A few songs left

Maryland Independent - - Classified - Twit­ter: @right­meg

Iused to judge all the peo­ple sit­ting at con­certs. It’s a live show! An ex­pe­ri­ence! Fea­tur­ing an artist you pre­sum­ably like, given you paid a ton of money to be here. How can you sit in a the­ater like you’re wait­ing at the MVA? Are you . . . is that your phone? Are you se­ri­ously on Face­book at a con­cert?

And then . . . I be­came a par- ent. And turned 30. And am ex- pect­ing a sec­ond child.

Hon­estly, I’m one rough morn­ing away from be­ing cast as an ex­tra on “The Walk­ing Dead.” I look it, and in my bones it’s true.

De­spite all that, I try not to act as dull as I feel. Back in May, my hus­band ex­cit­edly grabbed tick­ets to see Ingrid Michael­son, a beloved folksy pop singer, at the Lin­coln Theatre in Wash­ing­ton. It was a lit­tle im­pul­sive, but I try not to sti­fle all of the man’s spon­tane­ity. I guess he knew he was propos­ing mar­riage to an anx­ious stick-in-the-mud back in the day, but I don’t want to re­in­force what a ques­tion­able de­ci­sion that was.

Spencer loves live mu­sic — any live mu­sic, re­ally. We went to con­certs of­ten be­fore we en­tered the world of the mort- gaged with a kiddo at home. An evening out has be­come a rare treat.

When Spence bought the con­cert tick­ets, Novem­ber was five months away. I was not preg­nant. I didn’t ask ques­tions be­cause it seemed like a decade would pass be­fore we’d ac­tu­ally hit U Street late on a cold week­night in the Dis­trict, and I had other fish to fry. Novem­ber came quick. By Mon­day morn­ing, we still didn’t have a def­i­nite plan for how we were get­ting into town and park­ing (we both hate city driv­ing), where/how we would have din­ner, how we’d get back home. Though I have driven down­town, the ex­pe­ri­ence was scary — and there’s a rea­son I rarely leave South­ern Mary- land, friends. It’s an un­pre­dict- able world out there.

I used to be far braver, far bolder — far less likely to panic on a Metro train. A col­lege in­tern­ship took me to 14th Street daily to work at a city newspa- per, and I would flit be­tween of­fices, delis and Star­bucks with ease. Fel­low in­terns and I would of­ten be sent to con­duct man-on-the-street in­ter­views with tourists near the White House (“Did you hear about last night’s mur­der? Do you feel un­safe in D.C.?”), and it was 2005: all han­dled with­out a GPS or smart­phone. In heels.

Now? I can spend 30 min­utes pour­ing over a Metro map, check­ing and re-check­ing the stops for a sim­ple evening out. Never mind that this in­for­ma­tion is al­ways in the palm of my hand, blink­ing up from an iPhone: if I don’t mem­o­rize the steps needed to get from Eisen­hower Av­enue to U Street, we’ll wind up in a dark abyss of noth­ing­ness from which we’ll never re­cover. And we still don’t have a will. Who will take care of Oliver in the wake of our dis­ap­pear­ance?

These are the ridicu­lous thoughts that churn in my mind: who is go­ing to han­dle our es­tate when we don’t make it back from a run-of-the-mill Metro ride? I mean, I prob­a­bly shouldn’t be al­lowed in public.

But my dad, a sea­soned driver, has a fa­vorite say­ing I will para­phrase: “If you miss a turn, you’re not lost for­ever. This isn’t the jun­gle.” And in this tech­no­log­i­cal age, a ro­bot- ic GPS voice is of­ten there to guide you back to­ward home.

We never got lost, though. Af- ter get­ting Oliver set­tled with his aunt and un­cle after work, we high-tailed it to Alexan­dria to get din­ner and Metro up to the Lin­coln Theatre. I breathed eas­ier when we set­tled in our seats, amazed that the show was just start­ing at a time when I’d nor­mally be snooz­ing on the couch.

The crowd was over­whelm- in­gly young and fe­male — 20-some­thing staffers still in their pea­coats and slacks from a day on Capi­tol Hill. Most were in large groups with bev- er­ages in hand, and I knew we were in trou­ble when the ladies in front of us were falling out of their chairs be­fore the show had even be­gun.

I’m all for peo­ple hav­ing a good time. Great mu­sic is in­fec­tious, en­er­giz­ing, ex­cit­ing — and that usu­ally prompts peo­ple to . . . dance. So I will not chas­tise you for wanting to shake it at a con­cert. I mean: it’s a show, not a study ses­sion. That’s your right.

But Mama is tired, and Mama can’t see. The only peo­ple stand­ing on the bal­cony were the ladies right in front of us and yes, we could have stood our­selves, but that would have cre­ated a chain re­ac­tion no one was in­ter­ested in on a Mon­day. Ev­ery­one was clearly happy to sit.

So I sur­prised my­self by . . . just deal­ing with it.

I’m older now. And tired. What oth­ers do or don’t do is of less con­se­quence to me. We’re all just try­ing to en­joy our­selves, right? If this lady wants to sway in place, slosh­ing a drink down her ex­pen­sive-look­ing jacket, I guess I’ll just en­joy the show-within-a-show.

Be­cause, hey — we made it. Just a cou­ple of crazy kids down­town on a week­night, foot­loose and fancy-free.

I may think I’m too old for that, but life is sur­pris­ing.

This mama has a few songs in her yet.

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