Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Rain Delay

Through the raindrops, the enormous letters on the screens proclaimed that GB loved NY. It didn't feel that way as the clock edged toward midnight and the stage remained as empty as one of Donald Trump's campaign pledges.

I have been to the house that Ruth didn't build (and the one he did) on maybe a thousand occasions spread over more than half a century. I have waited out rain delays, even one or two snow squalls. I have seen tarps placed on fields dry as a bone while I endured and then endured some more. But never have I stuck around like this, so far past my self determined witching hour. Not before the performers even showed up on their appointed stage.

As time passed, I learned the story of my new friend, seated to my right. Of the passing of his first wife, and of the second, seated next to him, who had been such a blessing. "She's squeezing my leg. She doesn't like when I brag about her." I was treated to a discourse on Starwood points and was amazed at the enormous choice of locations.  I discovered he loved fly fishing and had retired at 55 after 38 years at one job. He seemed very content.

And for those whom I didn't speak with, but caught my attention, I filled in the facts. I watched the family that sat a few rows in front of me. Were those boyfriends or husbands of the two daughters? Did the brother in laws get along? Why did the mom seem so quiet? Was the dad a little too attentive to one of his children? I had answers for all of my questions.

It was nearly 10PM before the first announcement. Until then we were seated in the slightest of mists, the rain visible only by looking into the lights that brightened the night sky.  We were convinced Garth would be coming out any minute. Hadn't he delayed his appearance almost 45 minutes the night before? We were calm, eager and ready. No rhythmic clapping demanding his appearance. No, we could wait a few minutes after waiting so many years for his return.

"There is a storm approaching and all those with seats on the field must seek shelter immediately." That was it. No "sorry for the inconvenience." No "free hot dogs on us." No nothing as to if or when.

But still most in attendance persevered. Sure there was the isolated chant of "FU Garth Brooks" and certainly it seemed like an updated version of how many humans can fit in a phone booth as we sardined into the corridors and concourses and stared out at the precipitation. But basically, if the crowd did not all grin and bear it, it came pretty damn close.

My son and I discussed the sunk cost fallacy as 10 PM turned into 11, the skies still spit out moisture and we contemplated how long it would take to dry the stage and get everyone back into their seats after the storm had passed. "It is all just an adventure, a story for us to tell in the days to come." It was the best I could come up with on short notice. 

Some vendors ran out of food as 40,000 or so hungry bodies crammed together,  having anticipated raiding the fridge at home by now, not standing and staring at a blank canvas.

And when the announcement came that we were allowed back to our seats, it was as if the doors to the store just opened on Black Friday morning. There was a collective yell, almost a shriek really, as though we had beaten Mother Nature herself.

Still it felt but a dim light in the distance. As the worker bees scurried about trying to turn wet into dry, the mist continued to descend from above. Even as one of those on stage used what appeared to be a leaf blower to compel the moisture to leave and the others performed their squeegee tasks, two drops of moisture seemed to appear for every one removed. I believe even Sisyphus might have abandoned this job.

Garth Brooks arrived about two hours past my normal bedtime. I had gone through my personal twelve step process, well maybe not twelve, past the boredom, the annoyance, the fatigue, the hunger, the questioning my sanity, to this place. Even for me, only the most peripheral of Brooks fans,  I could not but be caught up in the exhilaration of the moment.

The sound that emanated from the stands as the concert actually began was immense, self congratulation mixed with pent up anticipation. As the clouds lifted and the first star of the evening came into plain sight, the crowd erupted.

 It was music to my ears.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

perfect piece