A few songs left
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.