The Lost Wallet Follies

The Lymbyc System at Chop Suey, Nov. 16, 2006.

There is nothing as socially crippling as misplacing your wallet. Conversations are pointless, your train of thought runs on a single track, and you can't drink. And, as we all know, a night out without booze equals zero fun.

Luckily, the bar I was at before heading to Chop Suey last Thursday was lax on checking IDs, so I was able to throw a few back and get loosened up early in the night. But when it came time to settle up, a cold chill gripped me as I reached around to my back pocket to discover that—oh shit!—my wallet was gone. The staff at Chop Suey would surely not be as laissez-faire as the bartenders here.

Immediately, I became accusatory and started leering at every sketchy fuck in the bar who looked like he was into petty crime. But everyone seemed to be minding his or her own business for the most part, and I concluded that nobody there stole my wallet. After all, I had only been four places that night: the bar, my apartment, my car, and a gas station where a frumpy-looking kid near the Dumpster drinking Red Bull stared at our car like he'd been expecting us. But he never came near me. If it wasn't in the bar or in the car, it had to be in my apartment.

The trip from Capitol Hill to my place on the north side is, well, a trek. (It's amazing what obstacles a lake and a ship canal can be.) The only problem is that I was committed to watching Arizona's post-rock brother duo, the Lymbyc System, open for the Album Leaf at Chop Suey. To travel back to my place would mean I'd no doubt miss the band. Yet without my wallet, I risked not gaining entry at all. So I jumped in the car and sped back to my place—where I found my wallet right where I left it: in the middle of the living room floor. I made it back to the club to catch the Lymbyc System's final song.

Several years ago, a friend of mine from Ohio offered up this image: When you're under 21, it's like looking at a city map and seeing big red X's over certain key spots. Those X's indicate the places you really want to be, precisely because you can't go there. Last Thursday, I was given a reminder of that which I take for granted: the benefit of being over 21 in the United States. It's like being granted a key to the city. Oh, and that one Lymbyc System song I managed to catch sounded quite good.

Opening Act is a weekly look at a band you didn't go to see, but saw anyway—because they played before the band you went to see (and were maybe even better).

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