Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Inspired by Science

they published your diary
and that's how i got to know you
the key to the room of your own and a mind without end
- Indigo Girls, "Virginia Woolf"

Hey, I finally get it! When I first heard the song, what, ten years ago? I didn't get it. I didn't listen to the words. Sure I could sing them (badly) but I never got the reference. Not the forest for the trees.

I hear but I don't listen.

The Indigo Girls was the second concert I went to. The first was Billy Joel and Elton John rocking the Jack Murphy Stadium -- now the Qualcomm Stadium. The year was 1994-ish. To get tickets to my first concert ever, my friend and I camped outside the Wherehouse at 6am. It was cold.* We were first in line, and for several hours the only ones there. I was convinced we were in the wrong place, but my friend talked me down from the ledge. This was not her first concert. She knew to bring blankets and a fold-up chair. I sat on the concrete and huddled deep down in my jacket.

I think the staff took pity on us. After waiting all those hours, they announced that the tickets were being sold on a lottery basis and passed out numbers. Somehow we managed to draw number one. Our seats were 19 rows back, ground-level. They were great seats.

For the concert I streaked my perm'ed hair gray and wore bell bottoms and a beautiful polyester shirt. My friend glued lots of red glitter to her shoes and then wrote "Elton" on the back of her jacket. We'd had numerous thrift store adventures obtaining our outfits. My favorite thrift store was on Fifth, downtown. The city tore it down when they built the new stadium. I'm still in mourning.

We carried around a video camera and interviewed fellow concert goers for fun. I think we were on crack. We fueled each others' crazy. I might have yelled loudly that I was pregnant with Billy Joel's lovechild. And then I may have staged an elaborate birthing ceremony. Hell, it's been a decade. Who remembers that shit? Certainly not the video tape.

I remember Billy Joel was sick. He only stopped playing the piano long enough to hack pieces of lung into his hands. (That's dedication!) Elton John came out onstage and sang the rest of "River of Dreams." I'm sure Elton John is a very nice man, but I wanted to hear Billy Joel. That's why I was there. Missing out on the full Billy Joel experience tainted the night a little. So I bought a t-shirt. It's still in a drawer somewhere. Anytime I like I can trace the journey Billy Joel took to get to me... and then not sing. Hoo-ray.

When my friend's mom spilled beer on me, I decided concerts weren't my thing. Later, in the back of her station wagon, I watched us speed through a stop light. I prayed, silently, that she'd get us all back in one piece. And then I thought about how cute I was going to look in my new concert t-shirt.

The moral of this story is this: if I'd been old enough to drink I would have had a much better time.

* This was before Ticketmaster.com, you understand. Getting concert tickets was a serious business back then. I mean, you could get frostbite! You could get ass splinters! Oh you kids today, I shake my fist at you and your new-fangled modern conveniences!

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