If someone had been taking bets I would have wagered at least $20 I didn’t have on the probability that my dad was going to punch someone.
Not because he’s super agro or anything, he just really dislikes people who are very obviously on drugs and, unbeknownst to me, those people were all at The Beach Boys concert on Wednesday night.
Granted, it was my fault we were stuck in the beer garden to begin with — I had gotten the time and the stage wrong, forcing us to first peer through the mesh holes of the fabric-covered “WE’RE SOLD OUT” fences before finding plan B (B stands for Big screen TV).
I’ve never really considered The Beach Boys to be drinking music before, although with songs like “Good Vibrations” it kind of makes sense, but I was apparently the only one in the entire city who hadn’t stumbled across this obvious conclusion yet. We found a cramped spot to stand in view of the TV and found our individual I’m going to be standing like this for a while stances.
The sweaty man in front of us was doing some modified version of the twist — modified mandatorily because of the 7 feet of gangly limbs he jutted out like some drowning daddy long legs every time the drummer hit his snare. He was heavily balded on top with the perfect that could be a wig hair line around his crown. He wore pervy cop sunglasses and a block-colored collared golf shirt. He had very heavy eyes for a girl in a hand-cut Jack Daniels tank top and at one point I saw him try to kiss a police officer.
It was at this moment I felt my father’s eyes resting on him with the look that accompanies laser beams, usually. My dad has this very famous energy that permeates everything within a one mile radius when his mood shifts. If he’s preaching, it’s a good thing. If he’s angry about being forced to play Bibleopoly after Christmas dinner, it’s not.
“You doing OK?” I asked him.
“Yeah,” he said, “but not as good as that guy!”
Then Surfin’ Safari came on and we forgot about the high guy for a bit while we bobbed.
Some time later there came a high pitched gaggle of hoots from behind us as a group of 70 year old women decided to take over the dance floor. Clad in awkwardly placed metal belts and blue hair they danced like Brian Wilson had risen from the grave. My dad rolled his eyes.
Then Little Deuce Coupe came on and we forgot about the nine ladies dancing for a bit while we bobbed.
Eventually our ears and feet had had it and we made our way out of the beer tent and into the crowds of the summer carnival. Candied sugar flew up our nose as we battled strollers and fire-jugglers toward the exit.
“Wait,” my dad said, “I need to buy your mother kettle corn.”
We paid for the popped corn in change like a couple of kids because we’d spent all our money on Coors Light.
We walked down the street toward the car park in air that was finally, every so slightly, starting to feel like fall and we hummed along to the closing song, Help Me Rhonda, that we could hear several blocks away.
“You know,” he said, “they’re only about ten years older than me.”
He was, of course, referring to the remaining members of the band who were original. Those who, throughout the performance, looked like they might drop dead at any moment or, at least, pitch an ad to Tommy Bahamas.
It was then that I realized what my dad saw when the creepy old man was flailing around the dance floor on forty year old drugs. What he saw when the wild women behind us started letting their wolves out. The Beach Boys debuted their first album in 1962 — the year my father turned ten — marking him, undeniably, as someone who is getting older.
I imagine that I will still feel for Nick Carter in thirty years what I felt for him 15 years ago when Backstreet’s Back came out. I imagine, I will be one of those wild women.
What one never imagines — until it happens, of course — is that they will ever be the ones who are older.
Age means wisdom. It means insight. It means answers. It means experience unlike any other. It means strength. It means success. It means pain. It means healing. It means all of the things we ache for our entire lives but never feel like we actually reach.
Until, perhaps, we’re all-of-a-sudden there. Staring at our age upon a platform, unable to do all the things we once could, but still giving it a good freaking go.
“I’m getting old,” my husband said to me this morning as he rubbed his back.
We all are, I thought.
We just haven’t witnessed it yet.