I get anxious sometimes. I get anxious about appointments, things that have to happen at a certain time. I’m gonna be flying through the air inside an aeroplane on Tuesday and I’ve been anxious about it for about a week. Will I wake up in time to get to the airport? Will all possible taxi drivers suddenly disappear from the streets of Mexico City? Will someone checking my passport suddenly notice on their computer that I’m wanted for a crime I didn’t commit in Zanzibar?
Last Monday, I saw a friend on Facebook mention that they wanted to go and see Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk? Huh? Kraftwerk!? In Mexico City? A quick look at the Twitter feed of the venue, and yes indeed, tickets go on sale on Friday. Kraftwerk! In 3D! Oh my gosh! Oh my. Okay, erm, let’s double check that. Yes, indeed. Tickets on sale Friday. Through the Master of Tickets and at the box office. What time? Type-y type-y click. Midday. Noon. 12pm. Friday. Because the Master of Tickets’ Web site, rather stupidly, does not accept non-Mexican credit cards, that meant I’d have to go to the venue.
Tuesday morning: niggly stress about getting tickets. Kraftwerk, my favourite active group in the whole wide world. (Gets felt tip out and writes COMPUTER LIEBE in computer-y letters on my rucksack.) Wednesday and Thursday went by, wondering what time I should leave my flat. Box office opens at noon, it’s a relatively small venue (probably about 2,000-ish people), better get there early.
How early, though. This is where I have to balance things in my head: how much do I want to see Kraftwerk (a lot) vs. how much do I want to stand around doing nothing (not much). The second of those involved trying to calculate how quickly it would sell out. How popular are Kraftwerk here? I don’t really know. Best to assume “very.”
So I set my alarm for 9am. Woke up at 6.30am, slightly panicky that I’d overslept. Left the house at 10, got to the venue at 10.30. Only a couple of people stood outside. Sweet, I thought, got time to go and get a coffee. Spoke to the dude stood outside and he told me the queue was actually around the corner. So, it’s not just the couple of people, then. Went around the corner, and there are about 30 people in a line.
I asked the guy at the back of the line if it was the queue for Kraftwerk tickets. He said yes. (Because, what else would it be?) I put my headphones on and listened to an episode of This American Life. Another guy asked me the question I’d asked the guy in front of me. Someone else asked him the same question. And on it went, further and further down the street. In the end, there were 100 or so people there.
The guy in front of me was joined by a friend. They stood there watching YouTube clips of Kraftwerk on a mobile phone. One of them said a few words in German. It was kinda cute. I resisted the temptation to correct his bad German.
My neck and shoulders were tight. Completely tense and stressed about the 30 people in front of me. Would they be quick enough for the show to not sell out via the Ticketmaster site before I got to the front? I weighed that against the likelihood that the majority of those people would be paying with cash, cos if they had credit cards, they’d be using the Ticketmaster site themselves.
Inside a building next to where I was queuing, workmen were cutting wood. There was that smell of burning wood being cut with an electric-powered saw of some kind. I’d not eaten before leaving the flat, so that smell went into my nose and straight into my belly and gurgled and made me feel grim.
Five minutes before noon, a venue employee summoned the people at the front of the queue to form the queue right close to the ticket windows. A fat man in a McCain-Palin t-shirt walked by. The first people went up. Then another pair, then more. One, two, three, four, I counted the heads in front of me. Eight of them. Two windows, thus I’m gonna be at a window in four people’s time. Then two people left the queue. One of them was on the phone, and, I assume, someone he knew had Internetted some tickets.
I got the money out of my wallet and held it in my hand inside my trouser pocket. Front of the queue. Security guy waved his arm towards one of the windows. “Dos, por favor.” And as simple as that, the stress left my shoulders, and I’ll be going to see Kraftwerk again in March. Of course, in the few days before the concert I’ll start stressing again, wondering if I’m gonna get stuck behind a tall person. Will the 3D glasses fit okay over my regular specs? What if I lose the tickets on the way? My brain, man. Fucking useless.