Out on a School Night
June 26, 2003
Most nights, I leave the office and go straight home. Once in a while I’ll stop at the pet supplies store, because the one I go by then has better prices than the one closer to home, or swing by the library to get more books on tape, but mostly I just head directly home. Last night wasn’t like most nights. Last night I went somewhere new. I met Mr. Karen at Freedom Hill, an outdoor concert venue I’d never been to before, to see Kansas. Yes, we’d just seen them last fall, and no, they don’t have a new album out, but it’s almost unthinkable that we’d give up our tradition of going to see them when they come to town. If nothing else, it gives me a chance to reminisce about the early days, when Mr. Karen and I were just two kids in love and a concert t-shirt was a major purchase.
I wasn’t really looking forward to this venture. I’d have to drive through Oakland County, land of too many cars and too little infrastructure, during rush hour. Never having taken this route before, much less at that time of day, I had no idea how bad the traffic would be or where the backups would be likely to occur or how frustrating it would be to make the journey. Once I got there, I’d have to find Mr. Karen. Sure, he’d provided me with both CB and FRS radios to make that task easier, and it wasn’t likely there’d be another truck in the same color with the same outfitting as his, but I still harbored thoughts of the plan not coming together and being stuck alone in the parking lot wondering what to do. Okay, those were minor things. I would just allow a lot of time for the drive and knew if I didn’t find him, he’d find me; he’s resourceful. But there was still the weather to deal with. Days with highs in the 90’s and humidity to match are not my ideal outdoor environment. I’m wont to overheat and melt. Frozen treats are a good remedy for that, but after the indulgence of last week’s trip, eating ice cream just to distract myself from the heat didn’t seem like a brilliant strategy. (What would have been a good strategy, but one which has only occurred to me right at this moment: finding my neck scarf filled with super high tech cooling crystals and bringing that.) I was also bummed about the fact that I’d get home late and not have any time to accomplish something productive at home (not that my evenings are usually models of accomplishment, but I was on a whining roll).
Still, Mr. Karen really wanted to go, and I’d agreed to accompany him, so off I went. And you know what? It was fine. Yes, I got stuck in a traffic slowdown, but it wasn’t too bad. I spotted Mr. Karen’s truck as I drove into the lot, and he was in it when I walked over after parking, so that problem didn’t materialize. I was indeed hot, though. I could feel the rivulets of sweat snaking down my back. Still, I knew it would get more tolerable as the sun slipped behind the berm surrounding the seating area, and it did. And in a bad for them, good for me turn of events, Kansas turned out to not be the headliner, so I didn’t have to be out until all hours and end up tired today. They even did a couple songs we’d never heard them do live before, including a cover of Alanis Morisette’s Uninvited, so it wasn’t just a repeat of the show we’d seen last year. Silly me for doing all that fretting about how not fun it would be. Someday maybe I’ll learn that lesson once and for all, but obviously I’m not there yet.
A year ago, I was musing about my first loves.