I think I’ve been watching the news non-stop since Friday afternoon. I’m a news-junkie to begin with, but this weekend I haven’t been far from the TV or my phone, as I monitor news from Paris.
I am still wrestling with what happened on Friday and how. I remember half-listening to the TV as I worked on a display for a history festival at my kids’ school on Tuesday. (I am actually using my gemology degree to teach kids!) All of the sudden, the news broke in regarding Paris and I walked to the center of our living room so I could better hear what was going on. Of course, the very first thoughts that went through my mind were:
- Duran Duran just performed in Paris.
- I need to get in touch with Amanda.
- Please let it be that the band has already left Paris.
It seemed with every passing second, my stomach sunk lower and lower. Talk of a bomb at a football game, a hostage situation at a concert, gunfire at restaurants and bars. All in Paris, and nothing from DDHQ to indicate whether the band was still in the city. In between frantic texts with Amanda, I tried telling myself that of course the band was gone, that there’s no way they could be anywhere near all of this. I tweeted Dom and DDHQ – as if they were actually going to answer me. (because seriously, who in the hell cares? I’m just another fan…but I had to at least try.)
Of course, we all know how it ended. Dom did tweet, to which I responded telling him that I’d hug both him and Martha if I could. As relieved as I still am, I can’t get the idea of those people being gunned down in the Bataclan out of my head, no matter how hard I try. The attacks in Paris, Beirut, and the hundreds of places it has occurred over the years are all horrific and have left their mark on me as a human, but the Bataclan sticks out for me because going to a concert is something many if not all of us have done. Just another night out, just another gig. Except of course it wasn’t.
I highly doubt I’m alone in saying that I think a lot about those people in that theater. It’s not as though I was even there that night. I was thousands of miles away, here in my own home. I’ve never seen the Eagles of Death Metal live. I don’t really know their music that well, but I still identify with those concert goers. I love music. I live for live shows. I don’t care what kind of music it is – classical or rock, jazz or blues – something magical happens when you watch a musician play, and I live for that.
When I sit and think about how I feel when I’m at a show, the word that comes to mind is “free”. I’ve written that I feel most like myself at a Duran show. It’s the one place I can leave reality behind for two hours, and just enjoy myself. I treasure that time. I give up a lot in order to have that time. I’m sure the people in attendance on Friday night in Paris felt similar. I don’t think the choice to attack that theater was pure coincidence or random – the terrorists struck where people were just doing normal things. It’s hard to get that thought out of my head – that this could happen anytime, anywhere. No warning.
I live in earthquake country, and as a result, I’ve been through a few during my life. Everyone who is not from California likes to tell me that they could “never live here” because the quakes are random and come without warning. This is true. I used to be so afraid of them when I was little that I wouldn’t/couldn’t sleep at night, and my dad would patiently sit with me and give the same speech over and over, “We can’t live in fear of them, Rhonda. You have to just go about your day because you can’t fear for things you don’t know are ever going to come – you’ll waste your whole life worrying.” He was right, of course. I’m still a worrier, and things still do not roll off my back, but he was right and I still hear his voice in my head telling me that I’m going to worry my life away.
During the last few days, I’ve seen the reports of U2 having to cancel their show in Paris, and the Foo Fighters canceling their tour. I saw Madonna stop her entire concert one night to say a few words about the attacks in Paris and specifically about the Bataclan. It would be a mistake to assume that just because we may not be fans of Eagles of Death Metal or since we were not personally there that night that this attack didn’t affect each and every one of us. Of course it did. We’re music fans. We are people. John Taylor himself once said that concerts are like group therapy sessions (I am paraphrasing from a sound byte many years ago). Music heals, and yet on Friday night – that is exactly the opposite of what happened to those people in that venue. But we cannot let evil win. We cannot live in fear.
I’m still struggling. There’s a part of me that very much wishes I were going to the Duran Duran shows in the UK just so I could see the band in person, for myself, and feel good that they’re OK. Then there’s another part of me that wants to keep my children here at home with me and never leave the house again. Fear can be pretty powerful. Last night my husband and I made last-minute plans to go to Vegas next week for a few nights. It’s a long, crazy story (aren’t they all?), but we’re going. I’ve been wanting to see the Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil show for years now – but every time we’ve gone, I’ve either been denied due to timing or circumstance. So last night, I bought tickets. Just before I hit the “buy now” button, I paused. Did I want to risk being in a big crowd right now, and for that matter – is it safe going to Vegas at all? I heard my dad’s booming voice in my head telling me to knock it off, stop worrying, and go.
We can’t let them win.