My friend just called me from the Okkervil River show. One of my favorite songs of theirs, "Our Life is a Not Movie or Maybe" (which plays when you visit their site) blared through my cell phone speaker, peppered with high-pitched screams of delight from the audience and some whistles.
You see, I was supposed to be at that show. L. bought me a ticket a month or so ago as a birthday gift, and I was thrilled by the fact that I was really into BOTH bands--the opener (Okkervil River) and the headlining act (The New Pornographers). This evening, I did some yoga stretches for my neck and then took a warm shower, telling myself this was a recipe for a good evening. I'd taken a nap earlier in the day to have extra reserves of energy at my command so I could stay out late and still wake up early for work tomorrow. I did everything right.
After my shower, I wanted to creep into oversized jeans and a hoodie for comfort; instead, I put on an equally comfortable but cute dress in an effort to convince myself I was feeling better. See? Look at me! I have mascara and a dress on, plus some earplugs in my pocket to boot. Surely I'm going to have a great night out!
Went to dinner. Tried to park downtown in a [free after 6 PM] metered spot but had no luck. When I went to my ol' trusty backup free lots, I was alarmed to see that BOTH of them now charge $5 to park. Frustrated and inordinately enraged (was that me or the steroids that wanted to crash the cars in the parking lot?), I drove back through the city streets 'til I found a spot. I wanted so badly to honk obnoxiously over and over to assert my premier position as another guy tried to deftly slide into the spot I'd been waiting for for a good sixty seconds, but I refrained and kept it at a light tap. Oh, I was ANGRY. Far angrier than I should've been, I realize. I tend to get fed up easily when I'm not feeling well, when I'm out of control--I'd bet the "extreme irritability" that comes along with the steroids for some people didn't help. (Last night I nearly had a temper tantrum in the middle of the night because the damned sheet kept getting tangled--I wanted to rip the stupid thing off the bed and burn it. 'Roidy, much?)
So there I was. I parked, took a deep breath, and walked to meet my friend C.--I was now 15 minutes late. We hopped restaurants a few times 'til we found one with no wait, and, after a strange coughing attack (my throat has felt weird lately), I sat down and eagerly awaited my sub sandwich.
It was at that point it hit me. I was exhausted again. My 45-minute outing had zapped my energy. I'm sick of sleeping, sick of lying down, sick of being inside my house. But going to a loud rock show was going to be a silly move, most likely. In any case, there's no way for me to see which one would be the better option in reality, to go to the show or to skip it--I have to choose one path with every decision I make and there's never any knowing what could have been. Maybe the show would've had me relaxed, jumping up and down, and feeling better. And maybe the crowded theater, the loud music, and the high-pitched cheering would have been a recipe for disaster.
L. came to where I was sitting with C. and hung out for a couple minutes. She has always been so loyal and so good to me regarding my Migraines. "I don't want you to go if it's going to make you feel bad," she said, and having her support allowed me to officially bail out, guilt free. I've known her for years now, and instead of getting more frustrated at my self-set, self-preserving limitations I make as time goes on, she's more understanding and less apt to pressure me to do something my body can't handle.
As I walked past the theater on the way to my car, I heard another favorite song ("A Hand to Take Hold of the Scene") playing from the stage. I paused. I peered in at the stage and saw the small figures bouncing to the sound of their music. The trumpets joined in.
I kept walking, the sounds of the music echoing off the small city block. As soon as I climbed into my car, there was someone else waiting to take my spot.