I’m driving home from lunch, rocking out, because the radio is playing Junior Brown’s Highway Patrol. Junior, the announcer says at the end of the song, will be at Antone’s Saturday night.
Wow, I think. I like Junior Brown. I like Antone’s, too. Hey! Maybe my husband and I will go hear him Saturday night.
End of fantasy. End of self-delusion. End of rocking out (a subtle movement, in any event, when performed by a 58-year-old rhythm-free woman trying to navigate the freeway).
How long have we lived in Austin, the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World”? Ten years, this time around.
How many live music events have we been to? I’m pretty sure I have enough fingers on one hand to count. (One of those fingers refers to the single time I went to Antone’s.)
“You know,” a visitor from New Zealand and music fanatic once told us, “Austin’s really wasted on you.” (I’m not sure that anyone from New Zealand, which is referred to in the book I’m reading, The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, as “that land of sheep and Sunday afternoons,” should be passing judgment on any creatures that don’t grow wool on their backs, but there you are.)
The Austin City Limits music festival comes and goes, year after year. So does South by Southwest. I’m sure they’re very nice events, based on all the rumors I hear. In fact, my husband went to ACL one year, dragged along by his brother. He got back several hours later, sunburned and dust-clogged and loudly proclaiming his enthusiasm. But that was two or three years ago, and he still hasn’t been back. (Although that experience, I believe, was much better than the outdoor music festival he once went to in Lewisville 35 years ago, which brought on an asthma attack.)
It isn’t that I don’t like music. I do. I just don’t like suffering for it (e.g., traipsing through parking lots, waiting in line, using outdoor toilets, being in crowds, getting a heatstroke, having to wear wristbands, etc.) I would blame it on my advancing years (as I do virtually everything else), but even that’s not really true.
“Do you all like to go to listen to music?” one of us asked our 25-year-old daughter and 21-year-old son a few months ago. They exchanged glances, then shook their heads. “It’s too much trouble,” one of them said. “Too crowded,” said the other.
Huh, I thought. No need for DNA tests at our house. These kids are definitely ours.
(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)