Since You’ve Been Gone

I was away for a few days visiting Saratoga Springs New York. The intention was to attend a Black Keys concert at the Saratoga Springs Performing Arts Center, an outdoor Auditorium in their State Park with acoustics similar to Red Rocks. It is so beloved by many performers, that Dave Matthews has said it is his favorite places to perform and has two sold out concerts scheduled annually it is that beloved. And with that aside it has waters running through it, an amazing grounds landscape and nearby a pretty fabulous hotel with the public springs facility there in which to try the equally famous mineral baths which gives the City its name. I failed to partake in the dipping of the springs, the heat and my time there was flexible it frankly was not something on my radar but it will be a must do the next time I return to the city. It is adorable and so like Louisville, Kentucky, down to the Bourbons that align all the bar shelves it is no surprise their race track is equally infamous. I did not attend the races either thanks to the heat and was well shocked they would have them given the temps, but I did wander down early in the morning and found it open to the public, free and their track side restaurant was open serving a buffet in which to enjoy while watching the trainers work the horses running that day. This was worth the visit in and of itself. I walked through their gorgeous Congress Park, down the streets lined with amazing restored homes (again reminding me of Louisville, sans the Pimento cheese) to the track. It was resplendent despite the upcoming heat advisory now weighing us down.

And that is what this blog will be about a rethinking of Summer’s long past. What I did want to write about was more about the charm of Sartoga, the good meals, the bad meals and the killer Margarita I had at a bar called Misfits. The name and the decor was well suited. I wanted to write about the two couples I spoke to at Dinner and again at Breakfast at the Adelphi Hotel (the swanky one I was not staying in as mine was chick and cool and of course interesting in every way) and my other wanderings. It was there I realized how fucking lucky I did not stay married and with that become a MAGA wearing idiot whose idea of facts are twisted misinformation coupled with aspirational elitism and pretense masked by being white, employed and “educated”. But this is going to have to wait for another post. And with that it is now time to address the elephant in the room, Climate Change.

While I want to talk about the Black Keys and the show itself I cannot do so without commenting about the heat and the temps that at 9 p.m. were in the upper 80’s. The show started at 7 with two acts preceding them and there were assigned seats in the covered section with festival seating on the grass behind. There were families with small children and lots and lots of booze. The temps at that time were hovering in the 90s and it was a long long night. I love the Keys and those unfamiliar with the Ohio boys they are very Blues based and they now live in Nashville and have tapped into that Southern sound that resonates with their style including adding two Mississippi guitarists on the tour. The crowd to whom they appeal are older and with the two added musicians I was at least not the oldest in attendance; however, the heat was oppressive and drinking alcohol is the least compatible with it, so I chose water and ice cream and there were some who did, but three hours in I was shocked there were not health crisis happening given the heat, the liquor and the drugs. I was offered a hit of some fine legal weed but again Covid, age and frankly I was just too hot. I managed to stay until 10:30 and I managed to get a cab to take me back into town which was 10 bucks earlier that day now 20, to find the lone bar, Misfits, still open in which to have a Margarita. With that I walked back across the street to my hotel a converted motor in, the Bluebird Downtown Spa Hotel and collapse. I did find Saratoga quite charming, it is great as it has long been a tourist destination with a strong arts component, the spa/waters focus and the racetrack in which to offer a year round spot just a three or so hour train ride away from Manhattan. I will go back but I am not sure I am ever going to do many more of these outdoor concerts again during the heart and heat of the summer. This is now going to be the next challenge facing us with global warming.

The horse track, the baseball field, the tennis courts and marathons all happen in summer. Today the NY Marathon scheduled has been cut short. I question allowing any sporting events to occur as it is not safe. Funny they will cancel for inclement weather but is this not dangerous weather as well? I go next week to the Newport Jazz Festival and it seems that it will be cloudy and warm but not this so I go with hope and know that I am not returning again unless I go for a day trip only. The next concert I am going to in two weeks is in Bridgeport, where it does not have the heat issues that plague the larger areas. . And with that I feel it is safe as I am going for a weekend, stay in Stanford in a large hotel and head to Greenwich to spa and relax with a short train trip on Sunday to one of the finer outdoor auditoriums in the region. I am looking forward to see Steely Dan as they have not toured since the 70s and with that I am still hoping for mild temps. Again the weather is not predictable but the summers of late have continued to rise in temps, so I have no idea if I will go to see Norah Jones (who is is also at the Jazz Festival) at Forest Hills in Queens. Frankly if it is hot I am not going. I have the tickets listed for sale and I will wait and see which comes first, sale or weather, in which to decide but again I have to consider what it means to have fun and at what cost – not just financially anymore.

The reality is that indoors concerts are going to be from here on in very high risk with regards to Covid and outdoors is now as well but for weather reasons. Aging plays into this and frankly it is not fun, not remotely so, to be that uncomfortable and many of the rockers I am seeing are equally aging. The toll on the body, along with the planet, and the push to perform to maintain a lucrative career, means we have to rethink all of this. From airlines canceling due to weather, overbooking, lack staffing all adds to the challenges of traveling; This includes all aspects of hospitality, from staying at hotels also being short staffed, restaurants closing earlier or not open as many days/times an, just getting out and about to find things to do, it loses its allure. Add to this the rising costs, contributes to plain exhaustion just to get there. There was not a business without “HELP WANTED” signs on their doors. It is beyond worrisome as are you having that good of time, really? Interesting to watch the frustration on both those doing the serving and those who are receiving.

In the New Yorker, there was an article about the growth of the Super Yacht industry and the way it too contributes to some of the issues we are facing regarding global warming, economies of scale and let us not forget the dick swinging. It is so outrageous and so absurd that it explains every time I watch Below Deck how idiotic everyone appears, from guests to staff, I can see why Russians and Billionaires love it they are like the other industry they are obsessed with – space. This is their other frontier, it’s either Dicks on Water or in Space, just jizzing their destruction everywhere as they seek other ways to actually leave the planet. Again all while destroying it as they do so. Oxymoron much or just Moron much?

The planet is warming and it is unsafe. Over 1300 people die annually due to heat related causes. And while this is an estimate, one needs to only look at the homeless on the streets and the poor that have little access to air conditioned homes and places of business in which to provide functional cooling for long periods, this number will only grow. It is not an irony that air conditioning which provides needed relief, only furthers environmental problems and its use pushes on aging infrastructure services that cannot handle those surges, and with that boom, comes fires. This is notable in Europe as they have little domestic air conditioning and with that the current heat wave has reminded many of us of California, or Texas last winter. And add to that, the lack of water, as we are seeing out west means ways in which to extinguish said fires is also challenging, which is leading to creative ways in which to do so. A very vicious circle. So with this we need to find ways to self fuel and find alternatives to both energy and water. Irony much that we could easily go solar on many large buildings and build ways to recycle grey water. place in reservoirs in which to use for storage in emergency situations. We all have to rethink what it means to be a conservator and responsive member to meet the new climate needs and demand them from all of us. Change is hard but as I have lived through this world over half a century now, I have adapted (including admitting my own aging and limits) and it is absolutely needed by all of us. If we fail to do so there will be nothing left in which to save for those to experience some of the same joys we had in the past for those in generations ahead.

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