Sometimes, I need a reminder that fandom can be simple. I have had three in the last few days. Then, of course, the follow up question is: “Could I go back to simple like this? Is it even possible? Would I want to?”
My brother and sister-in-law were visiting this week. On Wednesday, we went to a zoo and a local museum of sorts. I didn’t think too much about this plan when I got dressed so I put on a Duran Duran t-shirt. Let’s face it. It is the summer. I wear t-shirts pretty much every day. The fact that it was a Duran shirt added nothing of interest to my day or so I thought. Yet, it provided me of a reminder that fandom really can be simple.
One of the first stops we made on Wednesday after the zoo was a coffee shop. I was in desperate need of some caffeine and a break from running around. As we got into the coffee shop, the barista noticed my shirt and said, “I like your shirt.” I didn’t even remember what the heck I was wearing. I glanced down and mumbled a quick thank you, wondering if I should be embarrassed, proud or indifferent. I went with the latter before I turned my attention back to the menu. Before I could order, the guy beyond the counter says, “Duran Duran. They are an old band.” Rather than be insulted, I said, “Well, they are still around, you know? They still make new music and tour. They played like a week ago, in fact.” The guy seemed shocked as he mumbled an “I didn’t know that.” If this interaction happened years ago, I might have been annoyed that he was so ignorant but now, I had a burst of excitement in that I could educate this guy. Will he go out and buy Paper Gods? I don’t know but he might.
Not an hour or so later, I found myself getting information from the front desk clerk at this museum of sorts when I was interrupted by another employee saying, “I love your shirt. I love Duran Duran. You know it took me 22 years to see them live. 22 years. I always wanted to see them live but my mom wouldn’t let me. They haven’t played in Madison since I a kid, you know. So I had to go see them in Milwaukee as part of the Astronaut Tour.” Before I could overthink things, I commented about how great the band is live and how I, too, was at that Milwaukee show. I thought about mentioning how I have seen them live since and I travel to do so but I didn’t. Would this woman really care? Would that diminish her experience? Figuring that it might, I let it go. She doesn’t care what I have done. She ended by saying that she hoped to see them again and I concurred, loving the idea of them playing in Wisconsin while not holding my breath for it at the same time.
Then, yesterday, I was at a meeting for work when I was asked about concerts by my boss. Had I seen Duran Duran this summer he wanted to know. I, of course, have not and responded as such. He then wondered aloud if I had “maxed out” on them. Ah…no. Not exactly. He tried to tell me about someone else he knows who loves the band. Okay. Cool. Part of me wanted to meet the person he referred to while the other part was nervous about that. Would this other fan be cool? Would I have to prove myself to him? Would he to me? Then, I realized that none of that would matter. It isn’t about that.
These three people reminded me that being a fan can be as simple as liking someone or something. Yes, for some people that might mean liking a song or two like I suspect was the deal with the coffee shop guy. For others, they might take it further by attending concerts nearby. Still, some might be known to be “big fans.” Is one better than the other? No. I could say that the “big fan” might take their fandom more seriously. They might spend more time or money on their fandom but they might not.
With each of these interactions, I had the same overall feeling. First, I was happy that others like the band. Then, I had moments of being envious of them. They clearly aren’t part of the fan community. No one in the community knows them. They are anonymous. They are free to love the band as much or as little as possible. Sometimes, I wish for that as it might feel freeing. Could I do that, though? Would I really want to give up the blog? Could I retreat back to that anonymous situation? What else would I have to give up? To be continued…