Squawk Radio

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

LIZ ON RITES OF PASSAGE


My son attended his first rock concert on Saturday, but since he’s twelve, his dad and I went with him. It was actually kind of a “rock concert lite” experience since the band, 30 Seconds to Mars, was playing at the World Series of Video Games and the cost of the concert was included in the event’s $10 daily admission. So they played on a stage rigged up inside the video game hall, and the set only lasted thirty minutes. It was a good intro into the rock concert experience for a twelve-year-old. Well, except for the part where Jared Leto said something about a blow job, which I had to explain later. Part of being a mom, right?

I wasn’t the only mom at the event, but I certainly wasn’t part of the crowd. (Though I DID have better fashion sense than one of the other moms, who was wearing camo pants and a black lacy tank top.) While my husband and son spent the hour before the concert exploring all the free games, I offered to grab us some seats. They thought I’d be bored. I told them I’d grab seats near a group of teenaged girls. It would be vastly entertaining. And it was.

But even more fun than eavesdropping on them was watching the roadies set up the instruments. What was funny was that all the roadies were my age. Naturally, I started writing stories in my head for them, most of which involved midlife crises and abandoning jobs as accountants and stockbrokers to travel the rock ‘n’ roll highway. And it made me feel better about what I do for a living. Maybe I have to put up with a lot of crap in this job, but at least I don’t have to stand on a stage wearing plaid shorts and black socks, in front of hundreds of buff teenagers, tuning a guitar some young hottie is going to be playing a little while later.

I was chastised for my smugness, though, when the band started signing autographs after the show. My son had brought his CD, just in case, but being only twelve, he got shouldered out by the other kids pretty quickly. So I took the CD and muscled my way to the front of the crowd for him. Alas, I was dismayed to discover I am no longer hot enough to attract the attention of a bunch of buff young men. (I was relieved, however, to see that the mom in the camo and black lace wasn’t, either.) But by God, I managed to catch the eye of the not-so-buff, middle-aged security guard standing with them. He grabbed the CD from me and passed it to the band, who signed it without looking up, then tried to hand it back to some sweet young thang in a halter standing in front of me. To her credit, she didn’t say, “Oh, that belongs to the old lady behind me.” She smiled and handed it back to me. And all I could think was, “Her mother raised her right.”

So my son and I both completed a rite of passage on Saturday. He went to his first rock concert, and I realized I’ve reached an age where I attend rock concerts and notice the middle-aged roadies and the moms dressed in camo and black lace and the not-so-buff security guards and how the kids were raised. What’s really weird is that I realize I don’t mind realizing that. And maybe that’s the biggest rite of passage of all.

So what are some recent rites of passage you’ve experienced? Which moments in life do you recall where you realized something very important about yourself? Any other 40-somethings been to an event swarming with teenagers? And, most important, anyone donning camo and black lace together these days?
Elizabeth Bevarly, 9:54 AM
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