My New Side Hustle

Many new career-related endeavors are born out of ambition. My new side gig is flourishing out of sheer laziness, as paradoxical as that might sound. Let me explain: I never intended to become a legit ticket scalper and yet here I am -- up $250 this month -- without even leaving my home.

Before you say, "Geez, Liz, you've really hit rock bottom," press the pause button on your sympathy for one sec and allow me to share how this all came about.

Travel with me for a moment back to 1985: A 14-year-old sits on her grandparents' sun porch surrounded by her cousins. They pass a cable box the size of a bulldog back and forth though they never change the channel. They want their MTV. While the teen is momentarily intrigued by VJ Mark Goodman, his deep voice, curly hair, and music knowledge infinitely appealing, she develops a serious girl crush on 'Til Tuesday frontwoman Aimee Mann.

The fact that this doe-eyed gal, not more than 25 at the time, can play guitar, pull off a Flock of Seagulls hairdo (PLUS A RAT TAIL!) and refuses to cave and sacrifice her art for the love of her sugar daddy, feels bold and admirable. And when Aimee belts out the final words of her ballad amid the pretentious crowd in the middle of Carnegie Hall, well, color the sheltered 14-year-old smitten.

I've adored Aimee Mann from the very first note and still do. (Don't get me started on the goose-bump inducing Coming Up Close.)

Fast forward to the early 1990s and I had the pleasure and privilege of catching her at the Philadelphia Zoo thanks to a friend who lived not far from there and shared my admiration. Aimee did not disappoint. Her voice, both ethereal and resonant, charmed the masses. When she inadvertently used an expletive, she quickly apologized to the nearby penguins.

A few years later, a different friend and I caught her in NYC. She was brilliant, of course, but, unfortunately, my car was robbed despite being parked right outside the venue. "Best spot ever!" I told myself as I walked away from my Nissan Altima, a confident spring in my step, and into Irving Plaza. Three hours later I returned to find the door locks broken and my brand new "I'm With Stupid" cassette tape stolen. (Smart thief!) Render me crushed. Still, it's a price I'd willingly pay to see her.

Fast forward to 2005 when I had tickets to catch her on "The Forgotten Arm" tour at the McCarter Theater in Princeton. Though I was hugely pregnant and supposed to be on bed-rest, I begged my husband to still take me and assured him I wouldn't go into labor. (As if I had any control over that. But I mean, after all, it was Aimee Mann, not Guns N Roses.) We went and she was even better than the previous occasions. (Plus, I was pretty psyched to get out of my house after weeks of incubating in my living room.)

A few years later, we saw her again at the Mayo Performing Arts Center and she was so cool she passed around a clipboard and told the audience they could create her set list. Amazing, right? The only song she balked at was "Telescope," joking that she could never remember all the words. (Who could blame you, Aimee?)

Though I was a huge fan to begin with, the thing is, each time I see her, I like her that much more and want to watch her again. Immediately. Like, I want to quit my job and follow her. She's my Phish.

So naturally, when I found out a few years ago that she was coming to another nearby venue, I told my husband I'd like to go, but he immediately said, "Again??'

"What do you mean 'again'? I'd see her every day if I could," I told him.

"Nope, not interested. I've seen her twice already. I like her, but I'm just saying, wouldn't it be nice to see someone new?"

"Um, no. No, not really."

We didn't end up going and deep inside I felt the 14-year-old girl die a little. Shortly after that, we were watching Portlandia and who should pop up in an episode but my beloved Aimee -- as a Fred and Carrie's maid. I hit pause to take a moment and scream at my husband.

"See!" I bellowed in a whisper -- furious, but not enough to risk waking the kids. "See what you've done to this musical genius? She's had to resort to cleaning homes because people like you aren't supportive and say horrible things like 'I already saw her.'"

"Liz," my husband said. "First of all, how much wine have you had? And second, I have supported her! I saw her twice and she's great. I'm willing to see live music with you but I can't see the same person over and over again."

I let it go but secretly I was plotting. I'd see her again. Alone if I had to!

So when I read she'd released a new album this year and would be coming to Town Hall in NYC within three days of my birthday, I thought "Ha! He can't possibly say 'no' to that!" So I set an alarm on my phone so I'd remember to buy tickets the moment they went on sale because I'm old and forgetful now. (This is foreshadowing.) I wanted the best seats possible. And I got 'em. Orchestra. Row E. (As in "Aim-EE, I can't wait to see you again!")

But as the day of the show drew closer, things started to foil my plans. My boys had baseball games late that afternoon. It had been raining for days and still was -- though not hard enough to cancel baseball, apparently. NJ Transit now operates so precariously, we'd be better off kayaking across the Hudson than trusting Midtown Direct service to deliver us to the heart of Manhattan in anything less than four hours. Of course, I could drive. There's no way my car could be robbed twice seeing the same performer, could it, Universe? (I wasn't so trusting.) Plus, I was feeling old (I had just turned 46 in case you skipped the math in the third paragraph) and tired. I was dying to see her, and yet, man, it seemed like a lot of work to get there.

I decided to look on StubHub to see about selling the tickets. Were other fans as eager to hear her live and in person as I was? Oh were they! The sell price Stub Hub recommended was more than twice what I'd paid. I'd never sold any tickets this way before and considering my awful luck hosting a garage sale a few years back, I put them up for sale never thinking anyone would buy them. And then someone did. I felt sucker-punched. But then I saw that I'd made a cool $140 profit. Sure, it wouldn't be the same, but I could sit in my living room, listen to her on Spotify while fanning myself with $20s, and drink wine that wasn't served in the adult version of a plastic sippy cup. Not so shabby.

A few days before the show, the friend who took me to the zoo all those years ago told me he had tickets to her show at the Keswick Theatre the night before I was supposed see her in NYC. That stung a little. Apparently, though a year older than I, he was still capable of leaving his home on a Friday night, while I was tremendously lame. A sell-out.

The day after the show I went online to check out her set list. It was then that I learned she was coming to SOPAC in June. I had to act fast. I ordered two tickets without my husband's blessing and without even knowing if I could get a babysitter. But, anyone who's seen a show at SOPAC knows it's like having the artist in your living room -- and I say this as a woman with a very tiny living room. I couldn't miss this!

But, again, my calendar began filling up. Then I listened to her new album, "Mental Illness," on Spotify and while I enjoyed it, there was a meditative melancholy about it that I knew would have my husband (who I've mentioned is sometimes narcoleptic) snoring away within the first 15 minutes of the show. And not just gentle mewing like a kitten. His snoring is as jarring and offensive as someone snaking a toilet. I imagined him waking up groggy as the house lights came up, drool puddling in the collar of his shirt, saying, "What'd I miss?" then telling me the whole ride home that he was right all along. He hadn't needed to see her again and what was I thinking getting tickets to anything on a Monday night??

So I went back to StubHub and though these were mezzanine seats, they appeared to be the last two left. In other words: Jackpot. I secretly hoped they wouldn't sell. And then they did. I was up $111. The 14-year-old fangirl was officially dead, replaced by a woman who spends each day looking forward to putting on elastic-waist pajama bottoms and staring into space.

And now I'm hooked. I bought play tickets for my mom for Mother's Day and now I'm dying to sell them. (We're seeing "The End of Longing" -- written by and starring Matthew Perry. The only thing keeping me from hawking these this the thought of my mom possibly being seated next to David Schwimmer. What a selfie that would be!)

I have two seats to Jerry Seinfeld's show at the Borgata in August, purchased as an anniversary gift for my husband. Can I resist the temptation to try to make a profit on these? Time will tell.

I've had side hustles before, but none has been as effortless or gratifying as this one. (Did I mention I never even have to leave the house?)

I adore Aimmee Mann and I still do, but apparently not enough to actually get off my couch and go and see her. And now because I've pocketed approximately $250 for doing absolutely nothing, it's fair to say my husband is a bigger fan of hers than ever before.

Do I feel like a bit of a jerk profiting off people who share the same musical taste? Yes. Definitely. But does the influx of cash soften the blow? Hell yes!


Liz Alterman said…
Thanks for reading, Bird Control Arizona!

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