I lost Sydney in the frenzy of hooded, angst-ridden teens approximately immediately. Her friend! She was in the front of the line! SHE HAS TO GET UP THERE. Her entire life! All 13 years of it! Depend on this one moment! Do you not understand?
Take a breath.
And so I sent her on her way. Run along, wee emo child. Make haste. Be free with the others.
As if she needed my permission. She was clawing at the door of the venue before I could say, "Be good! Don't get mugged! Say no to ecstasy!"
I, meanwhile, stayed behind. Kept my eye on her as best as possible before the doors opened at 6 p.m. and the masses were unleashed to run like hell to the barricade at the stage.
And at that moment I was alone. Amongst a sea of pre-teens in thrift-store t-shirts and skinny jeans. Holy shit.
I called Angela for solace, and I quickly picked her up so we could commiserate at the concert together, $7 cups of beer in hand. SEVEN DOLLARS. A) I don't even like beer, and B) SEVEN DOLLARS.
Angela quickly realized she could've purchased herself a 12-pack for the cost of one plastic cup of beer, but I was busy staring wild-eyed at the scene around us.
The venue was small. Dark. The music was loud. Opening bands The Cab, We The Kings and Metro Station were successful at riling up the emos in the crowd. And I was successful at standing stoic, slowly realizing I was not nearly cool at all.
We were planted at the bar. With the other chaperones. I didn't even take off my coat. For four hours.
It's a strange reality to discover I'm no longer a teenager. To know I'm now the adult who waits patiently at the bar, cell phone in hand, in case the pre-teen in her custody needs assistance.
"lololol he jst grabbed my hand!!!!" she'd text, intermittently throughout the concert.
"omg were soooo close!!1!"
Around us, other chaperones sipped beer miserably, and concertgoers slammed glasses of water (water because they're 13) and threw fists into the air.
Behind us, an emo couple, fit with matching skinny jeans and combat boots, made out like bandits.
Wow. So this is what our youth have been up to. Styling their hair in mysterious ways and bringing back the ways of the 80s. I was fascinated. And entertained.
The music, albeit loud and mostly unintelligible, kept my attention, but I felt my face cringe with every use of the f-word. When one lead singer announced, "This next song is all about sexual intercourse," I choked.
There are small children here, ssshhh!
And then, of course, I strained to hear each lyric because a song about sexual intercourse sung by the likes of long-haired emo characters piqued my interest.
About four hours, several emo jokes, four bands, half a beer, three overly-excited text messages from Sydney, and six deep apologies to Angela for exposing her to the ways of the emo later, I was ready to be done.
So ready. And tired. All of that leaning at the bar, watching rockstars spout sexual innuendoes to my cousin, was exhausting.
Oh, but Sydney, she was not ready.
OMG! OMG! BEST CONCERT OF MY LIFE! DID YOU SEE? I NEED A T-SHIRT! LOOK! BAND MEMBERS! CAN WE GO ON THE TOUR BUS? OMG I HAVE TO ASK HIM A QUESTION!
Pardon me, what? You have to ask the lead singer a question? I certainly hope it's an easy question, something along the lines of, "How did you fit into those pants?" because I think he's kind of busy.
But sure enough, she got her t-shirt, asked her question (got an autograph, hugs, took pictures), although I never did find out what the question was. And, oh, if only it were so easy to just ask questions of the famous.
Because in that case, Jason Mraz, will you go to prom with me? Write back soon. Thanks in advance.
But I had my own brush with a rockstar, which made the event worthwhile.
It was a long car ride home with an excitable 13-year-old in tow. I've never heard so many words come out of the mouth of one child.
OMG, I MEAN, I CAN SO CONNECT WITH THEM, YOU KNOW? AND, THIS ONE TIME, ON YOUTUBE, I SAW THEIR VIDEO AND THEIR LYRICS ARE, LIKE, AMAZING. ARE YOU THIRSTY? AND OMG TRAVIS AND WILLIAM AND GABE AND THAT ONE GUY ARE SOOO FUNNY, YOU SHOULD SEE THEM...
Which is precisely how I feel today after four hours of sleep.