Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Going Out on Dates Alone is Weird.

At a certain point in one's middle age, if one doesn't have a partner (husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, FRIENDS) with whom to go and do things, one must consider the notion of embarking upon something interesting alone.

There's no shame in being alone, for it sort of exudes confidence and a sense of self-worth that "Hey, I can do what I want when I want to do it, and I need nobody's permission." You know, those stages of dependence to independence to interdependence. I'm lodged tightly in being independent, which is normal and healthy for a 41-year old woman.

But it's also lonesome. Very much so. Especially when you're in a crowded, intimate venue and couples are cozied beside one another enjoying the show. I was seated at a table for 4, small, with an older woman named (I think) Deborah, and we were both there to see former Monkee Michael Nesmith perform solo, at the City Winery, where I just saw Anoushka Shankar with my mom. At least then, I had somebody to talk to. Deborah (I think) was deeply ensconced in a book for the hour which preceded the show and had zero interest in speaking with me, other than to acknowledge that I was getting up to use the ladies' room and go for one last smoke before the concert began.

It was sort of ironic, then, that one of the first tunes Nez played was "Propinquity." I shot this (audio ok, video? I hadn't yet figured out the zoom on my camera).

We've been over and back about the law of attraction known as propinquity probably a dozen times in this blog, so I won't reiterate it other than to say once again that it's likely you'll form friendships or romantic bonds with the people within whom you're in close proximity (in some form or another) for a decent amount of time. It's what I believe drew me to Guy and Guy to me. (And yes, I've explained propinquity to him a dozen times too.) We've grown more and more distant since our working-together propinquity ended almost 2 years ago. I haven't seen him but briefly since his mother's wake in October, and I miss him a lot. We've talked a few times, but haven't gotten together for either coffee or dinner and now the hectic holidays are coming. I'm sure he'll claim busyness and continue to not see me, which makes me sad.

There was no dinner conversation. My server was scant. It was all very expensive. I dolled up for nobody but myself. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert, and can think of several friends (including Guy) who would've enjoyed it too, but I decided to not try and wrangle non-Monkeephiles into seeing one of them for $65 plus dinner and a $50 taxi each way (the Michigan Ave "Mag Mile Lights Festival" parade really messed up traffic) and, like when I saw The Monkees a year ago, went alone. This Nesmith tour was un-Monkeeish, with the exception of an encore including "Listen to the Band." He concentrated more so on his older work with the First National Band ("Joanne," "Silver Moon," etc) to the late 70's, disco-inspired "Cruisin'" and the groundbreaking "Rio," which shotgunned his full-length video LP, "Elephant Parts" into Grammy territory. 

It's during those moments when you kind of do feel sorry for yourself. Like, "I couldn't even find a friend willing to go with me?" and I honestly couldn't. I fooled around on my phone with Twitter and Facebook, but didn't even really have friends actively texting or exchanging with me. Certainly not Guy, to whom I'd sent a couple of pictures from the Winery. Deborah (?) was a dud. Then you become the old object of  a "tear-in-the-beer syndrome," eat your dinner in solitude, and enmesh with the music and the artist as if you were the only two people in the room. And that's what I did with Michael Nesmith. 

The tour, entitled "Movies of the Mind," combined vignettes Nez told as a backstory he'd made up about the setting of each song or medley. All very well-crafted and visionary. I missed recording the one on "Propinquity," but I got most of the story on "Some of Shelly's Blues," about a wife who, after staring out the window and getting fed up with her discontent, tells her husband she wants a divorce. (From the thrice-divorced, 71-year old Nesmith.) 

My personal cabbie, Stan, who drove me to the concert (taking the longest, most back-route, expensive way possible to the show) forgot to pick me up despite my many texts that I was ready to go, apologizing Sunday morning that he'd eaten a rotisserie chicken and passed out on his couch (ok...) so I ended up hailing the first available cab home in the 12 degree weather, thinking had I driven down, and paid the $10 valet parking, it'd be a hell of a lot cheaper, but I wasn't about to get on the crawling expressway; furthermore, I was in no shape to drive home (Valium +++). 

Seeing Nez was terrific, apart from being there solo. But behind me, across from Deborah (?) was this empty chair, that I really wish had been filled. It was filled, just in the "movie in my mind."


Chris Stevens said...

Howdy. Believe it or not I actually enjoy going solo at times. Did for Chillfest. By the way, I was long gone by the time you sent a message as to what time I went on. And with my old fashioned flip phone, no Internet and no Facebook etc. Hey I am at least living in the 21st Century and have a cell phone. Loved the Monkees and played a number of their tunes over the course of my life. And used a helluva lot of his mom's White Out over the years. Good blog post.

Andrea Miklasz said...

Sorry I missed you, Chris. It was a crummy day outside in the first place! I guess you have to get to a comfortable place in life where you're comfortable with yourself enough to enjoy going and doing things alone (and don't forget, you have someone to go home to and snuggle up).

I told a friend over on Facebook that it was extra tense going to the Nez show alone because I have near-crippling social anxiety, but I reined it in and sucked it up.

Thanks for the read! :)

BMF said...

You're brave, Little Soldier, for venturing out on your own. I know it was saddening to see all the "cozy couples," but you're in a growth spurt. You're absolutely right that you have to be comfortable with yourself before you can be truly comfortable with others, regardless if you're going home to a partner or to an empty house. I get the loneliness though. I get it on the road a lot.

That said, Deborah (or whoever she was) could've thrown you a rope and been more cordial. Burying yourself in a book is the old people's way of monkeying around on their phones.

I am well aware of your social anxiety which is why I'm especially happy you went on your own and enjoyed yourself. Sometimes it helps to have the mindset that you're alone with the artist so's not to overwhelm yourself with so much overstimulation.

I'm sad I didn't answer your texts Saturday night. They came through, but I was busy at the studio then at home, and for that, I am sorry.

In some ways, though, it was good for you to get out alone. It helps you grow as as an individual. Even if you had to pretend it was just you and Nesmith in the room, I'm sure it was worth it. If I lived in Chicago, you betcha I'd have occupied that seat in the "movie of your mind." Alas, I couldn't be. But you did fine on your own, even if you came home half in the bag whacked out on drugs.

Sorry to hear things are tense again with your mom. The holiday won't make it any easier. It indeed does make me think of you as a breathing dollar sign, as you say.

What disturbs me the most is when you express suicidal ideation (and you have before) and, as you told me privately, you're accused off as being a cop-out who no one cares lives or dies. Is it fair to throw that at her every argument? Probably not. But. She's not even giving you the confidence you need as a healer and/or a writing professor in the future. See, for you, you have no future, just as your dad didn't.

Consequently, I'd probably be a death-obsessed misanthrope myself. But just keep Luke in the back of your head, always. Someday, somehow, you'll get out. It's not a life sentence.

Wish Jake a happy birthday for me from yesterday! I didn't get a chance to send a greeting.

Happy Happy Thanksgiving! I'm thankful you're still putting up with me.


Rob Cheney said...

Finally found time to post
Thats a big step doing that on your own :)Especially in what sounds like a very intimate venue.
I do go to a lot of gigs on my own as my partner and i have more mutual dislikes rather than mutual likes when it comes to music but being an only child i am used to my own company so even in my single days i used to go alone mainly because of my taste in music wasnt the same as my friends
plus im happy with my own company. My ex wife hated her own company and craved being surrounded by friends family and booze!I couldnt cope with that hence we went our separate ways.

Wishing all you offbeat drummers a happy thanks giving its a normal Thursday in the UK so Annie if you need to PM at all i am around

Andrea Miklasz said...

Rob, I'm sure I'll PM you with discontent about being around my family, particularly "her." She's already on a tirade and now she has a head cold she's blaming on Luke vis-a-vis me. Because we passed it onto her on purpose, of course.

Guy woke me up at 6:45 am with a text that...he'll call me when he's done with work today. I told him I had church at 7 followed by a "pie social," so if I miss him, I'll call him when I get home, I guess. Meg and I had been teetering on whether or not I should call him yesterday, or if I'd hear from him before the big holiday, and he did contact me, let's just hope I'm still home. I miss him bunches.

Rob, you're very fortunate inasmuch as you are comfortable with your own company. I hope Luke, as an only child, grows up to be as brave and confident as you are. It took a lot out of me. No wonder I was pumping Valium and came home tanked/schnockered, however you want to put it. That's my problem too--lots of my friends don't share my taste in music, or they're not willing to shell out the cash to see what few artists I do go out and see. With the case of Anoushka, Guy, I think would've gone with me had he been in town. Alas, he was not.

Nez is an acquired taste--you have to enjoy country rock largely--but I've had it for the guy since I was 4 years old, so no way I was passing up on seeing him in such a small restaurant/venue.

But what was the deal with Deborah (??)?

Andrea Miklasz said...

It's funny...the "movie in my mind" would have Guy in the seat behind me, perhaps clutching my hand in his, certainly with his hand rubbing me up and down my back, as he has before. Nonesuch. The more I think about the show, the more depressed I become, so maybe we should change he subject.

Rob Cheney said...

From what I can gather Luke will be fine with himself :) a pie social sounds a lot more fun than it possibly is.
I think Deborah was Somewhat antisocial and loopy,in years of attending gigs I have never seen anyone reading a book! I Have a very empty live music calender at the moment aside from the usual festival in September and a stand up show after the New year

Andrea Miklasz said...

A pie social is fine if you like pie, which I do, and want a cup of tea, which I did, then wanted to bolt the hell out, which Luke and I did, but my mom wanted to sit and yackety yack with her friends for another hour. And there's just so much church socializing one can manage in one evening, you know?

It didn't help that Luke's father (and his mother, and his fiancee) sat at a table across the room, when we had legit family biz to discuss of when Luke is where....Craig's getting married next Friday, for which they have to yank Luke out of school, etc....it's complicated.

Ran out of time to talk to Guy last night, so he's supposed to call before 1pm this Thanksgiving Day, as he's working. Golly, I can't wait. Take me out already, damnit!

Back to bed for me before the sun starts to rise!