Sunday, December 07, 2008

Simply the best

My birthday present last June was tickets to last night's Tina Turner concert.

Katy took me out to eat (accompanied by Connecticut's most popular and widely-read music critic and his lady-friend... She's gonna love that that's her title.) We had a wonderful meal. We opted out of stealing the bread bucket that we liked from the restaurant and then we hit the XL (Don't ask me who owns the civic center now) for some ass-kickin' music.

I love Tina Turner. She rocks the world and she is the real reason I want to get to know Oprah better. B/c I think Oprah can put me in touch with Tina. The concert did not disappoint. There were some noticeable breaks and a 30 minute intermission where we envisioned the 69 year old icon hooked up to a little oxygen and perhaps IV hydration with some PT massaging her limbs backstage. Katy and I both woke up sore from the clapping, screaming, and dancing around we did in our seats (they were GREAT seats btw) so we can only imagine how fit this lady is to put forth the show she did.

As we were listening, cheering, smiling, enjoying the diversity in the audience, laughing that some of our peeps coincidentally had tickets only a few rows away in the same section, it was a celebration of the most pure variety. At some point, katy turned to me, grabbed my hand and said with a squeeze, "I have a great life." I agreed: "me too."

This past week has been a little of a time warp for me. The work week flew by, but my life outside of work seemed to be infinitely full of not-so-mundane events. My mind is never really away from our friend Adam who is hospitalized in a wreck of a (reversible but) devastating and terrifying diagnosis. Our friend IBO who is maybe pregnant again but nervous about what happened last time and in a good amount of physical discomfort. Our friends in Brooklyn who are waiting for their twins to gestate fully and will now be waiting on "bed rest" for the next 8 to 10 or 12 weeks or so. My friend LCD who's been trying to coordinate emergency care for her father in law. Then there's KK, whose mom started her first round of chemo... should I go on?

At 32 Our Street, JB this week has seemed to blossom yet again, somehow increasing his sweetness, his understanding of things, and his ability to interact with the world. He is a joy. He has an ever growing sense of humor. He is getting physically stronger and more coordinated.

I think there is an older version of me that would have perseverated on some of the difficult things our friends are going through right now as compared to our life right now, and tended toward the, "some bullshit is bound to ruin everything" state of numbness: Fear of the other shoe dropping, a dash of guilt, and a general discomfort about living in such a degree of contented happiness. I feel encased in and embalmed with gratitude and a kind of warm empathy. I do not feel outside of the difficult times that my friends are going through. Though we are not in their shoes, we feel sad and worried and stressed a little with them. But our friends are also the type that weave their blessings and gratitude into their woes. And I am somehow with them, sending positive energy without "steeling myself" or making it about my anxieties and powerlessness.

Katy and I and our friends are statistically (literally) some of the luckiest people to ever crawl the earth. Considering the nation, the wealth, the opportunities, education, and experiences that we have been exposed to, from a broad view it is hard to imagine what there is to not be blissed out about... But at the same time, we (and our friends) are no strangers to tragedy either.

Last night, beaming, I looked around the arena and realized that the last time I saw Jennifer P was in that room. Her husband, kind of lost to us now, is facing another Christmas without her or their kids. I stayed there with her, but pushed us both out of that "last time" and back into the joy and the driving pulse of a Tina Turner concert. It was not as much to deny sorrow as to bring her memory into a place that is about life and not about death. That is about Joy and not about grief. That is about living in the peace of a moment not the anxiety of the past or the future.

There was a lot of talk this fall about Hope. In my opinion, the word got knocked around a little, and walked away with yellowing bully-bruises and the caked on mud of mockery. I can't help but feel, though, that a climate of hope is what gets people through not only difficult times but happy, peaceful times too. Hope as a premise works in any season. The promise that things will change means that luck will run out, but luck will blossom again too. Time might appear as your enemy and then will rescue you out of the deepest hole; a gift for healing or rest or adventure. The musculature of hope is love and friendship that will hold you up when you can't stand (or feel your legs.) Hope exists in the web of community that is built not only when you offer to help but more substantially when you find yourself brave enough to ask for it.

Tina Turner is an icon not exclusively for her talents or powerful vocal presence, but her lasting power. Also, the humanity and personal frailty that she chose to share with the world and her fans... Her guts. Everyone's got at least a little of that inside of them, and sometimes you need some appropriate music to help drive it out.

Thanks for the wonderful night, baby. ily.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Sweet writing, Tracy. Of course I would never expect anything less coming from you...HB