It’s not cell phones. It’s not clothing. It’s rock concerts. Is there anything that measures aging more than those?
Once, (and my “once” means the ’70s and early ’80s) there wasn’t a concert I wouldn’t go to. Billy Joel. Grateful Dead. Van Halen. Blondie. The Ramones. Dylan. Springsteen. All I needed was a ticket.
Finding a ride? Bad seats? The crowd? The smell? The beach ball? All that was part of the fun. I can’t recall a show where I didn’t come out saying, “That was great!”
But at some point, something changes. Don’t know why. It just does. The same way you can no longer eat a chili dog at 3 a.m. without severe consequences.
It’s like that.
Something turns. And things that never used to bother you bother you to no end.
No longer young; still restless
It starts with the traffic. Never used to notice. Maybe because your car was stuffed with college pals or your latest heartthrob, and you blasted the artist’s music to get in the mood.
Now, you sit in the non-moving exit lane, muttering the words “This is ridiculous.” Your radio is tuned to the traffic report. You tap your leg and check your watch.
Once you’ve reached the parking lot, and paid some exorbitant $30 fee — and again muttered, “This is ridiculous” — you join the mob trying to get through security. Again, I never recall this bothering us when we were younger. These days, we bounce on our toes to see which turnstile has the best flow.
Once inside, you find yourself sniffing. I don’t care who’s performing. It could be the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Someone is smoking dope. And what used to be a youthful, “Yeah! That makes it a concert!” is now a scrunched face and an eye roll and one of those “I hope they’re not driving” comments.
And then the show starts.
Again, when we were younger, the first blasted notes were all that mattered. You high-fived your concert-mates as if the opening number was handpicked for you. But these days, the song is less important than the six rows in front of you who just leaped to their feet, and now all you can see is their heads.
And when you stand, you still can’t see the stage, because everyone is holding up a cell phone or iPad and filming the show. Or themselves.
(This, by the way, cannot be written off to aging crankiness. It’s just stupid. Why come to a concert to film it? Are you making a documentary? Listen to the dang music!)
Did I mention the giant screens?
These have taken over concerts. Try as you might, your eye goes to the massive displays more than the actual artists, and pretty soon, you might as well be watching a music video at home.
And then a beach ball hits you.