The above title comes from this.
Two years ago, a Lemonheads show in Salt Lake City was to be my bachelor party. A far cry from a more "traditional" event, my gathering would've featured nary a stripper, line of cocaine, pornography, or farm animal. We were to meet downtown for steaks, see the concert at Liquid Joe's, and be home snug in bed by 1 AM.
But, according to both the whims and constraints of the frequently not-unironic narrative that the relationship had become, the concert was on a Sunday night, a place of the weekly calender in which only the utmost of reverent idleness is sufficient glorification of the divine. No family meals out, no basking in the warm glow of a beautiful symphony, no wholesome entertainment at the local theater surrounded by friends and loved ones, and good heavens, of course not some confounded rock-and-roll show at not only a paid venue, but--the Greatest of Gasps--a place that served alcoholic beverages.
I had learned the hard way to pick my battles. She let me choose a suit instead of a tux ("I'm not a secret agent or a penguin") and allotted for a post-wedding, pre-reception fast food meal ("Not an ounce of the food there is for us and low blood sugar makes me cranky"), but my interest in the return address on the wedding announcements--our marital home-to-be, rather than her parents' house--was the first of many headbutts. I found myself being told ever so frequently by more than one source that I was so rarely in the right, how I should acquiesce to the demanding machinations of a disingenuous authority, that a desire for my independence--our independence--were sinful and ungodly, and, eventually, that I was indeed a literal agent of an evil entity, my influence a tempting trial to be weathered, as everything else in her life, with submission.
So I stayed home that Sunday night, sipping at Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper in the home that should've been ours and sleeping in the bed that so often was. And yet somehow, in my cowardly acknowledgment of a hierarchy--hierarchies--that had no bearing on either the secular or the sacred, a Stockholm Syndrome-laden dynamic more familiar to Patty Hearst than to St. Paul, I had become precisely what I had rallied so strongly against behind closed doors that were no longer respected by those who most passionately declared their importance.
I shut down for a while. Maybe still haven't quite "turned back on," to use a phrase so robotic and distant as to be uncomfortably fitting. Subsequent battles for self-respect were destined to fail and did so in spectacular fashion.
This morning at work, having just returned from a life-changing weekend in New Mexico, the aptly named Land of Enchantment, I remembered that The Lemonheads were, these years later, playing in Denver, a mere hour's drive from my new(ish) Colorado Springs home. I debated the merits of attendance:
- Save $25 in ticket price
- Save ~$20 in round-trip gas
- Save $5 on what would amount to a shot of watery draft beer
- Be at work, bright-eyed/bushy-tailed come morning
- Clean my apartment
- Prepare a nice, nutritious dinner
- Read some more of that book that's been so compel--
"Bullshit," I said. "I'm gonna go see the Lemonheads."
And oddly enough, more than once, I thought to myself:
"I bet she would've liked the show."
"I bet she would've liked the show."
I'm sure I'll write more about this soon, likely disguised through being shoehorned into some kind of narrative fiction, as that's the only way to process how close Evan Dando's voice made me feel to a true and beautiful god when he sang:
"To be filled with hatred/for the time I've wasted
and I'm so impatient/for a new sensation
God knows what I thought I'd do/I bit my own sweet heart in two.
And all my life/I thought I needed all the things
I didn't need at all."
V, wherever you are, I hope you're sleeping poorly and dreaming of what you worked so hard to keep from the world. And J, wherever you are, I hope you're listening to the West Side Story soundtrack and thinking of somewhere else.