Friday, July 22, 2005

Out of Time

Once upon a time I was a Boy Scout. I wasn't a good one, but there were a few things I got from the experience that have stayed with me, quite aside from the uniform fetish.

The most useful is the ability to keep my wits about me when thrust into a situation fraught with danger, discomfort, and the potential for personal injury. You're thinking I learned this during wilderness campouts. No. It came from being tossed into a meeting full of screaming hooligans once a week. Nature holds no terrors comparable to that of a group of twelve-year-old boys, at least when you're the quiet kid in the corner who'd really rather be reading Little Women.

And this weekend I'm once again facing a foray into terra incognita more frightening to me in some ways than any forest full of creeping, biting things. Lollapalooza.

It's not exactly the same, mind you. I will have a trusty and considerate guide in C, who is very good at leading me through new experiences with a knack for knowing when I'm going to freak out.

And I not only made it through the Intonation Festival, I had a very good time. So what's to worry about?

I'm not worried, I suppose. Just puzzled. Puzzled at the recurring feeling I get when going to an age-appropriate activity that I'm much, much too old for it. It doesn't help that out of the entire festival lineup, the only person or band whose name I recognize is Billy Idol, and I can only vaguely remember two of his songs because they got played on classmates' boomboxes back in the 80s.

When I was tiny, adults frequently said in my hearing that I acted "like a little old man" and I wonder if they cursed me with this permanent sense of being forever removed from my own generation.

I have trouble even being nostalgic with exact contemporaries. "Remember Duran Duran?" Vaguely, yes. I remember I didn't like them at all, didn't buy their albums, didn't watch their videos, didn't care. Even when I tried to. I once forced myself to spend babysitting money on a stack of cassettes at the mall, classic 80s pop music I knew everybody else was listening to. Forced myself to listen it for a whole week. Hated every minute of it.

But put me in a room with a group of people who were teenagers in the 40s, let them get sentimental about Jo Stafford or Peggy Lee, and I go right along with them. "They don't make voices like that any more." No, they don't, and it's a great pity, and I regret it as much as they do. I didn't hear this music played at home, so who even knows where the taste for it came from?

I am keeping an open mind. I'm truly looking forward to the festival. It is very hard for me to be anywhere with C and not have a great time. He's already made it clear that if it's too much for me I can leave, no hard feelings.

And still I wonder, how normal is it for somebody my age to be having reservations like this in the first place?

12 comments:

Felicia said...

I predict-- you will have a great time!

And, despite the fact Peggy Lee was dead before I was born, I still wax nostalgic about her. I love her voice, and I know all the words to all her songs. I try to sing her songs, and people throw things at me.

May you have a great time, and I wait with baited breath for your excellent pictures of the event!

Cheryl said...

ah the things we do for love....
I never knew who the popular singers were either... "Knights in White Satin......."

Franklin said...

Oh, I'm not doin' it for love, Cheryl. I'm doin' cuz I wanna, in spite of my reservations. One of the best things about C is that he doesn't expect me to do things for love, whether it's going to a concert or knitting a teddy bear.

I will say, though, that he does have a charming enthusiasm that makes me want to try new things, even when I'm scared of 'em.

BTW, love the new icon of you. The heart is a nice touch.

Rabbitch said...

Did you get anything pierced or tattooed for the occasion? Enquiring minds want to know ...

goblinbox said...

Music festivals like this aren't much about the music, that's a main point to remember. People congregate for the purpose of congregating and looking the same as each other and, well, for taking chemicals en masse.

I remember wondering what the deal with the Grateful Dead was. I was a music major (majoring in classical voice, thank you very much, but rapidly being seduced by JAZZ) and after listening to several albums and bootlegs, I knew that the band totally sucked and could barely even qualify for the title "musicians," but I went to a show anyway and had fantastic time because a show was much greater than the sum of its parts: it was a gathering, a community, a happening, a gestalt.

Personally, I *like* contemporary music and I probably wouldn't go to Lollapaloaof sdfudifzzfaaaafiaoasaaa, so I think you're terribly brave and fierce for taking the plunge, and I hope the whole scene utterly amuses you! Have so much fun!

Lee Ann said...

What Rabbitch said.

:-)

You never know, you might find a Peggy Lee-esque voice in that Lollapawhoosit mix somewhere...I don't know if k.d. lang is still hanging around that crowd, but her voice makes a body melt.

Cheryl said...

I made an icon for you..
email me and I will send it...I don't have your email..

Cheryl

Sean said...

I know exactly what you're talking about...feeling on the outside, and not really "getting it". I've been there. But sometimes, when I know I'm removing myself again...stepping outside my body, I try to remind myself that it might just be fun.

I hope you enjoyed yourself.

JoVE said...

I think my dad (now 75) was like this, too. He and his best friend used to sneak off to Toronto (from Kitchener) to see the opera when they were teenagers. I think Peggy Lee is too 'pop" for him.

Cheryl said...

Hope you survived all the heat and sweat this weekend!! I hear it was a scorcher!

markknitz said...

it should be a great people watching event and terrific blog fodder. i get skittish at big crowd things like that. it sounds like you have a great tour guide, though!

birdfarm said...

There's no such thing as "normal," my dear. I dimly recall trying to convince you of that in the distant past. I think you know that now, but sometimes it's nice to be reminded.

Hope you have/had fun!
love, birdfarm