Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Stretch Marks Mapping an Old Love

Sister #2 leaned in so her face was close enough to mine to violate all generally accepted regulations regarding personal space.

"Get away! What?! My face is dirty from riding the go carts! I tried to clean it but I haven't had any time! Stop it!" I squealed.

"You're growing a mustache," she stated simplistically with calm authority.

***5 minutes earlier***

"Look at you with your socks and long-sleeved shirt. Aren't you hot?" Sister #1 inquired as she pulled her shorts up her thighs as high as she comfortably could and pushed her sleeves up to her shoulders, perfectly positioned beneath the sun.

"It was cold this morning and I won't get home until after the concert. It will probably be cold afterwards in Detroit anyway." My only defense for the black long sleeved T beneath my aged Hip concert T on a decent weather day.

***15 minutes later***

I finished my beer and got up to go in and ruin my children's lives by informing them it was time to go.

As I walked up the stairs, Sister #1's husband: "Your shoes are gay!"

"I like these shoes! Shut up, Steve!"

Sister #1: "They are kind of gay. Aren't you supposed to look hot when you go to a concert?"


So went a brief visit with the out-laws yesterday. I love them. They're so much fun. It's truly comforting to have people to poke at who will poke right back. It's too bad I don't get to see them often.

But let's face it, I'm getting old. There's an inexplicable dark strip developing on my upper lip. The fine hair that covers my face is no thicker or darker there, yet somehow the skin beneath appears darker. The shoes I like are gay. The clothes that used to be cool to wear to a concert aren't hot.

And, sadly, the concert kind of sucked.

Loyalty is an attribute of mine that I cherish. Perhaps it's because there is nothing more important in my life than family and, while my actual relatives are closest to my heart, I believe family is found in nooks and crannies that don't always exist at Thanksgiving dinner. So it's odd that I found myself screaming "Please play something cool!" instead of "WOOOOOOOO!" at times last night.

Don't worry, it was too loud for anyone but my sister to hear my treason.

Rock concerts have long been like a dirty whore mistress for me, a truly unique experience. It's a place to go and get drunk (high, in some cases) and sweaty while dancing and screaming with other people just like me. (To be perfectly clear, I never dance, but I get so excited at rock concerts that even I bounce up and down a little.) Fans who belt out the same songs I do while they drive to work in the morning or take the long way home when one of our favorites comes on the radio, ensuring the volume of the speakers drowns out our own voices. At a concert, as an aggregate, we can't sing loud enough to cover up the intensity of sound coming from the very people who wrote the songs, we can't jump high enough to escape the feeling of the drums making the floor vibrate, we can't even pause briefly enough to appreciate the bass of butterflies in our stomachs.

Note: None of the above paragraph applies to any of the boyfriends who were kind enough to share this experience with their crazy girlfriends even though Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was on at the exact same time as a band they don't really care for was playing.

I'd like to tell you that I know where this concert went awry. It may have been the new album, consisting of some quality music that should probably have a warning label on it that reads: "Do not listen to while contemplating suicide."

Excepting one song, it's just so slooooowwwww.

And they played every single depression-inducing song on it. Half of their set (which was admirably long- 3 hours) was dedicated to the new album and it blew. I'd expect to spend more time sitting in my seat than standing at a Coldplay concert, but not at The Tragically Hip! Plus, because I prefer the kind of music that makes me want to stand, I wouldn't even buy tickets to a Coldplay concert.

I'm about to make a confession and this whole thing will start to make sense.

TTH has dozens of cool songs, songs that have arguably catapulted them during their 26 year career to be one of the top 2 bands in Canada (which is why most of my fellow Americans have never heard of them) as not many could say they're better than Rush. That's a debate for another blog.

During the second half of the show, they finally played a good number of the songs they are so well known for, including my absolute favorite which previously incited a spell of self-loathing following an embarrassing vomiting experience that caused me to miss it at the last Hip concert I attended.

But it didn't make it better.

Something was lost.

Even as I shouted out "In the middle of that riot, couldn't get you off my mind" and "I'm just a shade shy of true wickedness," it wasn't the same. The experience of seeing my favorite band play some of my favorite songs didn't make up for how much I sat on my ass in my seat during the set.

My sister and I dubbed it the worst Hip concert with the best seats we'd ever been to.

Here's the thing. I'm not sure if my less than stellar concert experience was because of a fail on the band's part in playing too many bubble-bath mood setting songs or because, for me, everything has become a metaphor for aging.

I have no problem with my actual age, it's the aging I can't stop thinking about.

Because no matter how much night cream I slather on my face before bed, there are still lines in the morning.

Because the skin above my upper lip is somehow darker, my shoes are gay, and I don't- no can't- dress hot anymore.

I shall hope that yesterday's concert was a fluke and the next concert will find me happy I paid too much money for a seat I won't be sitting in so long as I can feel the music in my toes and I'll say to myself, "I'll never be too old for this."

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