A beloved local venue is forced to shut down indefinitely while the owner sorts out some debts. Everyone who works there is packing up the gear. The mood is slightly solemn but we’re all still having fun together.
I ask, to no one in particular, “Where are you taking all this stuff?”
Mike Birbiglia, the sound engineer, chimes in. “Mandible Storage. You know why I picked that place? [His eyes dart around as a prelude to revealing a secret.] So I tested out a bunch of different storage facilities with my balance equalizer tool¹ and Mandible scored the lowest level, which means the air is the best at preventing unnecessary deterioration of the sound equipment.”
I acknowledge this was a smart idea but have no idea what he’s referring to.
A dog picks up my baguette off the chair. I wrestle with him until I get most of it back. Still, I tear off a bit more from the end he was biting to give to him so that I don’t end up eating any dog bread.
On the loudspeaker, a lush instrumental version of the classic rock song “Wings of Love”² is playing. Hearing the song makes me even more sentimental about how I’ll miss the venue, and I start telling another employee, who once lied about being John Mulaney’s cousin, a few stories I have from my time here.
After every few bars of the song, he speaks aloud the corresponding lyrics as a response. I don’t pick up on the connection until after his third line, and he starts laughing, mockingly but with love.
¹ [Editor’s note: No need to look it up. It’s not a thing.]
² [Editor’s note: While the author is unrelenting in his belief that “Wings of Love” is an actual classic, we were unable to confirm that it in fact exists on this plane.]