@ZackTeibloom It’s been awhile. Looking back, I haven’t officially crashed since SXSW 2012. Last month I crashed my way into a Run The Jewels SXSW show by crutching into the press line and just scooting by, but there wasn’t enough story to write up. This one had a bit more to it. While RTJ was six blocks from my apartment, I couldn’t even park within six blocks of the Erwin Center thanks to construction and event parking without paying $12. And I wasn’t going to drop that much on parking without having a ticket. After about 15 minutes of circling I found a handicap spot in front of a bar seven blocks away from the venue.
Before I could even start crutching, a pedicab rolled up and offered to give me a lift. I told him I was trying to save cash and didn’t even have a ticket, but he insisted so I hopped in and told him I could throw him $5. After he powered up a hill and dropped me right at the entrance I realized the smallest bill I had was a 10, so I let him keep it. I crutched up a flight of stairs and a guy walking behind me commented, “I didn’t want to say anything until you made it, but nice work!” “One more obstacle to go,” I told him. “I don’t have a ticket yet.”
Before I finish the crash story, it’s been pretty miserable having crutches, but I dug deep and found ten things I enjoy about it.
Top 10 best parts of having crutches
10. Office chairs – I’ve come to depend on office chairs round the clock, whether I’m at home or in the office. You can’t really carry anything while crutching, but if you’re wheeling around with your one good leg powering you, your hands are free to carry things from room to room. I even take my office chair into the elevator and down to the cafe at lunch. I get a lot of looks, but most will admit it’s inventive.
9. William H. Kuntz – Speaking of elevators, I spend a lot more time on them now and have noticed that they all say inspected by William H. Kuntz. And most times I see it I laugh to myself thinking, “hehe Billy Cunts.” I’m 30 years old.
8. Strangers who want to know a story – At least three times a day, often in elevators, a stranger will ask me what happened. There’s always a story with crutches. Nine times out of ten I’m happy to tell it, even though I don’t really remember that much of it. Still, it’s a nice ice breaker and I appreciate the curiosity.
7. Helpful people – If you ever need your faith in humanity restored, break your foot. People really show their best side, going out of their way to open doors or help you carry things or give you a ride on their pedicab. It’s quite refreshing.
6. I only go out when I need to – It’s such an easy out if I don’t want to do something. I’m only going out for my favorite bands or comedians or if I really want to be at an event. Otherwise, yeah, no. The Who passed that test.
5. Handicap parking – The first time I broke my foot the recovery was a lot shorter so I didn’t bother. Totally worth getting the doctor’s note and going to the DMV. It makes life so much easier. I would have had to pay for parking last night.
4. Strong arms – My triathlon training may have gone to shit, but my arms are pretty buff from all the crutching. I really gave them a workout when I insisted on crutching the seven blocks back to my car after the show.
3. Grocery carts – I thought it would be a bit embarrassing to ride one of those electronic carts at the grocery store. Turns out it’s almost as fun as a go-kart. I found myself doing donuts in the yogurt aisle much to Caitlin’s chagrin.
2. Caitlin being extra sweet – And not just when I embarrass her in the grocery store. She’s been super helpful at making life easy for me at home and when we go out. I can’t imagine doing this alone.
1. It makes crashing easier – I wouldn’t have had much of a plan at all if I didn’t have crutches. The doors were pretty well guarded and the move I made to get in probably wouldn’t have worked without them. Let’s get into that.
So I crutch up to the entrance and there’s a couple scattered guys trying to unload tickets. One guy is trying to sell his $139 ticket for face. I pass and he tries to offer it to me for $80, but I’ve only got $63 in my pocket after the pedicab and wasn’t planning on paying more than $30 if possible. The main gates are well guarded, so I crutch around to the side of the building. A security guard in a wheelchair offers to get me a wheelchair if we go around to the main entrance. I thank him, but that’s not my main concern at this point.
At the side entrance, there’s an entire wall of doors that are locked, right by the merch tables. They’re locked, but all it takes is one person leaving and having them hold the door for me and I could get in. I mill around by there and one guy leaves. The door closes quickly behind him and he sees me and asks if I want him to open it. I’m unsure. I know he can’t open it and will need security to do it for him. I say sure, curious to see what happens. He knocks on the door and security opens the door. I’m clutching a folded piece of paper that’s actually my printed ticket for Fleetwood Mac at the same venue from earlier in the month. I thank the security guard for holding the door, say “I’m sorry” a couple times. I purposefully make it look like I’m struggling with my crutches and just keep moving while half waving the piece of paper in his direction. He doesn’t say anything, so I keep moving. And just like that I’m inside the venue. I now need to find a seat. I go into the closest entrance to me and find a section a few rows down with 8 empty seats. I plop myself down and catch the last three songs of Joan Jett, including “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Crimson and Clover” and hope no one comes to claim the seats. They never do.
The Who were just what I’d hoped for. Sure, they’re not nearly as explosive or tight as they once were, but they play a great set of songs and are still cheeky and fun. All I needed to see was Roger twirl his mic around and Pete swing that windmill guitar stroke and they did it early and often. I stayed for 11 songs, seeing some all-time favorites, starting with “I Can’t Explain
,” “The Seeker,” “Who Are You?” “The Kids are Alright and got some fun banter from Pete who claimed there were hundreds of better guitarists in Austin than him and told some fun stories about friends getting high and telling them they knew what “I Can See For Miles” meant, before admitting some just thought it was about a bloke who could see a heck of a long way. I was happy to finally see one of my all-time favorites play and can happily cross them off the bucket list and add another crash to my list.