If Nickelback ever needs backup singers, they won’t need to audition anyone other than Dana, Ann and me because I’m pretty sure we sounded better than any one of the 30,000 people singing along to “Figure You Out” last Saturday night at their concert in Hershey. Our voices sounded especially nice after a few beers and two hours of screaming at the tops of our lungs.
Oh, and we looked hot, too.
I could write about our concert adventure in one big blog, but I’m going to write two. “Clara” and our transportation woes deserve a separate blog.
I arrived in Hershey around noon and the traffic to Hershey Park was, as usual, congested but expected. I’m always surprised how many people want to eat chocolate and ride a roller coaster. Anyway, I found the Milton Motel on Chocolate Way and checked in to room 44 that had an outside, first-floor entrance. Dana and her sister were about 30 minutes out so I unpacked, picked a bed, and sat for a moment to think. You know how after a long drive you have that car buzz? It’s hard to differentiate between what you really are feeling and what’s a physical reaction to riding in a car for four hours. I decided I was hungry and so I went to Duke’s Bar & Grill next door to grab some food to go.
I ordered a spinach salad from the bartender and sat at the bar pretending to read the menu, thinking, instead, all those thoughts that come to my head when I’m about to meet someone for the first time. Will she think I’m a dork? What if we run out of things to say? Oh god, what if I bore her to death? I worked myself into a mini panic attack.
I’ve “known” Dana for two years as a member of the Weight Watchers message boards, but we’d never met, and we only heard each other’s voices once and that was an hour earlier on our cell phones when we discussed ETAs to Hershey. Through email and the message boards, we learned we both loved rock concerts and we both lived in Pennsylvania, so it was a given that we 40-something moms had to meet up for a concert at some point and so this was our point: a Nickelback, Staind and Daughtry concert in Hershey.
Ten minutes later the bartender handed me my salad and I walked out of Dukes and back to the Milton. A cleaning lady on the second floor yelled out to me, “Are you in room 44?” Yes, I said. “I just let two women in. They said they were with you.”
Crap. I wasn’t in the room to greet them. That was NOT in my plan. I picked up my pace through the parking lot, worried and a little tense and trying to shut up the nervous chick in my head. In hindsight, this was so silly because as soon as I saw Dana I was comfortable. There she was, as non-threatening and normal as could be, getting stuff out of her car. She was holding a begonia plant for me and reached out and gave me a hug. Another fear bit the dust. She introduced me to Ann and we started our 20 hours together like we’d known each other for years
After lunch we bought some wine and beer and decided to go to the pool. I haven’t been in a bathing suit in 13 years, let alone a pool, but I put on my new swimsuit and marched across the parking lot to the pool that was occupied with men, women and children. And gosh, no one laughed when I walked in. In fact, no one paid any attention. When did I become mainstream and normal? I guess the better question is, when was I not?
I learned a lot at that pool about me, my new friends, life, the universe. Intelligent/fun/even conversation is about the most perfect way I can think of to spend time.
The weather was perfect. Sunburn was a possibility, but I was prepared with my 30 SPF sunscreen. After a few hours of wine, water, and talk, we went back to room 44 and got ready for the concert. Do I wear a t-shirt? The shorts? Jeans? Questions flew across the room. This makeup? That makeup? Earrings? You look fab! Does this look OK? Love your hair! Love yours, too! When we walked out the door we were sophisticatedly girlie and a little bit whorish. We were ageless. Rock concerts are not about age. They transcend time.
Daughtry was on stage when we finally got to the stadium (the “how we got there” blog will be published later). As we walked up the steps to our seats, my fantasies of The Bald One were alive and well as I watched him roughhandle the microphone, dip it down, breathe into it…oh my.
We had a great view, the volume was loud, and we didn’t feel sorry for the guys behind us who bitched about us standing up and dancing. Were these guys serious? This wasn’t a couch potato concert. Everyone else – high-school kids, parents, children, almost the entire audience – was on their feet singing and jumping and letting themselves experience the music. Did they think they were home watching an HBO concert with a remote control in their hand? Ann gave them the perfect deadpan get-a-life look. Ann doesn’t give a damn what other people think. I want to be like Ann someday.
After singing and screaming and watching fireworks and riding in a real taxi back to the motel, we went to Duke’s for some food and drinks and more conversation. We were talked out and tired by 12:45 and so we headed back to room 44. We slept and awoke and got ready to leave and talked some more.
Serious bird watchers keep a life list in which they record every type of bird they’ve ever seen. While they appreciate the sparrows and blue jays and mourning doves, it’s exciting to see an evening grosbeak or a scarlet tanager or a pileated woodpecker once in awhile. It enhances their life in an almost inexplicable way. It’s like that with people, too. Every once in awhile you meet someone extraordinary, someone who makes you happy just because they are who they are. I drove away from Hershey yesterday knowing I was a better person for having met Dana and Ann.
And it’s a good thing we got along, too, seeing as we surely will be asked to tour with the band soon. “…you’re like my favorite damn disease…”
This is us the next morning, not in our concert clothes. That’s Dana and me on the left and Ann and me on the right.