We moved to even more of a suburb. We had a couple of kids. Bluesfest moved somewhere a little less accessible and I stopped taking public transit and got less comfortable with it. Bluesfest got much less Blues-packed, but that wasn't really a factor for me - I like the blues, but I understand that the festival has to attract a wide demographic to sell more tickets. It fell off my radar a bit, it always took me off guard when it started in early July, and whenever I thought about it, I would think "I have to go back someday" but I kept not doing it. Until last year when Alison and I saw Styx and Foreigner in the pouring rain, followed by a double rainbow.
This year I was determined to make myself go. I thought I should bring Eve to at least some of it, since she likes music, and we like doing things together, and it would be the summer! Yay! Mother-daughter adventure, live music in the sun! I told her we could go see Iggy Azalea if she wanted to, and she was stoked. I bought us both passes at a good price the first day they were available. I felt all smug and cool and culture-consuming.
For about four days. Then I realized that Eve and I both have tendencies towards anxiety, and we both kind of hate crowds, and we're not that great with really loud places. Also, I don't love driving, especially downtown, especially when I don't know exactly where I'm going, or where to park. And I also hate hot weather, and Bluesfest is in Ottawa, in July. And as it got closer, I realized my husband wasn't even going to be home to walk me through the route I should take and possible parking spots - he was going to be in freaking Detroit or Dallas or some other city in the states that begins with D, and I was going to have to do this TOTALLY ALONE, except for my kid who I would probably scar for life by screwing up and driving the wrong way down a one-way street, or parking fifty blocks away and not getting to the festival site until all the music was done, or just sobbing in absolute terror.
Basically I looked at myself in the mirror going "THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU???"
School went on. School ended. Zarah came for a week and that distracted me. Then she left and I spent half a day in full-blown panic. I actually thought I might have to cancel.
But here's the thing. This is me at the beginning of every canoe trip, and dance, and party, and any event where I have to leave my reading chair and my house and my comfort zone: Why am I doing this? Who thought this was a good idea? I can listen to music and look at nature and make up witty quips at home. Why didn't I stay there?
The first night I had to breathe exaggerated deep breaths on the drive down and literally almost threw up.
And partway into the experience, I remembered what I always realize: Sometimes you just have to get out of your house and do stuff. Because the world is big and inside your head can get very small. Because amazing opportunities will present themselves.
Because you'll meet people who are a little different.
Because you'll hear a familiar line of music, or fall in love with an unfamiliar one, or see an amazing view, or navigate a new stretch of river, or stretch a new set of muscles, and inside your head will get a little bigger.
Because you'll find a seniors' centre that offers their parking lot as a fundraiser, and you'll know that most of your friends will refuse to pay for parking on principal, but you don't give a flying fuck because now you know exactly which address to punch into the GPS every time you drive down, and where to park, and how long a walk it will be (not long), and after Iggy Azalea (who is surprisingly very sweet and whose music is much less noisy and unintelligible than you assumed it would be, even in the second row) your daughter will sigh ecstatically and say "You don't even know how happy I am right now."
Because your husband will say "you should be proud of yourself, in some silly little way", and you'll say "uh, yeah, but not quite", and he'll say "sorry, I was trying not to be condescending" and you'll say "then you're doing it wrong", but it will be okay, because, yeah, it was kind of silly and little, but you did it. And next year you'll do it again. Hopefully minus the Kanye, because, *visceral sudder*, gah, the sweaty heaving mass of humanity you had to drag Eve through to get to the exit after Hawksley Workman? NOT pleasant.