Last summer, against my better judgement, I went to Lollapalooza with my adult son. The most surprising aspect of this situation? From my perspective, it’s the fact that I am in possession of an adult human that I initially made from materials I had around the house twenty-three years ago.
From the grownup contingent in my life? Most were less surprised than amused and slightly concerned that I might not live through Lollapalooza. I once was in the same camp, i.e. grownups who have, by necessity, recognized the limitations of middle age, yet I chose to move forward.
I have learned to ignore the long-lived portion of my inner self when convenient. If my advanced age were walking toward me on the street, I would most certainly snub her, pretending to be fascinated by gravel and/or undispatched dog poop. I hate her. I know what she says about me behind my back, (and in reflective surfaces) and I think she’s a…less than lovable individual. (I don’t want to be tagged as having mature content on the occasion of my first post, but wouldn’t that be ironic?)
She tried to tell me that thousands of ecstatic kids, heat and humidity and the inability to so much as squat during my time at the show would render me either unconscious or embittered by the fact that she was indeed correct. I bought two tickets. One for me and one for my son. She stayed home practicing her “I told you so,” face.
I had an extremely good excuse for attending the hellish mix of heat and youthful exuberance and his name is Chris Martin. Here’s when your personal reality takes a beating if you’ve passed the GO-> of old age: Everyone under 40 is familiar with Chris Martin. He is the lead singer of Coldplay, probably one of the most popular bands in the world today. Ten points if you knew who Chris Martin was before being informed. Five points if you’ve heard of Coldplay. Minus twenty if you find this declaration of popularity completely impossible as this band is not The Beatles.
I probably should attempt to explain why I felt an overwhelming desire to be near or arrested for stalking Chris Martin. The explanation is simple and uniquely humiliating; I find my myself in the awkward position of having a crush on the aforementioned Mr. Martin, mostly because he’s dreamy and David Cassidy has become an asshole. Also, Coldplay’s music, which I swear I loved before the lead singer. Mr. Martin’s possession of said awesomeness was a gobsmacking discovery because, for the first time since God was a boy, (the eighties) a band enraptured me with a single. The album was equalling satisfying and I became a giddy, albeit reluctant fangirl at 50-years-old.
To make a long story short,
(I understand it’s too late now, just go with it before I forget what I was talking about) I found myself waiting through two bands that could best be described as ear-splitting monotony to stake a claim on the nearest piece of beer soaked land to the stage, where I hoped to set eyes and ears on my band, who, as I have pointed out, are awesome. (For those keeping score, that was my third awesome.)
While I stood, tilting only slightly to one side, teenagers approached me cautiously and inquired about my health more times than was polite, beholding me with wide-eyed wonder on the assumption that I must have seen Coldplay dozens of times due to my advanced age.
Before Coldplay hit the stage, kids started wobbling and hitting the ground because it’s impossible to condition the air at Grant Park. However, I had one small bottle of water, a two-hour wait and the dedication to not die in this humiliating setting if only because everyone who has met me would nod knowingly when told the news of my demise a few feet away from Chris Martin.
Finally, out they came. I think. Despite being only a half-dozen people back from the stage, these “people” were teenagers who felt compelled to jump up and down with their arms in the air for the entire concert. I was pulling out every tool in my don’t pass out belt and these monkeys were swinging from invisible trapezes. How I hated them. I even hated Chris momentarily when the crowd briefly settled and he cajoled, “Jump with me!” Bastard. Darling Bastard.
Every view I had of the young man with whom I’m having a very secret affair (please let me be the one to break it to him and his housefrau, Gwyneth Paltrow) had a fringe of arm pit hair as if I possessed unnaturally long and stinky eyelashes. I could no more jump up and down than fly, so I came away from the show having only glimpsed my beloved under the sweaty, unkempt, under region of some fascist kid’s saluting, ever-upright arm.
Did I mention I couldn’t hear anything but whistles and chirps for two days after? My son, who had the good sense to watch the show from a safe distance caught sight of me, post-trampoline and looked at me with much the same concern as the youngsters before the show, whispering “Are you all right?” with the kind of fear only expressed by kids about to be orphaned. I could be wrong though. I don’t lip read.
After some time and fluids, I realized my position in front of the stage that night summed up my position in the grand scheme these days: close enough to glimpse the action, having the desire to participate but relegated to just beyond land of ability to do so, yet not far enough away to avoid being pelted with enormous yellow balloons and barely escaping third degree burns compliments of a wayward piece of fireworks that scattered the crowd just behind me. (I suppose they were in their sixties.)
I wish I could make the balls and the fireworks part of the metaphor, unfortunately I have become exhausted by the retelling of my afternoon from hell and I have to save my energy for August, when I have tickets to see Coldplay for the first time, complete with a chair for my sorry ass. My grownup self is not invited.