head out too. We made it home in about three and a half hours, but that was doing the exact speed limit the entire way. So, all in all, not bad.

Now I'm back in this small town, trying to get used to being back at work and back to my normal life. Today is my sister's actual birthday. She's 19 today. I just saw her, but I miss her so much already.

missdahling at 6:59 pm