Well, it sounded like a good idea at the time.
That happens with me sometimes. I’ll have an idea—I’ll turn it over and over in my hands—and if it feels heavy and shiny and smooth enough, I’ll forget to look at it from all sides. And that’s it then. That’s all it takes. In 30 seconds, I’ve attached that idea to my unshakeable list of things to do, and there’s no turning back.
Last Thursday night was a perfect example: When one of GB’s buddies asked us to join him and his wife for the Dave Matthews concert, my idiot wheels started turning. Concert—what? Sneaking backstage is on my list of things to do this year! Instantly I turned that glassy rock of a concept around in my hands and only saw the upside. I made up my mind.
Oh, how my mind was made up.
“Here it is: I’m going to find Stage Security, explain that sneaking backstage is on my 36×37 list, and see how far my natural charm and a crisp green Benjamin will take me.” I clap my hands. I could bounce on this bed I’m so excited.
GB checks his tie in the mirror and doesn’t respond. In a way, he’s in a tight spot. He knows it doesn’t matter whether he approves or disapproves of my plan—either stance will add fuel to my fire.
“What.” I say.
“I’m not saying anything,” he says. I get the sense he wants to state that fact for the record.
“GB—Matt and Celia don’t even have to know! I’ll excuse myself, have my chat with the bouncer, and if he tells me to get lost, I’ll come back. No harm, no foul! But if he tells me I can go backstage, I’ll call your cell phone, and you guys can join me, right?”
GB straightens his tie again and puts on his shoes.
“Right!” I say, feeling doubt bubble up through my system. “Just wait. It’s going to be easy.”
I wake with my stomach in knots. There’s no way in hell I’m getting backstage tonight and I know it.
This didn’t have to be a problem. If I’d never mentioned my plan, I could have backed out of it. But the truth is, I’ve told everybody—not because I ever thought I could pull it off, but because I knew I’d lose my nerve if I didn’t force my accountability.
The worst part: All along, I’ve only been half serious. I know it’s an asinine—and dare I say immature—idea. I also know it’s almost impossible to pull off. But again, it’s like a squeaky toy I can’t help but bat with my paws. What if I can make it work?
I call Huntington Park to talk to the media director. “About the show tonight…do you have backstage passes?” I explain my project and offer to barter: five minutes backstage in exchange for some serious blog love.
The guy on the other line laughs at me. And then, he deigns to condescend. “No, lady,” he says. “The band said absolutely no backstage passes.”
“But listen, I’ll blitz Huntington Park in my…”
“Lady, you’re wasting my time.”
I drop back my head and stare at the ceiling. I know. I know! I’m wasting my time, too, by talking to someone with no sense of humor or glimmer of imagination.
Two quesadillas, 24 ounces of Draft and three songs into the set list, I excuse myself and head to the East side of the stadium under the guise of using the restroom. I wander around for a moment to build some resolve and survey the scene. There’s one clear path to the stage—the only workable path as far as I can tell—and it’s being guarded by the youngest bouncer on staff. He’s baby-faced; perhaps he’s easier to persuade. Hmmm…
My iPhone is camera-ready in my left back pocket, my pay-off money is in my right. I take a deep breath, clench my hands and start walking.
That’s when I notice three other security guards walking his way. They fist-bump each other and joke around a bit. Then they seem to settle in.
I shake my head. If I had just a fraction of a shot at persuading the first guy, I have absolutely no chance of persuading all four. I give in. Game over. F minus for Assignment #6. I’ll have to try again later in some smaller venue, or add something different to my list of things to do.
I watch the crowd as I walk to my seat. So much has changed in the 10 years since my last Dave Matthews Band concert. The crowd is older now, and I’m not prepared for that. In my mind we’re all still college kids killing time before fall semester begins.
I’ve said all along I’m ok with 36. And I mean that, mostly. I’m totally down with age and wisdom, so I look forward to growing older. It’s just the letting go of things I’m having trouble with. I wish we could keep certain parts of ourselves and just add on and add on and add on. It makes me wistful, nostalgic, a little sad. And also, inexplicably thirsty.
One thing hasn’t changed, though. Warehouse is still as jaw-dropping as it ever was.
Once I settle back into my seat and start to relax, I clue into the fact I’m here with the same guy who took me to all the other Dave Matthews concerts, including the one where my awesome Dodge Shadow died in the parking lot, and some ‘shroomed-up guy tried to sell us his handmade hemp pants while we waited for the tow truck to arrive.
I also remember we’re here with one of the funnest couples we know. I discover that Celia likes to people watch (and critique) as much as I do, and that Matt has almost encyclopedic knowledge of the band’s second album, which everyone can agree is the best one. We laugh a lot–mostly at the sweaty guy in front of us–and it ends up being the best Dave gig I think I’ve seen.
So I think I’m ok with crossing this “assignment” off the list, accepting my failing grade, and acknowledging it doesn’t count. Mission not accomplished. Which means I still have 31 things left to do, and precious little time left to do them.
P.S. Hopefully the Maserati test drive will be next–I’m hoping to shore up those details this weekend. You’ll read about it in the next week or so–if I live to tell the tale…
~*~ Find me on Twitter @36×37
~*~ Visit the 36×37 facebook page