Not going was never an option. There was a long list of options, missing The Hold Steady just wasn't on it. Ever. Not even on the back up, back up, back up, BACK UP list.
The outlook seemed to dampen with every passing moment. Frantic calls and texts banking on favors. Fleeting thoughts of worst-case scenarios or the "come to". It was unquestionably the hottest ticket in town. But there was always a buried feeling of peace in my gut; I just knew I was going to the show. So the anti-climactic (albeit late) resolution that we had tickets was hardly a surprise. It's not what you know, it's who you know.
And... The Hold Steady didn't disappoint. I stood in the middle of the audience for the entire show in awe. I didn't drink too much and I didn't think too much. I didn't even really get annoyed with the jackasses on the front row. I just clicked my pictures and left. I think Craig Finn mesmerized everyone individually that night. Sigh... I could write a glowing review but it's been done. Go here for my vantage point. What he said.
Today, what I am missing most isn't the music or Craig Finn or even lucky breaks. I miss knowing. I miss the feeling of just knowing that not giving up was the right thing to do. The peaceful feeling of "it was meant to be..." Because these days, not even a week after such hefty conviction, I doubt every morsel of my existence. I doubt the flavor of toothpaste I use. And not in a self-motivational (you can do it!) way. This is a sick-to-my-stomach-holy-shit-I'm-screwed way. It's very eerie. It's the feeling of letting go.
Confession and side story: Once I decide I want something, I don't give up. I am not a "let me sleep on it" kind of gal. I fixate. Which is why I am also insane. Which is why I'll stay up all night finishing a job, drive hours on end in circles, believe everything people say, and obsess about wrongs I've made. Way back in the day, I stumbled across a somewhat popular band and thought it was destiny that I know this band. D e s t i n y. This goes way beyond a healthy admiration for something. And so it was written.
Once I discovered the band, I did things I never thought I would do. I amazed myself by my resourcefulness. I called the band to let them know they were the new object of my desire (they were from L.A.). I met them (at the Sundance Film Festival for starters). I almost killed them (I trapped two of them in the backseat of my Jetta and almost hit a telephone pole in the name of midnight nachos). I slept with them (in the same hotel room). I followed them (the night was young and so was I). Anyway, the point is... I remember one night I was driving to Park City at an insane hour, by myself, to do something unreasonably unrealistic in connection with said band and I was talking on the phone with my friend, Big G. I remember this part of the conversation:
Big G: "So, wow, you sure you want to go up there alone?"
Me: "Oh yea. I know, I know, it's just not like me!"
Big G: "Carly... it's SO like you."
Seems like the same stupid shit happens. Years before Big G said it, I think my dad said it. I am sure my sister has thought it a million times. And I still continue to indulge in learning stuff the hard way. You'd think one would learn. Back to letting go. I think it's why I've never gone back to an ex, I've never made amends with certain friends, and I wear people out. I am fiercely engaged until I let go. And then I let go. Really let go. Done. Because I know. I might have learned the hard way, but I really know. It's like picking a scab or pulling the plug out of a dam. Damn dam. Sometimes the outcome haunts me for years, sometimes days, sometimes seconds. But knowing is always better than not knowing. Not giving up is better than giving up. Believing is better than not believing.
Don't touch the stove, it's hot. I know.
Don't drink the whiskey. I know.
You can't afford that. I know.
You're not missing out on anything. I know.
Today, I don't know and it's driving me crazy. I don't know if I should stop or go. I am indecisive and retrospective. I know I'll look back and realize I am in Crazytown. I know these fast days and blurry decisions will come to an end. It may not be super awesome but at least I'll know. And I'm not giving up until I do.