New York City, baby.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Blubox is trying to focus on the positive but this is hard when the AOL Street Team is toying with our emotions so malevolently.

We don’t mind being forced to chase these over-the-shoulder bag toting Abercrombie and Finch underwater watch wearing “Barcelona was crazy!!” “this-is-a-really-good-job-to-make-contacts” interns all around the city for a free ticket to the Dave Matthews Band Concert in Central Park. Oh, if it was only that simple.

If you track these hellishly likable camp counselor-types down, you don’t get a ticket, but rather a game piece. The game piece is really an AOL Free Trial Packet with a scanned bar code (Yes, Montgomery Burns. Genius. Pure Genius.)

The Street Team scans your bar code (the external one on the packet as opposed to the internal one AOL placed in your cranium at birth) to tell you if you are an instant winner. You have a 1 and 4 chance of winning. Ah, such good odds. Deceivingly good.

First I went to Washington Square Park. Our first Game piece was scanned by the high tech scanner. The words popped up on the tiny digital screen: SORRY. The Street Teamer told me there was other ways we could win, but in our state of shock we could only partially hear them. We made out something about “renouncing all family and friends and committing ourselves to the AOL way of life.”

All around us in the park, people were getting scanned and winning tickets. NYU Freshman who didn't deserve tickets were stepping in shit left and right. We went into covert mode and weasled a second game piece. The scanner caressed our game piece: SORRY.

Never have I felt more helpless. Then, just as we were about to slither away in our state of pissed-off beyond beliefdom, a blonde pony-tailed cap-wearing AOL Street Team member, with her useless existence aura, offered me a third game piece. This had to be the one. It just had to be. SORRY

We got word from the Blubox Intern that the AOL Street Team would be giving out game pieces today at Webster Hall from 6 to 11. We fought our way -- and we mean fought our way -- through the crowd waiting to get into the Evanescence show. We spotted the Street Team and quickened our pace. We approach an affable blonde-dyed dude with his bright orange shirt and over-the-shoulder bag. “Sorry, all out.”


“We've been here for hours, dude. It was a mob scene. We're cleaned out. No more game pieces. That line over there is just for the winners.”

In our crestfallen state, we turn and look at the long line. We focus on the guy at the front of the line. A guy in a one piece velor suit -- one of Snoop Dogg’s cousins presumably.

"That's too bad. I turned him away eight times," says the Street Teamer. "He's not the true Dave Matthews Band fan."

The guy slides the tickets into his back pocket with a Jimmy Walker grin. Some Corporate Lawyer will be buying those tickets for $70.

"Scalpers. They've been messing things up for the real fans like you. It really ruins the spirit of the event," explains the Street Teamer.

The other members of the Street team are suddenly huddled around, commiserating with us and a few short-haired college-educated white guys in their late 20s and early thirties. One is wearing a suit with no tie. He drinks top-shelf vodka. We would probably exchange happy glances in the middle of Tripping Billies.

The show is for us. Uptight, neurotic white boys. The ones who transcend two or three times a year. If they are lucky. This show was ours. It wasn't for some street hustler to make a profit.

"I can't tell you how many of the people said to me after getting a game ticket: What did I just win?" says another Street Team member. Why our we listening to this? Do we really need him to lay out the brutal reality for us? Yes.

Those of us -- the true fans -- we must stand there and watch the long line of people collecting their winning tickets. And with what we heard still ringing in our ears, we study each person in line. That forty-year old women with the big ugly purse --- we're going out on a limb and saying she does not own the Unreleased Lilywhite Sessions. The gangsta in the Eagles Jersey who's still wiping the Flame Broiled Whopper from his lips -- he was at Red Rocks, definitely.

The hunt continues...


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