I loved the smell of show on my pants. The mix of smoke, sweat and other people’s energy. My pants told the tale of a lot of good nights. I had friends that told me to wear the pants the day after the show for good luck, but I was always a little worried that other people would think I was a bum. You see, I went to a lot of shows when I was in high school, mostly punk and indie bands that most people hand’t heard of. I thought I was being cool by attending the underground music scene.
At one such show for the Get Up Kids, I was getting my pants sufficiently stained and odiferous. I invited a friend of mine to come along and she obliged. We got their early enough to stand next to the stage in the packed club, the kind that really should only fit a hundred, but was stuffed with something more like 2 hundred.
It just so happened that as the music started a strong willed boy pushed his way up to the front and started to crowd my friend. With every song, he would push harder to get into her space. He didn’t want to stand where she was standing, he just wanted to push. About halfway through the show I put my leg up on the three foot stage and made a barricade for my friend, using my leg as a fence.
I tried to talk to the boy, talking some sense into him about just enjoying the show, but he would have none of it. He just wanted to push. He wanted to make sure that no one had a good time but him, and he succeeded for the most part.
That is, until the song Mass Pike came on. It was the song that took me by surprise and made the experience worthwhile. When the first chords started on the keyboard, I didn’t even notice that I had to hold back a sea of drunk muscle.
I don’t know exactly what all of this means, but I think that I am holding back the muscle of something much larger than myself at the moment.
I am at the big show, the one that I have been waiting for a really long time. I am excited about being here with someone I love, and I am gearing up to blown away. Up has waltzed a force that has the capability of making sure that I can’t dance or move the ways that I want to. And all I am looking for is the few moments when all of this pressure and undisclosed animosity can melt away in favor of just hearing the music. I want it to flow over me and take us away from the unending push of life.
I understand that pushes like the are what make pants smell the best. I understand that the struggle and the sweat are enough to release just the right bouquet of aroma. I want to be bullied and leaned against, but I also want there to be moments of relaxed extacy. And there will be I just have to know how to look for them.
This is how I knew at the Get Up Kids show, and I’m pretty sure it is how I will know now: I will close my eyes and hear the notes play, just the intro. When those chords come through, the right combination of things that make the back of my head tingle. And I will have a moment of knowing that it won’t last and wanting it to anyway. I work backward from the feeling and tag the moment with every descriptor I can muster so that I can’t possibly forget. And I feel safe in every moment because I know the words and it is my song, our song, being played just for us. That is when I no longer feel the pressure. That is the moment I am waiting for.