Saturday, March 24, 2007

In Between

In some ways, I am a difficult person. But I bring those difficulties upon myself. It's my own fault. Sometimes I almost feel self-destructive and unable to stop once things get going.

I went to a concert last night. It was awesome, I love the band, one of my favorites. The music is full of passion and feeling and inspires and uplifts me every time I hear it. The venue was not the best - a college basketball arena, as a matter of fact. There were no assigned seats with all tickets being for general admission only.

For the opening band, I picked a seat for my friend and I on the sidelines. In a corner somewhere hidden between parents who came because their kids wanted to and adolescents who are too young to really comprehend the meaning behind those poetic lyrics I love so much. It was comfortable, and we were rebellious and snuck in alcohol (college arena=no booze allowed) so we really did need a hiding place to discreetly pour our airplane bottles of vodka into our sodas.

But we were on the side. In the corner. Away from the excitement and fervor that is a rock and roll show.

In between acts, we decided we needed a better view. So we walked down to the floor and made our way through the crowd. We winded around people to find our spot in the middle. We zigzagged into every hole we could find. It was easy. There were lots of little holes for two small ladies such as ourselves, and we finally settled on a spot.

From this spot, we could see the stage, but it was tough to see the lead singer at all times. There were a few tall people in my way. I twisted my neck and shifted my weight every minute or so to adjust to the movement of others so as to still have a view. At some point, so many people had joined the floor and pushed their way up that we became increasingly more crowded. And thus, it became even harder to see.

For one song, I found myself mesmerized by the lights on stage. The backdrop was made of lights - big and small, in all shapes, sizes and colors. It was hypnotizing. And because I could no longer see the band, I stared and stared at the bright blinding lights. After a few minutes of staring at lights, your eyes adjust and everything gets blurry. It was safe where we were, not as uncomfortable if we had been farther up. But after awhile, I really couldn't see clearly.

While we waited for the band to come back for their encore, we walked to the back of the arena by the doors. We knew it would be hard to get a cab once the concert ended so it seemed like the smart thing to do. We watched a couple songs from there. There were fewer people, we had more room and a better view of the stage. We could see the band clearly, the lights weren't distracting, but it was impossible to see the facial expressions of the musicians. A concert is better when you can see the musicians' faces and understand the music as they do and see the feelings the songs bring out in them.

And I started thinking. About being on the sidelines, in the dark corner, isolated yet comfortable. Or having the guts and gumption to fight your way to the front, to the best view, to be so close that you're a part of the action. No matter how cramped or smothered you may feel, you'll forget all of that when you get lost in the thrill of the experience. Or playing it safe, in the back, still a part, but distant enough to be comfortable and have a good view so you clearly know what's going on - though you're too far removed to be fully immersed.

Or what about the in between? You're cramped and uncomfortable, without a good view, can't make your mind up as to where you best fit so you stop yourself short - in between. And the noise, the commotion of the background steals your full focus and attention to the point of blinding and disorienting you. Your perception is unbalanced, and you can't tell what's going on or what to feel. It seems to be safer than fighting, and you don't have to risk anything. You tell yourself it's a better place to be than to be stranded on the side, away from everything, scared of putting yourself out there at all or hidden in the back where you understand what's happening but choose to be distanced and unaffected. So foolish to trick yourself like that and into thinking "in between" is a destination at all. It's not a place, it's a state of mind.

In between is barely there. In between is messy and cowardly and needless. And getting lost in the backdrop distracts you from finding the right path. It's an unnecessary difficulty you bring on yourself.


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