Wednesday, November 24, 2010

When did I become one of "those people"?

Alright, it shouldn't come as a shock to anyone that I'm not exactly cool. I wasn't one of the cool kids growing up. I worked at the college radio station because I had to for my degree, and while it was fun, I really just wanted to get back to my Avid and make movies. So, new music has always been forced upon me by kind friends and unwitting strangers, and I usually have to be dragged to concerts.

Or at least, that's how it used to be. I'm still pretty bad at finding new music by myself, because I like listening to the music I already have... all 362 hours of it, or something like that. I'm not really great at knowing who is playing where or when, but if I find out someone I like is playing near, I go. I don't even have to have a date. It's one of the things I've learned to do as I got older--go places and do things I like without having to be accompanied. I still like it better with friends, but I don't let that stop me.

But this isn't a post about my new-found independence. This is a post about getting old... sort of.

See, when I first started going to concerts, I was 16, and that was U2 at a stadium in Chicago, and doesn't really count in terms of "shows". It was a concert, and it was amazing, but "shows" are a different breed. I don't know what my first "show" was, but I'm going to guess something at the Sokol Underground with Andrew. And we saw lots of shows there.

(A side note: one of my favorite things Andrew has ever said about me is that I'm the most low maintenance high-maintenance girl he knows. I don't remember all the exact reasons why, but listed among them were the desire to go to shows and sit on a dirty concrete floor in jeans and sneakers and drink whiskey, but love lipstick and care about wearing matching accessories and still need reassurance that I'm a worthwhile human and stuff like that.)

So, this spring, Alkaline Trio came to Dallas, and I wanted to go. I didn't know anyone else* in 500 mile radius who liked them enough to go with me, especially since the concert fell on the same night as another social event that 93% of my friends were attending. I, forgetting that I was no longer 21, decided that I could do everything! I would put in a full day of work outdoors, attend Social Function A, then drive 45 minutes to the concert, stay up until it was tomorrow, sleep a pitifully small number of hours, then get up and do another full day of work outdoors again.

But again, this isn't really a post about the foolish choices I make to enjoy good music.

See, while I was at the show, I realized something.
When I was in college, going to shows, there was always one or two of "those people." The older guys (or girls) who stood around talking amongst themselves, telling stories of "back when" and the shows they saw in the "good ol' days" when we young things were just glimmers in our mama's eyes. They expound about the quality of vinyl and bemoan the death of the "album." They say "mix-tape" with reverence and awe.

Now, at this show, I was...awkwardly out of place. It certainly doesn't help that I'm about as far from Alkaline Trio's target demographic as is possible without actually being a soccer-mom. I don't drink to excess. My tattoos aren't visible when I'm clothed. I don't go in for self-mutilation (though my father would disagree given some of the things I've pierced) or arson. I'm not particularly vengeful or violent. Though, that's really more a sample of their lyrical content than their target audience, but still. I can't explain why their songs make me happy, they just do**. In the crazy Venn diagram of "bands people at this show like" I was probably hanging out on a far edge somewhere. I own all the Alkaline Trio albums, but I had only ever heard of the bands the folks around me were talking about. Or I had one or two songs, but not a whole album... cd... whatever. Or I had one album, but not the quintessential one, or the best one... probably the most popular one, which sort of doesn't even really count anyway.

Still, I've never rarely let being the odd-one-out stop me from doing things that I like, so I braved the awkward, enjoyed the show. Somewhere between the opening acts and the whole reason I was still standing on a concrete floor in sneakers, I got to talking to some of the people near me, because I'm not shy or afraid to insert myself into semi-public conversations at public events. We chatted about what we thought of the opening bands and made comparisons to other shows and other bands and that's when it happened.

Suddenly, I was one of "those people."
I was telling a gaggle of teenage boys about my glory days at the Sokol. I was reminiscing about driving to Omaha with Andrew and the drive back, dissecting the show and reliving favorite moments that had only happened an hour before. I was talking about getting hooked on Alkaline Trio from a mix tape... I got introduced to them from a mix cd from Tarlowski, but I got hooked from a mix tape from Kyle. I was mid-sentance, expounding on my ideal set list, when I realized what I was doing. Almost 10 years had passed... I wasn't 21 anymore... Andrew was 1500 miles away attending different shows and playing other ones. Tarlowski was on tour who knows where. I was... working a cube job, married, with cats, living in the suburbs, standing at the edge of a mosh pit wondering what traffic was going to be like on the drive home. I was one of "those people."

And at midnight I was too tired to even think about anything other than bed and warm socks, so I took myself home. It was a great show, and I'm glad I went. I enjoyed myself, all by myself, even though I was one of "those people."

*...except my friend's brother, who I've met like two and a half times and might not even recongnize me were I to run into him at the show that I was pretty sure he was already going to anyway...

**The only thing I can pinpoint is the fact that they talk about all my home-towns... well that and they have a way of capturing certain emotions with brilliant phrases. So I confine my self-destruction to musical outlets

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

arrgh!! i identify way too much. recent shows have made me put "ear plugs" on my shopping list, and i care much more about wearing comfortable shoes than looking great when i go. i resolve to go to more shows in the next year, before i become one of "those people" so much that i stop going altogether.

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