19 October 2011

48 hours and Aretha

Yes, yes, it is true. I'm taking a Facebook hiatus. There are a million reasons why and I don't intend to get into them here, but it was necessary. Briefly, it began with Miranda July's film and transitioned into too much wasted time. I've spent the last few days explaining to my close friends-- aka the people that haven't already blocked me on FB and actually look forward to my posts-- what made me "decide to drop out of life" (Woody Allen reference for those who don't know). It's complicated, but the essence of the decision was....I'm tired. I want the quiet of not knowing EVERYTHING that happens with everyone. And perhaps the most important reason is that I wanted to try an obstruction.

A few years ago, I watched a film called "The Five Obstructions." You can look it up, as I don't intend to give you all the details. But nevertheless, it made me begin to think about how our lives might change when some type of obstruction is placed in front of ourselves. For example, several years ago, I stopped eating meat. I had some objections to the treatment of animals, but I was mostly curious about what life might be like without centering my meals around eating meat. When I moved to Nashville, there wasn't room to bring my 1980's microwave with me, so I decided, I won't have one. I wonder what life will be like without a microwave. These "obstructions" might seem insignificant, but when you've grown use to having these sort of things in your life...and you remove them, you find all sorts of things happen that you didn't expect.

So, approximately (acerca de) 48 hours ago, I decided...to deactivate my Facebook account. I can't tell you how long I will engage in this experiment, though I have considered going 30 days. But I don't know, yet. I might decide tomorrow I want to re-activate my account. But I can tell you this much...the last 48 hours have actually been quite fantastic...and well, tragic and isolating at the same time.

I don't want to go into the details yet....as I've been writing in my journal (holy shit, yes, not having FB has made me write in my journal several times a day....who knew?) and I plan to write about the experiences of being FB-less at a later time on this blog.

But more importantly....tonight, I had the chance (well, after paying about $100) to see Aretha Franklin perform at the Ryman. When I was back in Puerto Rico and I heard she was playing...I thought to myself-- this might be the last time AND how many chances do you have to see Aretha, the Queen of Soul, play in a venue like the Ryman. So, I shelled out the cash.

Throughout the night, I had so many conflicted emotions. Upon arrival to the Ryman, I found myself completely frustrated. The Ryman seemed like a different venue than I was use to. The gift shop was open. They kept repeating over the loud speakers about how to get to your seat. And all the while, as I tried to buy a beer in the world's shortest beer line at a concert, I was confronted with hundreds of "older" folks who stood in the middle of the floor anxiously looking at their tickets trying to figure out, "just what in the world was going on here at this venue."

By the way, over the loud speaker they kept repeating, "You can take your drinks into the auditorium, but you can't spill them." I've NEVER heard this at any of the other rock shows I've attended. And I should mention, I've NEVER witnessed anyone ever spilling their drinks...which happened tonight. Apparently, when you trespass into your 50's, you can't really hold (literally and figuratively) your alcohol.

Before the show began, I became incredibly broody. This might have been due to the fact that the show was scheduled to begin at 7:30, but actually started at 8:30. Trust me, the 50-year olds noticed. But for me, I started looking around, while waiting for the show. I started wondering...Is that me in 15 years? Is this how I'll behave at a rock show? And then, finding the obvious outcasts in the audience and I felt some sense of comfort and discomfort that I'll more than likely be them.

One hour into the suggested start of the show (which illustrates how I quickly adapted to their mindset, as no rock show ever starts on time), I started regretting my purchase. I wondered if I could just take a cab home.

And then....

She came out.

There was Aretha. Chills. Excitement. I put my hand to my mouth and looked over to notice the fella next to me had done the same. We were spellbound by her sheer appearance on the stage. Hell, she could have just stood there without singing and I probably would have been starstruck.

But why?

Well, Aretha probably means so much to anyone you ask. I tried to remember the first song I ever heard by her and more specifically, what song it was that I fell in love with. Because, well jeez, I'm sort of a hipster, so there is no way it could have been RESPECT...but I don't remember now. I do know this, when she sang "Think," I almost danced out of my pants. And while the show continued, I even found myself cheering for God...yes, believe it or not, I danced to gospel music.

She did some covers...Curtis Mayfield, Simon and Garfunkel.

And yes, I cried. Several times. I'm not sure if it was the sheer beauty of her voice or if it was hearing live her sing the songs I've spent numerous days dancing across my living room floor or if it is the memories I remember connected to the songs...or if I'm just going through a difficult time right now and I was moved. Yes, Aretha moved me.

As the show ended, I found my way to an individual I found in the crowd earlier that evening. There was something about him that captivated me. Yes, those are exactly the words I told him. He had this fantastic shock of white hair, glasses like John Lennon, a huge coat with fur, and his enthusiasm for Aretha caught my attention well before she ever entered the stage. My new friend, Jobim is moving to California from Nashville tomorrow...but the short conversation we had before I left the venue was fantastic.

Yes, I heart Aretha...and I'm going to work on writing something about a memory I have attached to one of her songs...but in the mean time, I realized that by deactivating myself from FB...I was able to enjoy and listen to the show in a way I might not have previously. Instead of attempting to document the show or check in or post about the show, I just let the show happen. I found myself talking to more of the people around me, instead of quickly picking up my phone to fill the quiet spaces in between.

I don't know what that means...but I do know that the last 48 hours have been quiet and relaxing. I don't know what my other options are for getting the information that I actually need for my research and the like, but I do know that for now, I'm enjoying not knowing what you are doing every moment, unless you tell me.