I dress up to go to the concert -- black dress, red tights, tall Docs, holographic eyeshadow -- but in the end I put a man's sweater over it all and don't take it off.
Weaving my tiny car through downtown traffic, I only have the circle the block once before I find a parking spot in front of one of the thousand Starbucks.
I'm at the venue as soon as the doors open.
I don't go to concerts, hardly ever. There's too many people. Too much outside stimulation. I like wrapping my head in music and blocking out everything until I'm full to spilling, and concerts don't do that.
But I claim my chair, and sit, knees tight together, as the venue fills up.
There's a woman in front of me, a busty petite woman who looks (probably intentionally) like one of the Kardashians. She's got a bottle of water in one hand, and a ten dollar beer in the other, which she holds above her head while she screams.
I could do without the screaming.
I stand repeatedly to let the people next to me get in and out for popcorn, beer, to piss, I don't know.
One of them looks a bit confused as she squeezes by.
"Are you here aLONE?" she shouts over the pre-show music. I smile, a thin Mona Lisa thing, and nod. She continues down the row.
The faux Kardashian wanders off when she doesn't get a reaction to her screaming.
A couple shuffles into the space a few rows ahead of me. He has a beer in his hand, but it doesn't stop him from looping one forearm around the neck of the girl beside him, and they furiously make out. When he finally comes up for air, his friend on his other side leans over to get his kiss too, and acts affronted when no kiss is forthcoming.
Finally, finally, the lights drop, the bass hums, the moving head lights rotate and spill hot red light over the audience.
The lobby is tiny. The air smells like second hand weed and sweat. I stand stiffly in the merch line, trying to talk myself into a tshirt.
You don't WEAR tshirts. Don't buy a tshirt.
But look at that tshirt! It's so cool!
But you wouldn't wear it.
But I LIKE it.
That's not a good enough reason.
The two roadies running the merch look at me expectantly.
"One CD, please."
The transaction is over quickly, and I'm spilling out into the street, CD clutched to my sweater.
The city is boiling. I don't think I've ever been downtown on a saturday night before. The cops have blocked off the street, and the partiers spill into the road, drinking and making out, and roughhousing.
Is this what I'm supposed to be doing?
I always feel like I missed a chapter in the handbook of life.
I feel old. My hip hurts.
I stop at a street pizza place. It's rolling with happy drunks. I don't realize how hungry I was until I go to grab a napkin, and my hand is trembling.
I sit in my car in the dark, eat my pizza, and watch a girl wobble by. She's wearing a tiny red dress, and man's flip-flops, and she's wrapped her arms around her body. She must be freezing. I'm glad I brought the sweater, because I'm just perfect.
I pop the CD into the player, turn on my GPS, and start to weave my way out of the downtown core. It takes a few tries for the CD to work, because my car is old and broken, but finally, the bass hums. I feel like the car is filling with hot red light, but it's just the coloured light from the stadium. Something sports is on, maybe.
City gives way to trees, and I fill my head up with music.