The plan was simple. Get a picture with Mikel. And have good hair while doing it. If you wonder how a person could make such a shallow goal for a New Year’s Resolution, you can read about it here. Many discussions held prior to the road trip detailed how to keep hair in a good state for the several hours it took to get to the end of a show. Precautions and hair products were put in place. What could go wrong?
Rain. Freakin’ rain. You think I would’ve guessed since I do live in the Pacific Northwest. The morning of the show, I did a little experiment on well how my hair could stand up against light drizzle in the air. For any of you out there with natural curl to your hair, you get me, right? Even the hint of a rain cloud can cause stray hairs to pop up in every direction in the battle between straight and curly. I brought product to smooth out the strays and keep a slight barrier to the drizzle. I was not prepared for pouring sheets. I knew it was bad when BFF grimaced and begged me to buy an umbrella. When we returned to the hotel to get ready, I saw what heavy rain would do to my expected picture later that night. Oh the horror.
After another shower, more blow drying, and quality time with the flat iron, we left for dinner. In downtown Portland, you walk. In our four block adventure to dinner the rain stopped but the wind picked up. Determined not to seal my hair fate on the half mile walk to the venue, I paid for a cab. Things looked good when we pulled up a half hour before the show. We stopped in for our ceremonial Jagerbomb and then headed to the back of the line. Everything supported my quest until the line moved and we lost the awning coverage. At the same exact moment, the rain picked up into drops the size of water balloons. Remembering the disaster from the afternoon, BFF offered her jacket. I declined. She insisted. I scoffed at the vanity even though secretly inside I panicked about yet another bad hair picture. She begged. (She loves me.) I finally relented. And I looked like this to the hundred or so people in line.
Once in the venue, the roof provided safety from Mother Nature, that sneaky hair ruining bitch. We took our places at the back of the beer garden. When the show started, the front pit section edging the stage bounced in rhythm. It killed me not to be flailing my arms, jumping around, and loosely calling it “dancing”. No one in the beer garden even swayed. Unless you count the guy grinding on his girlfriend in an attempt to give her a colonoscopy through her jeans. Anytime I started to get lost in a song, my face flushed, and I remembered bang-ruining sweat was on the way. Instead, I calmly sang along to all the songs. When it was done, the hair status was this:
After the show, I lurked around. Waited casually. Nothing. I walked to the bar around the corner where I ran into them before. Nothing. More waiting around the front. Not a soul. BFF and I went to the bar and had a cocktail. Worst. Lemondrop. Ever. Defeated, we decided to walk back to the hotel. We went by the venue on our way and BAM! There’s Mikel talking to a couple friends. To avoid the same disaster as the last time I interrupted, I waited to the side.
It took all of five seconds for Mikel to hug his friend, say good-bye, run across the street, dart into a cab and drive away. (That sentence took longer to read than the time I had to grab him. Not literally, of course.) Too bad there isn’t a picture at this point where my jaw actually hit the ground. I missed it. My good hair opportunity disappeared into the cold Portland night. I should tell you there was a split second I thought about jumping in the cab. Thank God I didn’t have fast reflexes.
Instead, I moped back to the hotel in the middle of the night. I cursed myself for missing the front line action for a photo that didn’t happen. I replayed how I lost out on the one opportunity I did have. Anger coursed through my veins. Actual anger. How crazy. Silly. Downright stupid at being so upset about a picture. But I realized it wasn’t the picture that made me so mad, it was what I sacrificed for it. I gave up the actual “living” part to capture the “memory.” The destination became more important than the voyage. An important reminder for a writer worried about getting an agent when she should enjoy every day she has a chance to write.
Luckily, I had another chance to replay the night. The next night was Seattle. I vowed I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.