So tomorrow on your way

Awoken before 7 by an immense clap of thunder, my immediate thought is that there’s a building collapsing next door. I’m mostly awake after that, quiescent in bed through the pounding of huge drops on the window and frighteningly nearby lightning strikes.

It’s the first day of spring. You couldn’t have guessed from the weather that it wasn’t far later in the year. It’s felt like May for the past three weeks. The flowers are all early, and the cherry blossoms down around the Tidal Basin are no exception, peaking a full week before their annual festival. A friend and I walk over after work, me with my camera and he with his bike. By the time we arrive the light is no longer on the trees but the crowds are still thick. We dodge through photographs and around strollers.

Within the past few months it seems like my social life has spun up. Glancing back and forward through my calendar I barely see an unbooked weekend night and have to go back to January before I find a weekend free of some sort of substantial time obligation. It’s not a problem, per se–I love the things that take up my weekend days and nights, music and family and friends, but I don’t seem to have fully adjusted so my body still expects to be allowed to sleep after a week of work, and is dismayed when this fails to happen.

It’s worth it, though. Like this weekend: today we saw John Carter (“entertaining” is the best way to describe it. Lexie and I definitely giggled our way through some scenes that seemed to want to be serious) and then had dinner with friends, followed by a rousing game of Scrabble (which I won by demoralizing the other players with a first-turn bingo). Yesterday was Shamrockfest, DC’s annual post-St.-Patrick’s-Day Irish-music-and-heavy-drinking extravaganza. We go for the music (less for the drinking) and this year’s mainstage line-up was excellent: Scythian, Carbon Leaf, Gaelic Storm, Dropkick Murphys. We were up front for the first three sets and retreated to a prudent distance for the fourth. The Murphys aren’t quite my style, a little more noise and a little less melody than I usually look for in music, but they certainly did put on a lively show. My attention kept getting distracted, though, both by the constant pushing and shoving from the crowd around us and from an oddity of the set-up. The festival is held in the parking lot of RFK Stadium, and this year the mainstage was assembled directly in front of an elevated Metro line. When we were up in front against the rail I barely noticed the trains going by (and certainly didn’t hear them), but once we moved back a ways I could see their whole lengths moving rapidly behind the stage. It broke me out of my concert reverie, and actually made me realize something about how and why I experience live music. When I go to a concert, part of why I go is to be transported, transformed, moved. I don’t want to be my usual self in my usual life. The thumping of the bass drum is the impetus moving me towards some other place.

But every time I saw a train go by, aggressively mundane, I was yanked out of that, shoved back into the person that I am the rest of the time. And that person is generally pretty great, and I like to be her, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes need to be someone else.

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