Take all your chances while you can
You never know when they’ll pass you by.
Dear Joel (& Athlete),
Regarding our conversation outside the ABC in Glasgow last night
You may remember me as the American in the red jacket, or perhaps as the girl with the unmistakable air of lunacy about her. I can assure you that I am, most of the time, actually pretty sane. I am also, on occasion, able to form complete sentences and even string them together into what could be considered a conversation. I apologise, I don’t know what got into me – I think it may have been early stages of frostbite!
The point of all of this is that yes, I did wait in the snow and bitter cold for 1 ½ hours last night just for the opportunity to tell you my story. The way I figure, I’ve been waiting for over 4 years; a few extremely cold minutes weren’t going to stop me in the end. So, considering the wait and my determination you think I could have told you the story I’ve been wanting to tell. I fear I failed here, but I did try. I am very glad I waited to speak to you. I am very glad that I met you. You are as kind as I hoped; not to mention humble. The story, though, the story was lacking. To make up for that, this is how it should have gone:
In May of 2005 my friend and I made the 5-hour trip across from Cleveland to Chicago to see you play live. The finer details of the evening are mostly lost, having been eclipsed by what happened after, but I do remember that you were bang on form and I was very glad we’d come.
Sometime during your set (and I don’t know why, which makes the story even more compelling, perhaps the lack of a why is the real moral…) and completely out of the blue I was overcome with a need to call my grandmother. Something in your voice or in the lyrics to the songs… Whatever it was, whatever the why, the songs you were playing compelled me to action. Which song was it? I can’t say. Maybe “Wires”, although I like to think my subconscious mind is a little less obvious. My most likely guess is “Chances”. Either way, after you finished your set, off I went to the lobby to call my grandmother. The contents of our (quite lengthy) conversation are mostly personal, but we said we loved each other and to take care and, most importantly, we ended with goodbye.
Just come back for one day
‘Cause there’s so much I never got to say
Just come back for one day
So I can remember your face
~ “Lay Your Head”
This conversation would turn out to be the last time I ever spoke to my grandmother. Without you it never would have happened. There may not be many things in life I am certain of, but this is one of them. Who knows why? If I hadn’t been at your show, if I hadn’t been really listening to you guys that night, then I wouldn’t have had that last conversation.
All of this is a round about way of saying thank you. Really and truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. My grandmother was one of the most important people in my life and thanks to you, although I didn’t know it at the time, we got to say goodbye.
I’ve been racing the clock and I’ve run out of steam;
I am ready for my final symphony.
Oh, my body is weak, but my soul is still strong;
I am ready to rest in your arms.
And the rain beat down on the rooftops:
But there was no sound, there was no sound.
And all my friends and family carried me,
They carried me home, carried me home.
~ “Black Swan Song”
I’d also like to express my thanks to you for the comfort your songs provided me with over the crazy days that followed. Music means different things to different people at different times in their lives. What I needed that horrible May in 2005, was Tourist. I used that album to effectively drown out the worst of the grief and focus instead on memories, something I fear I would have been unable to do without your songs.
So, there you have it. My thank you. I hope you enjoyed the show last night in Glasgow. I can’t decide which I enjoyed most: your conversation with the fan who travelled THROUGH BIG SNOW TO SEE YAS or the part where the audience wouldn’t stop singing long enough to let you sing your own songs. It was an excellent set. It was the sixth time I’ve seen you live and every time gets better. So, thank you for that as well.
Thank you for stopping to talk to me. I really did enjoy our chat last night even though I bolloxed my story. Thanks for the hug, too, I hope you didn’t catch my frostbite! I’m looking forward to the next time you come to Glasgow, maybe by that time I’ll have mastered the art of conversation. Or maybe even just “hello”.
p.s. I’m sorry there’s no photos of the others – they were all blurry and indecipherable, so I didn’t post them. I did take loads, though…