Hubs sends me a text half-way through my afternoon, “Can we leave by 6:00PM?”
“Ummm. One has to be picked up. Two have to be dropped off for practice. And your mom needs a ride back from visiting your dad. What do you think?” My way of saying, it’s gonna be a fight.
And fight we do. Right at the start of our date. Not the best way to start an evening but we have a minor clash over departure minutes that are lost during a shuffle of last second plans of who will pick up who and drop off who. Yeah. Its’ too complicated to explain. And later that night, it got even more complicated when the girls’ events weren’t where we thought we were. Gave the word mix-up a whole new meaning and made me appreciate my friends who were right in the middle of it, driving the girls here and there in an attempt to find exactly where they were supposed to be. Sigh.
So, after our initial squabble as we drove into the city, I ask, “How can I help us get to where we need to get to on time?” Hubs hasn’t told me yet what we’re doing, but the drive across the Queensboro into the city that never sleeps rarely happens just to see a movie.
“I’ll give you a clue.” Hubs loves surprises. Me, not so much. So when I offer to help, he knows me well enough to know I’m trying to figure out the plans.
“Okay. Or you could just tell me. I’m already surprised that we’re downtown!” The lights in Manhattan during Christmas alone are enough to satisfy this girl who loves herself some twinkle twinkle.
“Quadrophenia.” Hubs suggest I look it up on my phone. Because the word I cannot spell means nothing to me. Even with my S.A.T. brain on, I’m thinking four of something or the other?? Nope. Not a clue.
Okay, a second clue: “MSG.”
“I quickly look up the line up at the Garden this week! Jingle Ball! You’re taking me to see Justin!!” I am so enthused! Until I read the date. “Oh. That’s not til Friday night.” Let down.
Siri and Google seem to be enjoying the suspense, because I still have no idea. Then hubs spills the beans as we drive past 34th and 7th. “We’re going to see The Who in concert.”
Hubs got a good deal on the tickets from a friend who couldn’t make it so he jumped on the opportunity even though he didn’t know much about the band either. This is called Adventure. And hubs loves to take me on one.
When we find free parking only a few feet from the parking garage we were about to pay for, that makes my day. I’m easily pleased. We walk over to MSG, and hubs is still worried I’m not excited. Enough. The rolling of his eyes suggests that he’s not buying my skipping enthusiasm. I assure him, “I’m excited.” I can get excited. I’m just happy to be walking around the city. Nothing like New York during the holidays that makes you feel like a New Yorker. I’m already happy and we haven’t done much. Besides walk amidst the hustle bustle.
So like a good husband who knows the way to his wife’s heart, as soon as we enter the Garden, he offers to buy me pop corn. And alcohol. A drink. “It might take several to get you through this night.” I just laugh. Because I’m not that hard to please. Really, I’m not. And when the bartender cards me, that makes my day. See what I mean.
When we take our seats, I am truly psyched. We are close enough to the stage to snag the drummer’s flying drumsticks or the guitarist’s flying picks. This is fun! And even more fun are the folks sitting around us. At first, anyway. Makes me laugh how sitting next to folks at social events seems like the universal green light for conversation about, well, just about anything.
Guy next to me leans over and says, “I’m embarrassed to admit I was here not too long ago to hear Barbra Streisand. We had backstage passes and everything.” He points to his wife next to him. “It was her birthday.”
“I’m sorry, sir.” I joke. “I don’t think I can be friends with someone who listens to…just kidding. How ya doing tonight?”
“Great now.” And he points to his beer. Hmmm? This guy is not the only one. And before I can ask, “What is that smell?” the guy in front says loudly, “Someone pass up the marijuana so I can take a hit.”
Really? I’m raising my eyebrows at hubby. Then I whisper, “I’m thinking I’m going to get an education in a few other things tonight.” He nods. Yup. Lots to learn for this girl who has never done that sort of thing.
The closest thing I’ve ever come to getting high was the time I smoked four cigarettes back to back on a beach down the block from NU’s campus one bitterly cold night in November. Then I buried the rest of the pack under the sand and made a pact to myself that I’d never smoke again. Took off a few layers, ran down to the shore, and dove into the icy waters of Lake Michigan. I was alone. Looked at it as a baptism of sorts. Jumped out faster than I jumped in and ripped my shirt while pulling it over my head because I couldn’t get it back on fast enough. The things you do when you’re in college and trying to figure yourself out.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. The two women on the right side of hubs leave and return so often, I debate just staying standing. I’m thinking whatever they’re drinking and smoking [I can see the puffs of smoke from below the seat] will surely enhance their experience. And they’re having a grand ol’ time, dancing and singing all the words to every song and clicking pics on their iPhones and chatting up a storm before, after, and during each song. But I’m entertained, not bothered. The guy sitting in the row ahead of us, the same big bald dude who asked for the smoke earlier, is.
In fact, half way through the night, he turns around to face the two ladies, and now I can no longer read the back of his shirt that looks like the ocean with the words “Wish You Were Here” on them. “Could you two just shut up?” Wow! This guy is peeved. “You two have talked through every song since they started and I just want to hear the piano music. Right now.”
“Go and tell all these other folks to shut up then!” The lady right next to Sun says, and a few other words I’ll leave out since, well, they were surely a side effect of all the enhancement producing substances she continued to imbibe.
But she has a point. I mean, MSG is sold out tonight, and not too many people are sitting or silent. Most are screaming and playing air guitar. Or air drums. Or air keyboards. But air guitar is definitely the most popular. So when a song starts up that I think I recognize [I can convince myself of these things pretty easily] I rise from my seat and start swaying my head and strum me up a few mean chords on my sparkly red air guitar. Because when it’s in your imagination, you get to decide the details.
The whole night, there’s this one young man who captures my attention more than the band actually. Simply because he is so into the music. To the point that he gets reprimanded by security not once, not twice, but like seven times, because he keeps returning to the railings at the bottom of the steps so he can get as close to the stage as possible. This is a fire hazard. But he spends most of the night there and at some point, the security guy just lets him stay. He is so into his air guitar performance, I seriously worry he might fall over the railing. And his beer, well, the last beer he’s drinking impedes his performance, so he finally places it down. On the steps. Halfway over the edge of a step!
And I’m just watching this cup, teetering in a cliff-like predicament and I am distracted. But the nice thing about music is you don’t need a whole lot of concentration and you can hear with your ears and watch other things with your eyes. I am watching this cup.
One lady walks down the steps to snap a pic with her iPhone and her toe just barely clears the cup. She backs up the steps at first and I’m holding my breath. But somehow the cup stays standing. I exhale.
Then another guy wearing a baseball hat that has a few F-bombs written on it steps right over it while he looks over the crowd for someone. I’m shocked the cup hasn’t spilled yet. He leaves back up the steps, hopping over the cup with an “Oh!” when he sees it. Whew! Still there.
Finally, air guitar dude makes his way up three steps and cradles his cup under his two legs, but continues to move, back and forth, up and down, playing like he’s playing a solo and the spotlight is on him. Well, at least a few of us are watching him. I can see another guy point to him and laugh. He is so into his show. And just when I the song, “Who are you? Who are you? Who-who. Who-who” winds down, air guitar dude swings his leg back for a gusto finish and bam! Kicks his cup right off the step and beer goes flying! All over the legs and backs of the people in front of him. I gasp. Then start laughing!
“What?” Hubby wants to know what he missed.
“The cup!” is all I can manage. Because I can’t stop laughing. Especially since the folks who have wet legs could care less. They’re not even fazed. This is funnier than anything I’ve seen in a long time. These people are so into the music, it’s gonna take a lot more than sticky beer stains to ruin their night.
Well, the night goes on and the music is great. I mean, I like it. I can’t understand too many of the lyrics but the guitar [the real ones] sound awesome and Peter Townshend sings amazingly well. And the trumpets! A really nice touch. Roger and his progressively bare and barer and then totally bare chest, he can rock it out too. The song Behind Blue Eyes starts out a sweet sounding ballad as they sing about the universal theme of being misundestood. We actually did see the drummer’s broken drumstick go flying behind him! Bottom line, I had fun.
And when we skip out after the first encore, hubs and I have a few laughs over our concert night. I post a pic on my Facebook. And we grab a little snack from Shake Shack and arrive home before our carriage turned back into a pumpkin. Because life is sticky. All date nights aren’t perfect. But in the end, I choose this over any fairy tale. Any day. And any night.
So what about you? Are you a WHO-fan? Have you ever gone on a spontaneous adventure? Are you due for a date night?