I believe I have found the definition of growing old.
When you are 14 and love music, the idea of going to a 13 hour all-day music fest is thrilling! Dude! You can't wait! You count down the weeks, then the days, then it is TOMORROW! ROCK ON! You make bizarre hand gestures and stick out your tongue and wave it wildly from side to side! You don't sleep much the night before, and then, you are up at the crack of dawn! AWESOMENESS! It is today!! You can't handle all the excitement you are feeling so on the way there, you blare your ipod, rock out in the back seat, insult your buddies and trade punches over just about anything. All is right in your little teenage world!
When you are the driver, who is NOT 14, (flip that li'l number right around...) and you love music and you love your 14 year old, the idea of driving to a 13 hour music fest that is 2.3 hours away and into the fabulous Beltway of our Nation's Capital is daunting, but not without it's charms and excitement! It is a beautiful, gray, young Autumn day and the State Fair is in town. What could go wrong, you ask yourself. It ought to at least be great music, and you have packed half of the kitchen into your little coolers. You have extra shirts, extra socks, umbrellas. You are not wearing flip flops or sandals. You are good. After all, some great bands are slated to play, you can't WAIT to see Kutless again and you have two, count 'em TWO fully charged digital kameras to kapture the aktion. Oh how quickly the two paths diverge. The teenaged boys are crammed into the mosh pit action, daughter and mature adult are back a bit, but still with a fab view of the stage. Yes, it's gray, but there are funnel cakes. We're good. Then, around 2 hours into your magical mystery tour, it begins to drizzle. Gently at first, as if it is not commited to it. The teens do not feel this slight moisture up in their violation of all personal space rules area. You, however, start wondering if you should trek the mile back to your car, uphill, both ways and retrieve umbrellas. Nah, it will quit. It doesn't seem to be getting worse. You put up your hood and daughter's hood and return to the festivities at hand. Ok, it is not stopping. In fact, it appears to be putting a bit more effort into it and is really sort of a rain now, not really a drizzle anymore, is it? That is NOT a good sign, but hey, how long does it usually rain anyway? Teens still oblivous. Most people here still walking around in flip flops and shorts. They seem fine...lets just fast forward a bit to when even the teens have noticed that there is moisture actually falling FROM the sky. The come back to the "spot", eat half a sandwich and head back into the fray. They are smiling. Foolish children. Daughter and I trek for the third time out to car (uphill both ways, now in muck) warm up briefly, because the temperature has plummeted. I'm pretty sure it is below zero, but most revelers still walking around sans umbrellas in shorts and most are now barefoot. I have been sucked back to Woodstock. Are these kids on DRUGS? How do they not feel the cold and wet? Will they all be hospitalized tomorrow? My teenage charges? They have not emerged from the pit. At least now that it is dark I can see that there is a large cloud of steam emanating from the huddled mass. I can only hope some of that is evaporating dampness and that my "kids" won't have to be nude on the way home. I am sorry, but I have fabric seats! I have now entered the seventh circle of Hell, and this is Christian music. How did this happen? I have never been so cold, nor so drenched in my life. I am racking my brain for history lessons on warfare and the conditions soldiers had to march in. How was their health? Did they survive all of the slings and arrows only to succomb to illness from the deplorable conditions? As a nurse, I know in my head that they can't catch a cold or pneumonia or the swine flu from being cold and wet, but why do I feel like they could? I'm now officially worried that despite medical science it IS possible. help me. The cold is affecting my brain. Why isn't there a tent here offering hot cocoa and blankets? What kind of people run this Festival? Brutes! At this point even the teens are shivering and huddled under extremely "un-cool" umbrellas. It's a little late for that but we have not covered saturation in chemistry yet. HA! I was mentally prepping that lesson as I tried to stop my teeth from chattering. Thank Goodness that Skillet was up next. Let the head-banging begin. I never really encouraged this behavior in my children before, but I am thinking the muscle movement should be warming. I try it. I stop. Skillet ROCKS. I am slightly warmed by the sensation that I have suffered through this day so my kid could see his musical IDOLS (no, not THAT kind of idols!) I just hope he survives it. Next time I am feeling rested and relaxed, I will describe the drive home. (Teaser: cold, drenched kids, kid who gets carsick if heat is on, frequent side of the road stops for false alarms, the Beltway in the pouring rain, a 2.3 hour trip on GPS that actually took OVER FOUR HOURS....) Just a little taste of the experience that was Awakening Fest 2009. Those pics I wanted to get of Kutless? Well, apparently it is difficult to take good pics and hold a large golf umbrella at the same time, especially when your hands are wet, the umbrella is wet and your camera is wet. Who knew? Oh, and I might have accidentally recorded a bit of the concert on my digital camera. I am so technologically unadvanced and all...and I am officially old.