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Setting myself on fire

On top of all of the crap going on in my personal life, I also got a call a few days ago from the SVP that started out with “So, they’re eliminating your role before 2011…”. I shouldn’t be stressed by it, as I know damned well that they are still going through the corporate bloodletting that accompanies a massive offshore movement and I’ve been mentally preparing myself to be laid off again since I came back in June and then even moreso when my boss left the company in the beginning of the year and they churned three levels of management above me. The SVP is actually trying to find somewhere to put me before this action takes place, so that I’m “saved” as it were, and despite all of these reasons why I logically shouldn’t be worried about it, it still added a level of stress. It seems more like sense memory. My body remembers the feeling of January 2009, even though my brain logically knows that I could get walked tomorrow and survive without too much hardship.

As it turns out, I’m bad at hiding my stress. It was so bad that Esteban wanted to buy me a massage, just to see if it would help relax me a bit. I still can’t get over that. So thoughtful and such a great idea. I hemmed and hawed about it a bit, though. I just didn’t feel like it was something I deserved, and in fact, I should have the wherewithal to break out of my first world problems funk without needing a damned massage. But still, a massage. Mmm. I couldn’t really decide what to do about it, so I did what I always do: avoided it by not making a decision.

On Friday afternoon, when most people have vanished from their desks, either physically or mentally, imaging their exciting weekend, I was doing some scrambling with my network of colleagues, debating the “what in the world am I going to do next at this company” question. Meanwhile, I was bumping e-mails back and forth with my maiden aunt about my grandmother’s care, getting more and more tense by the moment. Then I saw a tweet that my favorite indie rock group was going to be playing in Madison in just five hours. Sigh. Wouldn’t it be nice to shirk all of my responsibilities and drive two and a half hours to go to the concert? My younger self would have done it, but no, I’m old and responsible and boring and was at that moment dressed very much like a school marm. This is not my rock star life.

I whined on Twitter about it. Esteban PM’d me and said I should go. It was so strange: I earnestly hadn’t even thought it were possible. I mean, I’m going to see them in Milwaukee in two weeks. And then again in San Francisco (where I get to MEET them…. vapors!) so three times in as many weeks? That’s just hedonism, right there. Also, I just don’t do things like that on the spur of the moment. I plan. I’m a planner. I dismissed the idea again, because I really didn’t want to drive down to Madison by myself, and also, I had to be back the next day by 1 pm to open the pottery studio as a favor for the pottery guru, who had an out-of-town engagement himself. Not possible. Unless…

I waited until 4 pm, made arrangements for the dog and raced home to get changed. Esteban was still finishing up a call, so I packed up a few necessities and then blew out to gas up the Murano and get some cash while he took a quick shower and got his indie rock chic on (the sad truth is that Esteban’s look is now way more Indie Rock And Roll than I am… I’m coming to terms with this slowly) and we hit the highway by 5:12 pm. A quick call to the theatre assured that the venue wasn’t in danger of selling out, so we could just walk up and buy tickets at the door. And roughly 145 minutes later, that’s exactly what we did.

Uh, yeah, that would be us right up against the stage. We literally walked up to the line as they were opening the doors, bought our tickets and then when everyone was congregating at one door to the theatre, I hustled to the second one and blammo, front and slightly off center, baby.

Virgin Mary?

I recognize that I’m a very very lucky person. But somehow, standing there at the feet of Amy Millan, listening those amazing harmonies, I felt all of the stress starting to dissolve. The way that the lyrics dance around my brain is like being dosed with anti-depressants. And I swear, whenever I experience “Set Yourself On Fire” live, particularly the end where Torq talks about life and sleep and dream and forever, there’s a minor religious epiphany. And for just a moment, everything is going to be ok. For just a moment, everything is exactly as it should be and exactly as it must be. For just a moment, I locate some kind of internal mental compass and I know exactly where I’m going and precisely how I’m going to get there.


And wouldn’t you know, it’s way better (and surprisingly cheaper) than a 60 minute massage.

Below, my epiphany song, taken at the Lincoln Hall concert on 6/9 by the person standing to the left of us*. I believe you can see Jennette bopping in the left hand corner at times, and the redhead with the glasses is most certainly Christine. Enjoy.

*Yes, I know! I saw them twice already this year and have two more times to go. I am thisclose to riding around the country in a beat up van, selling bracelets in the parking lot before the shows to pay for tickets.

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One Comment

  1. Jean wrote:

    And singles of malt liquor – you can make way more money selling those in the parking lot than you can bracelets.

    Trust me…

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 6:32 am | Permalink

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