One of my favorite parts of any book is from Nausea, by Jean-Paul Sartre. It goes like this:
“The privileged situation slowly, majestically, comes into people’s lives. Then the question whether you want to make a perfect moment out of it.”
“Yes,” I say, “In each one of these privileged situations there are certain acts which must be done, certain attitudes to be taken, words which must be said…”
“That’s it,” she says. “First you had to be plunged into something exceptional and feel as though you were putting it into order. If all those conditions had been realized the moment would have been perfect.”
“In fact, it was sort of a work of art.”
…“No. It was….a duty. You had to transform privileged situations into perfect moments. It was a moral question.”
It was April 2016 and my moral obligation was to turn a privileged situation into a perfect moment. This is life, though, and not all attempts at perfection come to fruition. Still, one must try.
On this particular evening – success. I turned a privileged situation into a perfect moment. But it wasn’t easy. It started with a text message to Jillian a week before the event. “Candlebox is playing Wed. In Monroe. Can you go?” (That’s a direct quotation, including the capital I because stupid grammar check thought that the period behind Wed. was the end of the sentence. See, kids? We still need humans because smart phones are dumb!)
Anyway, Jillian was game. Yes, it was near the end of her graduate career, and yes, her comprehensive exams were fast approaching. But it was just one evening. And, more importantly, it’s music we’re talking about, after all. Life can’t get in the way of music – life is music!
“Maybe? What time?” she answered uncharacteristically quickly.
“First act starts at 7. They probably start at 9.”
“Let’s go. I get out of school at 4:30.”
Norm asks when I will ever grow up. If by that he means not going to see my favorite rock bands whenever they are close to town, then, I suppose, the answer is never. I will never grow up. If the musicians will rock into old age, why shouldn’t I? Fortunately, I have a daughter who has (mostly) the same taste in music, so I don’t (often) have to drag my husband to a show he doesn’t want to see.
The next objective to turning this privileged situation into perfection was timing. Get tickets in advance. Not at the door. Too risky. They might sell out.
Two tickets. Check!
What else? Arrive early at the venue. Real rockers know this. You need to get there early to an open admissions show. Get the lay of the land. Stake out your place. Plus, at a small venue, you might actually see the bank milling about.
Meet the band. Check! Or, part of the band anyway. We arrived inside just in time to see the end of the VIP meet and greet. Guitarist Brian Quinn was gracious enough to take a picture with us even though we had not paid extra for that. What a sweetheart! And though he has not been with Candlebox from the beginning, he melds right into their sound and tore up that guitar on stage.
It was then time to take a gander at the merchandise table. Buy tee-shirts. Another must at any rock concert. Check!
And then the surprise, the coup de grâce: the opening acts. Yes, friends, that’s plural, as in two opening acts: Pete RG and LullWater. Two bands who were so good, in fact, that I went back to the merchandise table after the show and bought their CD’s. And now I follow them on Facebook and Twitter along with my other favorites, to be apprised of their touring schedules and new releases. Hey, it’s what a good fan does. I’m not special in that regard.
Candlebox took the stage promptly at 10:00, an hour after I had predicted they would. I was a bit off because of, as I told you, there were two opening acts instead of the usual one. To say that they were divine would be an understatement. The sounds that were emitted into the Universe that night were, indeed, more than celestial – or my version of heaven anyway. There was no way for me to turn this part of the privileged situation into a perfect moment – that was up to Candlebox. But they did. Somehow, they did.
It was around midnight by the time the show ended. But we didn’t leave straightaway. To do so would have risked rendering this an imperfect evening. LullWater were at their merchandise table, so we stopped by again to talk to them about their music. They were a lively group of fellows, like brothers at Thanksgiving who tease and torment each other, but have a deep affinity for each other underneath the sarcasm.
Finally, we said our goodbyes and took leave. Or attempted to do so. Outside the venue, people were conversing near a giant tour bus. We saw Brina Kabler, the keyboardist of Pete RG and couldn’t resist approaching her to talk for a few moments about her music. Such an interesting woman she is – not only does she play keyboards and sing for the group, she is also their engineer. Quite a Renaissance woman, if you ask me.
Suddenly, and almost unexpectedly, the evening was transformed into the next morning. Alas, the moment had passed, just as moments always do. At least this one had been a perfect moment, as moments rarely are. So, you see, Gentle Reader, Sartre was right. With a bit of dedication, one can turn a privileged situation into a perfect moment.