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Keepin’ it real

Last night Peter and I went to see one of our favorite bands from the halcyon days of Clinton, MST3K and the Internet Bubble – Pavement.  When we were rocking out to them in the 1990′s we had no idea who the other was.  Peter was busy hanging with his college radio buddies and I was busy pretending to like black coffee in suburban Maryland.  Only gaining fame within the college alt-rock scene, fans of Pavement were generally nerdy music-types who dreamed of the day when they were old enough to move to the big city.  Outside that certain circle, devotees  were few and far between.

So, I was thrilled in 2004 to learn that my new boyfriend – Peter – was totally into Pavement.  Unfortunately the band had broken up a few years earlier so we would have to be content jamming out in our apartment instead of catching their latest tour at the local rock club.

The music I listened to in my late teens/early twenties is crystallized in my emotional memory like soap scum on tile.  You can use all the scrubbing bubbles under the sun but that crap will not wash off.  The good, bad and ugly flood my brain when I hear deep tracks from Cathleen Carr’s iTunes Essentials of Her Troubled, Occasionally Embarrassing Yet Innocently Sublime Young Adulthood. As Peter and I got to know one another, all we had to do was pop on our favorite albums and let the stories, laughter, tremors and joys fill the room.  It was a great way to cut to the chase and really sniff one another out.

Our friendly trips to bars and rock venues have slowed to a trickle over the years.  I find myself cursing rock and roll’s insistence on starting shows late at night and making me stand for unnatural amounts of time.   Peter patiently listens to my gripes.  “Why can’t we all just agree to quit smoking, sit down and be in bed by midnight?!”  He has to gently remind me that that wouldn’t be very rock and roll.  Begrudgingly I agree and quietly mourn my lost youth.

Last night, at Central Park Summer Stage, two of my dreams came true.  Pavement reunited and the show had to be concluded by 10:00PM due to city ordinance.  Chalk one up for rules and regulations!  As the crowd started to close in after the opening band, I prepped myself for the usual miseries that now accompany rock shows for my aging body:  screaming back pain, stiff knees and swollen feet.  But they didn’t come.  As soon as Pavement took the stage, all the choking cigarette smoke and cattle-like conditions melted to the background.  I was high from the music…and all the weed being smoked around me.

It was great to be in my thirties with my husband sharing a moment that brought back memories of good times before we knew each other.  Sound confusing?  It was.  But in the best way possible.

Rock on!

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