09 February 2010

The shape of things to come

On the last Saturday in December, I read on Twitter that Ted Leo was playing that evening, here in Montclair, at the Meat Locker. This was something of a dream come true for me; one of my favorite musicians, playing in my town?

Yet there was no way we'd find a sitter on such short notice. Did we dare put Sacha to bed and leave Sarah and Gabriel in charge?

Oh, yes, we did!

After making sure Sacha was soundly asleep, we said good-bye to our glassy-eyed elder brethren, who were thrilled to be left alone with the television, promising we'd be home by eleven.

We drove across town feeling sneaky and giddy, like we'd just pulled a fast one on our parents, until we remembered we were the parents. You would think realizing this would take the joy out of it, but actually, it didn't. Although I kept my composure, my inner self was riding with her head out the window.

You've never heard of the Meat Locker? Neither had I. The Wellmont it is not. It is a basement space on Park Street, just north of Bloomfield Avenue, furnished with a few nasty vintage automotive seats. Calling it a dive would be generous. Dank, dark, subterranean, poorly ventilated, it was grotty in the extreme; my twenty year self thought it was awesome.
We arrived at nine, paid our cover, and descended.

Did we see Ted Leo? Yes, and no.

One of the first things we do when we get to a show is take a mental inventory of the median age of the crowd. Usually, we fall somewhere in the middle; twenty-somethings are always well-represented, but there are enough people from thirty to fifty, as well as a smattering of parents with teenagers in tow to reassure us that we are not completely out of our element.

As the Meat Locker has no liquor license, the crowd skewed far younger, putting us well into the grandparental demographic. I would rather be perceived as a square than aging hipster, but here, I wasn't so sure. As if we weren't feeling old enough already, we learned that Ted Leo would not be playing until eleven, our self-imposed curfew.

Our hopes were dashed, but only slightly. This wasn't exactly an Arctic Monkeys situation, as we've seen Ted Leo and the Pharmacists play a bunch of times, and hadn't driven TWO HOURS to not see a show.

We stayed for a while listening to the band, until my lungs began to seize from the mold and cigarette smoke, at which point we came up for air. Standing outside was a somewhat familiar figure. Having little compunction about embarrassing myself, I introduced David and myself to Ted Leo.

He and his wife, being over thirty, had also come up for air. We chatted for a few minutes, apologized for not being able to stay, and arrived home at 10.30 to two disappointed children, who demanded to know why we were home before eleven.

It was a strange, fun, unsuccessfully successful night. We crossed the Rubicon. Time collapsed, and expanded as our mental age went from forty, to twenty, to sixty, and back to forty. It turned out to be a perfect prelude to watching the season finale of Doctor Who with the kids, which is how we spent the remainder of the evening, and still managed to be in bed by midnight.

1 comment:

  1. Love this story, Pamela, for 19 reasons--especially the liberation of the kids getting older which I'm experiencing, too--but I really love the way you've identified an Einsteinian quality to life--that we slip & slide in time, depending on our point of reference (what we're standing next to). It's more cosmic than the Rubicon image (point of no return, crossing the river as Caesar's implicit declaration of war) gives it credit for.