"Hey! I think I know that guy!"
"Yeah. He works in the warehouse, but I almost didn't recognize him--he doesn't usually wear eyeliner."
Jon and I don't go to many concerts, and when we do it's usually because the tickets were free--such was the case with the Nine Inch Nails concert on Friday. Jon was absolutely smitten. He's a long time NIN fan, but I am mostly guilty by association. Don't get me wrong, I love some of their stuff from the late '80s and early '90s and I don't particularly have a problem with any of the newer albums, it's just my interests have been waning amidst all of the new music I've discovered in the last few years. Nevertheless, it was one of my husband's favorite bands, we only had to pay for parking, and I was just happy to be out doing something on a Friday night.
I'm not sure what I was expecting. I'd been to a NIN concert before, but it was almost 10 years ago, I was a teenager, and I didn't give a shit what I looked like back then, but now? Now, after walking in the front doors of the Quicken Loans Arena, surrounded by men in black fishnets and KISS-like platform boots, almost all of them pleading their case as to why they should be allowed to wear their spiked chokers, bracelets, and rings in the arena, it was obvious that the 2 days I spent rummaging through local department stores for a casual yet flattering black shirt, and the hour I spent trying to beautify my hair without looking like I actually tried was all for naught. I wasn't going to fit in here. And just to drive my point home, the security guard in charge of bag check made eye contact with me and sighed peacefully, as if she was relieved to see the only other human in a world full of inept goats. She waved her miniature flashlight over the loose receipts and tampons in my purse and whispered to me, "These people are a bunch of freaks..."
The difference between me and the woman checking my purse for a camera, drugs, or weapons, was that I didn't think we were surrounded by freaks—I thought we were surrounded by people who were so comfortable in their own skin that they were able to express themselves freely, acknowledging that the rest of the world might view them as a different species, and yet they did it anyway. Here I had spent the last 2 days frantically searching for something that wasn't of a pastel hue so I wouldn't be mistaken for a Hannah Montana fan in the presence of Trent Reznor, and yet in comparison to all the mohawks, black lipstick, and heavy eyelids I felt incredibly boring in my black scoop-neck blouse and flip-flops.
Overall the concert was amazing--the digital effects were superb and the buffet of people-watching opportunities was some of the best I've ever been witness to. My self-diagnosed ADD was having a field day as my attention shifted from the enrapturing voice of Trent Reznor, to the crowd surfers who loved getting pushed around by the bouncers, to the girls who were flail dancing so fiercely that I thought they would fall off the balcony, to the guy behind us who mistakenly thought he had a better voice than Reznor and tried to over sing him the entire time, and to the people below who were gutsy enough to smoke weed in the kingdom of LeBron James.
Somewhere along the line I noticed my jeans were sopping wet from mid-shin down and discovered someone had spilled their drink and it was pooling around my feet. I had to start holding my wet purse in my lap and I stopped having fun after that. Again, I had to keep reminding myself that all we paid for was parking, and I managed to survive.
The important thing is that Jon can stop holding a grudge against me for being at the NIN concert years ago when he wasn't, and I've discovered the true identity of the quiet man I politely say hello to in the lunchroom corridor everyday. It's like our own little secret.