I am well and truly home. The son immediately came down with a sore throat, the spouse's trial was immediately continued, and the daughter immediately needed new clothes (which necessitated an immediate trip to South Coast Plaza).
And now that I've finally made my peace with the last two years, the bombs started to rain down again this afternoon.
But I've already talked myself off that ledge, at least for now.
Why, yes! This is why I run away from home. The concert may be the centerpiece, the raison d'être, but there is no small measure of Escape from Alcatraz in the whole affair. And a new city to explore plus three perfect hours that are all mine.
I left for SNA on Wednesday at a leisurely 9 am, and immediately ran into trouble.
My backpack still contained a half-consumed bottle of water from the Columbus trip (completely my own fault, I admit it). And TSA was pulling the largest bottle from everyone's quart bag for testing. So while one person was running around with my backpack, I'm yelling after the other, "That's my contact solution. Please don't contaminate it!"
The entire trip to Dallas went that way, and I closed my eyes each time and told myself, "Small inconvenience. Not a major obstruction."
En route to Pittsburgh, the sun set, and I alternated between my book and watching the lights bloom in the darkness below.
"I hate it when you leave," the daughter wailed the day before my departure.
"Yes, because the beatings commence the second your mother is out the door," the spouse observed drily.
Still, I was appalled at how guilty I felt about leaving, and the guilt manifested itself in making dinner for every night that I would be gone in advance, and ensuring that all lunches are ready to be packed.
I am an enabler. For everyone but myself, it seems.
Still, I went.
My driver was a very chatty man. He told me about the celebrities he'd driven, and I made soft affirmative noises while I craned around trying to see anything out the window that told me about where I was.
It told me that it was late at night.
"I learn alot from my passengers," he continued, cheerfully. "They are always interesting people."
I sensed the invitation, but didn't rise to it. There is little to say about myself. I am not interesting, so I find it easier to leave me everyone else's imagination.
So he told me about Pittsburgh instead, which was much more congenial in my book, and I heard about the Steelers (I don't watch football), and the Penguins (I don't watch hockey), and the Pirates (Baseball. Relief. I could talk about that).
He left me off at my hotel, and the kind young woman who checked me in announced that I had been upgraded to a suite because of "inventory," which I took to mean that the hotel wasn't very busy. She was funny, too, and told me the features of the suite, and because I was traveling alone, she noted, "And you can sleep on the couch, or you can sleep in the bed, or you can sleep in the bed and then on the couch..."
The suite was palatial. It was nearly the size of the house I grew up in. There was a telescope in the room, and for some reason, this made me giggle.
I loved having a giant bed to myself. Except that I couldn't sleep. I'd had a coffee in Dallas, thinking 2:30, fine. But it was 2:30 in L.A., 4:30 in Dallas. And 5:30 in Pittsburgh. And now it was 2:20 am in Pittsburgh. Finally, I drifted off, only to awake a few hours later from a confused dream where I was without a hotel room, except that I had a key for a room at a Marriott, but I went into the room only to find someone else's belongings...
I laid there for a moment, lost in mounds of pillows, wondering. Then I heard noise outside the window, and got up to look out.
It was pouring, rain pelting down everywhere.
Breakfast, I decided. Maybe it will have stopped by then.
It didn't. Which didn't stop me. And before long, I was out walking the wet streets, camera in tow.
You can only cover so much territory, of course.
I knew that Pittsburgh was likely to be the last show I'd see this tour, and once I'd gotten past the being squashed part, my brain was in overdrive trying to catch up with everything I hadn't seen yet.
That's the problem; there is always so much going on that I invariably miss something. I get so caught up in watching the band, that I forget the visuals, never notice that the giant lighting rig moves.
The daughter asked me after Irvine why it is that I never try to play the instruments on Rock Band. I suppose it's a logical question, but it's never occurred to me to try to imitate the magic they create. I am content to watch and listen and enjoy the show.
Time that is all mine.
Go listen to some good music: "Your Hands (Together)" from the album Together by The New P*rnographers. The lyrics here are pretty stream of consciousness--crude plays? Huh?--but there are turns of phrase that sing out to me, the same way the shows tend to. All mine.