I had been looking forward to seeing Arlo Guthrie in concert for months. Sure, this would be my 20th time seeing him since 1980, but that’s because I sort of view him as the milepost for my development. I grew up with his music. I still have several of his albums (remember those?) gathering dust somewhere. I’ve been at different stages of my life with each passing concert. I was excited about experiencing his wit and wisdom now that I’m finally at a place in my life where I know I’m exactly where I should be.
That, and the man is 71. I have no idea how many more mileposts he’ll be present for. Each concert becomes all the more precious due to the passage of time.
And concert tickets do not come cheap these days. While I’m in a better financial place than I have been in the past, I still have to sit in the nosebleed section. I still have to drive around and around and around in hopes of finding the cheapest possible parking. I still think about the many other things I should be doing with that money. Concerts are a luxury.
So you can imagine my irritation when I settled in to my seat at the theater and the alcoholic who was sitting behind me started acting up. (Lord knows I’ve made my opinions about alcoholics quite clear in this blog.) The woman would not shut up.
Not only would she not shut up, but she actually increased her volume to be heard over Arlo’s singing. And she kept shouting Wooo Hooo! (Not that I’m opposed to that. I’ve Wooo-ed my share of Hooos myself at more than one concert. But not in the middle of the entertainer’s enjoyable stories. Not 10 times during the same song.) No one came to hear your Wooo Hooos, lady.
She ignored my dirty looks. She ignored my leaning forward and cupping my ear. She ignored my husband’s polite request for her to keep it down. In fact, she got louder. Because the world revolves around her.
That’s why I know she’s an alcoholic without knowing her personally. Only habitual drunks go out in public and make a$$es of themselves, despite the disapproval of every single person around them. Only alcoholics are oblivious to the fact that they are ruining an expensive night out for everyone within earshot of them. Only alcoholics can be that freakin’ selfish.
I sat there and fumed for about 4 songs. I kept telling myself to not give her that power. I kept telling myself that I was there for Arlo, not for idiot. But she was so loud. So unbelievably loud.
Finally we moved to some empty seats even higher up in the nosebleed section, and had a wonderful time. Arlo never disappoints. He’s an American icon, just like his father Woody Guthrie was.
I noticed that Drunky McDrunkerson did not return to her seat after the intermission. I don’t know if she was passed out in the bathroom, or if she was asked to leave, but I guarantee you, she wasn’t missed by anyone. I just hope she didn’t drive home.
So, if you happen to be reading this, you drunken fool, please know that you looked like an imbecile, and everyone around you was resisting the urge to punch you in the throat. You are not liked. You are not appreciated. You are not the life of every party. In fact, you are the death of many of them. You owe us all a refund. You owe Arlo an apology. You should be ashamed of yourself. And now your horrible behavior has been immortalized in this blog. I’m sure it’s one of your highest achievements. How sad for you.
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Recently dear husband and I had the distinct pleasure of going to a Haley Heynderickx concert here in Seattle. It was at a venue we had never heard of—Ballard Homestead. It’s in the middle of the block in a residential neighborhood, and it kind of looks like two houses that have somehow grown together. Street parking. It has the maximum capacity of 260 people, and the event was sold out.
Fortunately, we got there early, because there was seating for about 25 percent of us, at most. Pews along the outside walls, and then for some reason only about 1/3rd of the available chairs set up and put off to the side of the stage. The rest was open floor with a few standing tables. Many people sat on the floor. Others stood.
I was comfortable in my pew, and Haley’s music certainly didn’t disappoint, but I was kind of uncomfortable in my own skin.
First of all, we were some of the oldest people there, by a fair stretch. But that was the least of it, really. The older I get, the more often I’m becoming the oldest person in the room.
And it’s not like anyone was rude or unwelcoming. Everyone seemed quite nice, in fact. No, what was getting to me was how Seattle hip everyone seemed to be. There were a lot of men with man buns. There was a lot of leather and flannel and skinny jeans and boots. There were long-haired women with partially shaved heads. I think I may have seen the ghost of Kurt Cobain. I even spotted a nose ring or three.
I was never hip or trendy, even when I was young and thin, so being in the presence of all this urban cool made me extremely aware that certain ships have sailed for me. It kind of made me sad. I assume that feeling will become more pervasive within me as the years fly past. That feeling of being left behind.
But while I may not be able to keep up, and would probably look awfully silly if I tried, I sure as hell don’t intend to sit still! I enjoyed the concert way too much for that!
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So, guess what? I’m getting married! Yes. Little ol’ me. Hard to believe, I know, but when you finally get something right, it deserves some recognition, some consecration. This is going to be good. I can feel it in my bones.
Sorry. You’re not invited. It’s going to be an intimate little affair, and there are only so many cupcakes to go around.
But the exciting thing is that Jason Mraz is playing at my wedding! Can you imagine? I’m so excited!
Well… he’s sort of playing at my wedding. He doesn’t know it. It’s just that he’s doing a concert in the park that day, and we’re getting married in that same park right beforhand, and then going to the concert afterward.
So, I have this fantasy. We get married, we’re feeling all romantical and stuff, and we go to the Jason Mraz concert, and he dedicates my favorite song, “I’m Yours” to us. Oh, the feels! The feels!
The thing is, I don’t know how to get the request to him. I see he’s on Facebook, and Instagram and Youtube. He even has his own website but I don’t see how to post in any of those places.
So, this is a long shot, but the only way I can think of to get the word out is if you guys help me by blowing up his Twitter feed. It’s https://twitter.com/jason_mraz or @jason_mraz.
Here’s an example of a twitter-length message to send him:
Jason: Barb marries for the 1st time at age 53 right before ur 9/9 concert! Plz dedicate “I’m Yours” to Cris & Barb? Thanks! @BabelHauser
Please, please spread the word. If I can get enough people sending him that message, maybe, just maybe, he’ll give me the best wedding present in the whole wide world. If he does, I’ll give you a full report!
Thanks for your help!
The other day I went to a Ray LaMontagne concert and I had a wonderful time, but I also shed a few tears. This folk rock musician has a smoky voice that moves me to my very core, but that’s not why I got emotional. This event was a very significant hurdle in my grieving process.
Back in March I e-mailed Chuck and I said, “Ray LaMontagne is coming to the Florida Theater in July! I LOVE his music!” He responded, “Buy the tickets. I’ll give you the cash in two weeks.” Yay! I was so excited! I loved going to concerts with Chuck. He’d let the music wash over him. With every new positive experience he’d always act like he couldn’t quite believe his luck, almost like a very shy child on Christmas morning, so it was a delight to do things with him. He would also hold my hand throughout and rub my back if he saw me shifting uncomfortably in my chair.
But ten days after that e-mail, Chuck was dead. After the initial shock of that wore off, after I was able to pick myself up off the floor and could lift my head up and start thinking about the practical as well as the emotional impact of this devastating event, I remembered those damned concert tickets.
Now that Chuck was gone, I knew it would only be a matter of time before I got kicked out of my apartment because I couldn’t keep up with the expenses without him. (I actually made it until June. I’m rather impressed with myself.) Needless to say, the last thing on earth I needed was 100 dollar’s worth of concert tickets at a time like this. I really should have sold them. God knows I’ve been forced to sell everything else I could think of. (I still have a ton of Orthodontic Dental Lab textbooks and equipment up for grabs if anyone’s interested.)
But I just couldn’t sell those tickets. They represented the last known thing that Chuck and I would have done together, and I just… I couldn’t let them go. Okay, so I’d have to figure out a way to absorb the expense. I had many a lean grocery week, believe you me.
Next challenge was finding someone to go with. Fortunately my old friend Steve came through for me, as he has done countless times in the past. It’s kind of sad that I had to resort to borrowing someone’s husband in order to go to a concert, but there you have it.
The night of the concert I picked out an outfit that was Chuck’s favorite. I whispered, “God, I wish you were here,” and I burst into tears. I managed to get a grip before Steve picked me up, but when I got in his car I looked over at him and kind of felt sorry for the emotional roller coaster I was probably going to put him through that night. But Steve’s an ER nurse. He is intimate with death and dying. He’s not afraid to talk about it. And we did, quite a bit. He was the perfect friend to take on this particular ride.
So off we went. He took me to dinner at a restaurant that I know Chuck would have loved, and then we went to the concert. And the whole time I imagined Chuck’s hand in mine. (Steve’s a great friend, but not the kind you hold hands with.) And when I sang along with some of my favorite songs, I looked upward. A few times I got tears in my eyes. He was there. (I wish he could have rubbed my back, though. It was killing me.)
So, yeah. Now I’m looking at a future devoid of plans. A blank, Chuck-less slate looms before me. That concert was the last known hurdle that I had to cross in this grieving process. Oh, there will be plenty of others, I’m sure, but none that I can anticipate and plan for and try to mitigate.
So I am sailing my ship into uncharted waters now. All alone. Here there be dragons. But there will probably be some spectacular sunrises and sunsets, too. We shall see.
This one’s for you, my love.
(For those of you who get this blog via e-mail, the video I attached to it can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LWpw3CMCEg )
When I was 13, I fell madly in love with Shaun Cassidy. And what’s not to love? I mean look at him. He was so young and fresh and romantic, in a totally non-sexually threatening kind of way. Every girl’s dream.
I would haunt the magazine stands and make sure I got every issue of Teen Beat and Tiger Beat that came out. I’d clip out his photos and paste them to the ceiling over my bed. Sometimes they’d fall down in the middle of the night. It was our private little moment. I’d read all the articles about Shaun’s dream date, or Shaun’s favorite recipe, or how he was decorating his new house. I’d spend hours trying to figure out how I’d get his attention, because that’s all it would take, of course. As soon as his doe eyes focused on me, he’d realize I was the one for him. I even wrote to him once, enclosing a picture. It must have gotten lost in the mail because he never wrote back. No doubt he would have if he had seen my picture. I was his acne-scarred, braces-wearing dream girl. Damn the postal service!
I also bought every album he put out, and even got tickets to one of his concerts! I was so excited. My life was going to change! I was going to be breathing the same air as my idol! Omigod…but then my mother broke the news to me that we were going to be visiting relatives up north instead. I was crushed. Devastated. I don’t think I ever recovered. Couldn’t I just stay behind and go to the concert alone? I was 13, after all. I could be alone for two weeks. But noooooo….My own mother destroyed my one chance at true love!
When he got married in 1979 (to a playboy centerfold who was 8 years older than him, no less! What was he thinking? What were his publicists thinking?), I was inconsolable. I think I cried for two weeks. My life was over. And he never even said he was sorry. Believe me, I tore his pictures off my ceiling that very day!
But now, 33 years later, if I had a chance to talk to him, the only thing I can think of that I’d like to ask is, “When you were wearing those spandex pants, singing in front of thousands of screaming fans, didn’t you wonder how the hell your life had gone there?” I mean, sheesh. My future husband should have had a little bit more dignity.