Thursday, November 3, 2016

A day outside the comfort zone


When you get to my age, life is pretty predictable.  The chance to do something outside of your comfort zone is still scary.  I know they say there is some layer of yourself that is supposed to shed where you give zero f**ks about other people's opinions of you in any given situation but I'm not there yet.  The thought of doing something I did 25 years ago with regularity was exciting until I got into my own head.  Not only was I twenty five years older but despite losing over 200 lbs, I'm still fat.  Two strikes right off the bat.  Despite that, I had to ask myself a question.  If I had some disease that possibly had me facing the end of my life, would I look back at this opportunity and regret not doing it regardless of the outcome and always wonder?  It was a resounding yes.  So I went to World Market and tried to find a few UK candy bars that hadn't been ruined by US buyouts and put in a few fun sized candy bars in a bag since it was the day before Halloween.  I also did a little something for them having to do with one of their favorite directors and I'm not going to say what it was so someone doesn't steal the idea.  HA!  I knew my shot was 50/50 after having done streetview research because it looked pretty open and I wanted to give them a token of my appreciation if given the opportunity.

The sunny day quickly turned cloudy then cold and rainy the closer we got to the destination.  I was expecting this since I checked the weather and we had our huge umbrella with us, comfy shoes on because we'd be in for the long haul and some butterflies.  The campus is of course under construction so just finding visitor parking was a feat in itself.  When we found where the tour buses were, we attempted to find a place that wasn't 2 counties away since everything was permit parking.  I was completely disoriented from where that area was so the Mr said to save my legs, he was going to do some recon for me and see how far it was from the lot we were in.  About 5-10 minutes later he called me..."another tour bus just pulled up!  Holy shit!  I'm going to meet these guys!"  My heart sunk.  I said "of course you would meet them and I get to sit here like an ass."  He said someone got out and he sent me a pic of a "rock star looking guy" and I couldn't make out who it was and it didn't look like anyone in the band.  He said he knew what Matty and George looked like but wasn't sure about the other two and no one was there.  I told him to come back and we'd start our stakeout.

By the time we got over there, there were 3 college girls standing there.  I walked up with my little bag of goodies, big umbrella and stayed just to their left behind them.  When they turned around, there was a quick pause and then they'd turn around.  A couple of times they'd turn around to see if we were still there and we were.  Not going anywhere sweethearts...the old lady is here to stay.  After 25 minutes, the Mr went back to the car to get a sign I had that said "these are not my kids!  Road tripped to (hopefully) meet you!"  I thought it might be my only shot in a gaggle of girls situation if it popped up over their heads.  I opened my trenchcoat to air out a bit and revealed my The 1975 t-shirt and two of the girls left.  I thought maybe they went off to buy shirts but they never came back.  Five minutes later, the other girl left and the Mr came back.  We moved up to their spot and I just smiled.  I was going to stay there as long as it took.  Over the next 3 hours, a group of 2-3 people would come back and stand in front of or beside us and the longest any of them waited was literally 5 minutes.  None of them spoke to us, which was fine but they'd get bored and leave.   Kids...no patience these days.  ;-)  We moved a little closer for a better view of the spot between their massive trucks that carried their light show and the tour buses.  It also allowed me to sit on the base of a light post because my legs were not happy that I chose to spend my day this way.  Suck it legs, I'm not leaving until I see my gentle giant.

We saw some activity and some girls came over, maybe 20 or 21 years old.  The one cute red head excitedly asked "are you guys fans?"  I smiled, said yes and opened my jacket to show her my shirt and she screamed and was like "awesome!  That's so cool!"  We chatted for a few minutes with her and her friend and exchanged stories over the many times they'd already seen them and who their favorites were.  Matty is 90% always the girls choice and when she asked who I liked I smiled and said "George" and she said "awwww, George, I love him too!"  It was so funny and though 25 years separated me from this activity, not too much has changed except for attention span on girls parts that wait now.  The Mr just smiled and I said I was lucky to have a hubby who didn't mind driving his wife to drool over another man.  I told her I did it all the time at her age and she said "that's awesome!  I hope to be doing this too when I'm your age!"  When she asked who I met, I laughed and told her she likely wouldn't know any of them and after running through KISS, Poison and David Lee Roth getting nothing more than a blank stare, the Mr said "Van Halen??"  She was like "oh oh, okay!"  Sweet of you to ask nugget, you'll get the same look in 25 years when you squeal about the good old days with The 1975!

A few minutes later, a girl with a walkie talkie came out and said "come up and you can back straight in."  They were coming.  We saw a bus pull up and our small gaggle of 6 squeed in anticipation.  (Well, 5 of us did...I have no idea what the Mr was thinking at this point...I just know he was thinking "finally some pay off for freezing my nuts off in the freezing rain for 3 1/2 hours!"  The bus backed in and we all held our breath.  Adam and Ross immediately got off first and didn't look over.  I expected as much but I'll admit, a wave would've been nice given the weather conditions.


The head of security came down the stairs and I knew who was coming next.  A tall figure in black came down the stairs and George immediately looked over and gave a nod and smile to us.

George mid-nod as I tried not to buckle in his presence.  His laptop is likely in that briefcase...new music.  I die!

He was wearing slip on flip flops with black socks, black sweatpants and I couldn't get a look at his shirt very well but a pretty stylin' track suit coat with a black and white pattern on the back.  He went to the storage area and about yanked his shoulder out of socket trying to lift his obviously heavy suitcase out of there.  We saw a masseuse taking a table inside earlier in the day so I hope George is keeping healthy on the road with physical therapy for his healed shoulder and I know he's had tendinitis issues in his arm and his back is said to be in rough shape at times.  So I hope that massage therapist is for him.  He began rolling his bag toward the building and some guy walked up and hugged him (lucky bastard).  He looked back once more and smiled a sheepish grin before turning his back and as he continued to head inside, Matty darted out of the bus not looking over.  The girls beside me were about bursting but were thankfully cool about it not screaming his name and we all just kind of stood there watching him walk away from us.


The girls texted some of their friends in line and the Mr looked at me like "welp, that's about it then?"  I said "just so you know, we're not done here!"  I knew enough to know they would likely come out here and there to grab stuff off the bus and given Matty and George are smokers, they'd at least be out for a smoke break or ten.  The girls friends came bounding over and then it went from 6 to 10 of us.  This was making me antsy because if 6 people are standing there and they don't come over, they're not likely coming out for a larger crowd.  I just had to pray it didn't get larger than that.  One of the girls went to a security guard (not the ones that travel with the band) and asked some questions and came back and he said they would be coming out from time to time and just make sure we stay where we're at.  I knew that to be true from the old days.  Ten minutes later, a guy who does travel with them was going into a bus and said "I hate to see people waste their time in the cold" and he said they weren't coming out again and then proceeded to give a huge long schedule that would end with them getting straight onto the bus, not coming by to say anything and going to Pittsburgh at 1am.  I gave him a smile/smirk.  This is what we called "rope a dope."  The naive ones buy it and leave but the hardcores like myself and my friends stayed and 85% of the time, you saw them again.  All of the ones with vaginas weren't buying it...yep, the Mr was all appreciative and why would he lie...blah blah.  I cracked up and pat him on the shoulder..."aww, you're so cute."

Well, by this time the girl texted MORE girls and now we were a group of 16.  I knew the chance of them coming over for pics would now be like 10%.  I was now slightly pissed.  Look, I know y'all are about shared experiences but when you spook them and NO experience can be had by any of us then it defeats the purpose!  Matty came out for a smoke break and the girls yelled "MATTY!" and he ignored them at first and someone yelled again and he glanced up slightly and the Mr waved at him and he waved back.  I thought that was the funniest thing ever and Matty had to be thinking "what the hell is this dude waving at me for?"  But sadly the girls shrieks scared him back inside.  *Grrr*    They were mulling their options and whether or not to leave.  The Mr stood there, hands in his pockets with his teeth chattering and still putting on a brave smile for my sake.  I told him we would leave at 5pm which was 30 minutes from then and he was good with that.  At 4:55pm, George came out and I almost passed a brick.  Was he coming over?  Was he going into the bus?  Was he going to invite me inside to listen to new music for a more mature viewpoint?  (Okay I know the third one wasn't going to happen but an old lady can dream just like these girls!)  Then he pulled the move...he flipped up the hood on his hoodie and went around the back of the bus in between two of them.  I immediately knew that from my experience to be code for "don't approach me, I need something out here and you don't see me."  Then he came around the corner and his hood flipped down and he flipped it back up without making eye contact with any of us.  The Mr looked at me puzzled and I said "it's code and he thinks its an invisibility cloak but yeah...totally still see him."  The Mr shook his head and laughed.

As George was opening the tour bus door, Matty was quickly walking toward the bus and the Mr waved at him again and he waved back.  I seriously crack up laughing every time I think about it and then telling George "this guy with the beard keeps waving at me, I think he likes me."

Matty praying no one bum rushes him on the way to the bus
At this time it was just after 5pm and I looked at the Mr in horror and said "you're not going to make me leave now are you?"  He laughed and said of course not and the weather seemed to let up slightly.  I could see a light on in the bus and kept my eye on it.  The girls were all chatting with each other and were slightly to our left so it was apparent we weren't together if they happened to be looking outside at us.  About 15 minutes later, I saw the light go off and I whispered to the Mr that they were going to come out.  The door opened and George darted out heading to the building and Matty followed behind him as the girl screamed his name.  Just when it looked like he wasn't going to turn around, he did and waved...ushering these girls into womanhood.  (The Mr did not wave this time.)

The girls were all talking of leaving to get ready for the show and I told the Mr to go ahead and get the car and I'd wait for him.  About 5 minutes later the girls left and it was just me.  I knew I couldn't get lucky enough for George to come out in the moment but in the end...just like Highlander...there can only be one and it was the middle aged lady.  So put a victory flag on that moment.  The Mr was willing to wait a little longer and I said I didn't foresee them coming over if they didn't for a mere 6 people and I was grateful for what I got.  I won't lie, a picture with George would've sent me over the moon but I understand they had a lot to do.  (They did an EPIC Halloween show the next day so we obviously picked the wrong show to road trip to.)  But I stepped outside of my own insecurities and out of my head to do something that was starting to really screw with me.  The fact is, we are ALL vulnerable and we ALL want to be accepted whether it by family, friends or a group of girls/guys that you don't know even if you don't want to admit it.  Getting older does not make you immune to wanting those feelings of acceptance especially since the older you get, the more you are ignored by society as a whole.  It doesn't feel good not to belong but you'll never know if those thoughts are real or in your head if you never put yourself out there.  It's an area I'm still trying to work on and this experience will only help me do it more often.

And if you're a The 1975 fan that happened to stumble upon this and think it's weird or creepy that a 42 year old woman would try to meet a band of late 20 somethings, let me pass along some advice that will serve you well in life.  If you think being inspired by music has an age limit, you are going to live a very sad life.  At this time in your life, you assume you will always think the way you do now and that as music progresses forward, you will progress with it.  The truth is, the music of your youth from the time you're able to remember music at 5 years old until your early 20's will be the music you will likely spend the rest of your life listening to.  In your 20's, the amount of new bands you like will dwindle and finally some musical trend will come along (lookin' at you auto tune) that every band will do and you will declare all current music pure shit.  But once in a while, you find yourself in the most unlikely place to hear new music and when you do and when it stops you in your tracks like Love Me did, you jump on that and hold onto it for dear life.  Because just when the mundane rigors of life are set in and you feel uninspired, a band like The 1975 (or whatever that band will be for you when you're my age) comes along and shakes your world.  And thankfully, you will never be the same.  So if you see someone older than you at a show or waiting to meet them, smile at them, talk to them...they're older than you, not dead.  You never know how much you can learn from each other and isn't that what The 1975 tries to impart?  "We're all human, we're just like you man."

How have you gotten out of your comfort zone lately?

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2 comments:

  1. I am glad we got to see them and get some waves at least. We got a story to tell at least and that made it worth it to me.

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  2. What an awesome experience you had! I am SO happy for you and SO proud of you for pushing through the fear and doing what you love to do!! This is going to give you more confidence as you reach out and do other things that are out of your comfort zone. This was a victory in every way!

    When I was 19 I went to seven countries in Europe on my own on a three week trip tour. When I was 22 I went on a cruise by myself. Those were huge events for me to do considering my anxiety issues. More recently, although it's on a much lesser scale in some respects (but in others, not) going to the pool at the Y and stepping out of that locker room in a swimsuit in front of complete strangers has been life-shifting. All my jiggly bits are there for the world to see (despite the type of swimmer's swimsuit I wear)and by the Grace of God, I continue to step out, get in that pool, and do my thing. Even my therapist said she was blown away by that and said it was such a huge step for me. That kind of gave me more perspective that, yeah, it really IS a big deal. Who woulda thunk? =o)

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