So this marks an amazing achievement for me in terms of the Days of New experiment, because today is Day 30! Unbelievable. My original goal when I first thought up this experiment was 30 Days of New. But I really doubted I could stay focused or have enough time to last 30 days, or even 1 week. So to sit here and write that I successfully completed 30 days of New is pretty exciting for me.
Today was a Sunday, and for this adventure I decided to go check out the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. It may sound ridiculous to some people, but I absolutely love live music, and I have been considering this for a while now. I figure Days of New is the perfect time to start doing the things I’ve never made time for. I was pretty excited too, because apparently there was a carnival in town, right across the street from the Symphony, so I could go to the carnival afterwards too.
It was supposed to be clear all day, and I checked the weather several times that morning to confirm it. But as I started the 40 minute drive to the theater, there were very black clouds looming to my East. I double checked the forecast to see there was still no rain anticipated, and I wondered if the weather reporters ever even bothered to look up at the sky.
The concert was completely sold out, and due to the carnival, we had been informed that there would be limited parking. Rather than deal with the last minute stress of driving around like a flustered idiot looking for parking, I decided to get their early for once. Parking was easy, but as I began to walk around outside the cold wind and dark clouds made me really doubt the weather forecast.
The first step was to go to the theater and pick up my ticket from Will call. I walked into the building and immediately realized just how out of place I was as a lone 31 year old going to a symphony concert on a random Saturday afternoon. Every single person in the building was over 60 years old. They were all dressed very nice, mostly in suits and ties. Meanwhile, I was in jeans and a tshirt. To be fair, before arriving, I considered that I may need to dress nicely for this event. But I decided that I just didn’t care, and especially if I was going to go see the carnival afterwards, I would rather just be comfortable. I got my ticket quick and got out of the area immediately. I felt so uncomfortable in that crowd, and had the brief fleeting thought of just going home. But that was ridiculous.
Since I had time to kill, I made my way over towards the Carnival. I could hear the mechanical rush of rides and the screams of attendees as they spun in the air. I could hear the music and noise coming from within. I made my way over but it seemed like I needed to buy tickets to even enter. I looked at a sign for rules and some of the rules were things like “No gang colors” and “No baby mama drama“. Really, no baby mama drama?? Who decides to put that on a list of entry requirements for a carnival, and how do they even enforce that? I decided not to enter for now, and would come back after the concert. As I was standing to the side looking up the weather for the 8th million time (Hey, now they were finally predicting a slight possibilty of rain and tstorms during the concert!) a guy came up to me and started speaking Spanish, slurring his speech and asking me why none of the tattoo places were open. He had a bottle with brown paper bag and I could smell the booze. I feigned politeness for a little while and then got away from him and went and sat down on a bench. Shortly later, an old crackhead looking guy came and sat at a bench next to me. I didn’t even really notice him much until he started mumbling things to me incoherently, in a gradually escalating voice. I didn’t know what he was saying, but he looked crazy. Stunned by this suburban ghetto-thug experience, I decided it was time to make my way towards the concert.
And suddenly I went from being out of place amongst public daytime drunks, gangbangers (maybe?), and suburban crackheads, to being out of place among well off people in their sixties and up, who were all dressed in suits or very nice formal clothing. It was a juxtaposition of two extremes, and I was wondering why exactly I kept trying to step out of my comfort zone instead of being home relaxing on a Sunday afternoon. I decided to just make my way to my seat, and so I grabbed my ticket and went for the entrance to the auditorium. The usher tore my ticket, looked me over and then laughed. “Oh you must be a student huh?” she said with a smile. I just grinned, said “Yeah,” and made my way past her towards my seat.
So I had been one of the last tickets sold for this now sold-out event. The consequence of such last minute impulsive decision making was that my seat was in Row A at the front row of the auditorium. It was a bit too close, and I worried that the sound would deafen me, which fortunately ended up not being the case. But I took my seat, relaxed, and got excited to just enjoy some live music. The auditorium slowly filled up, and I was carefully watching the weather. There were now Thunderstorms predicted during the show. As we waited, one player on stage even waved to me a couple times, probably laughing at how out of place I looked: young, casually dressed, and in the front row. By this point it no longer mattered though and I waved back.
Finally the symphony started. I was excited. The music sounded so pure, I closed my eyes and let them take me away with Beethoven’s 9th. Suddenly all the weird feelings of being out of place were worth it as I was immersed in a wonderful world of sound, and I remembered the joys of stepping out of my comfort. It seemed to last forever and simultaneously was over in a minute. Really it was about two hours, and I really enjoyed my experience.
When everyone was getting up, I looked at the weather again to see that there was now 100% thunderstorms imminent, and they would last several hours. I stepped outside to see that the carnival down the street was still going, but there was a light rain falling and a strong wind blowing. The clouds were very dark and lightning could start any moment. I really wanted to ride the zipper, and I was now disappointed with myself for not taking advantage of the opportunity earlier before the concert. I briefly considered going anyway, the rides were still running. But I decided getting struck by lightning on a sketchy carnival ride in a thunderstorm was not how I wanted this experience to end. I instead accepted carnival defeat, and quickly made my way back to the car. The rain began pouring shortly after I started driving back home and I knew that I had made the right choice to leave. Instead I got home in time for the biggest part of the storms to hit, and got to spend the rest of the evening watching lightning and thunder streak across the sky.