I don’t want to be sad. I hate tears and that kind of thing, particularly in front of other people. (I’m a really good shower crier) The last thing I want to do is start to cry at a show. In front of the band. I’d say no thanks, but I already did at the last show (Irvine). Damn that “New Moon on Monday!” I discreetly wiped the few that escaped and tried to sing and clap along as I willed myself to stop thinking about how that song encapsulates everything I know and remember from my youth, or how that was the second to last time I’d hear the song this tour. Now tonight, I’ll hear it one last time (for me) on this tour. I look forward to hearing it because I love the song, but I also dread the wistfulness that will be attached.
I knew the eight shows would go by fast. The first four certainly flew by, but then I anticipated the next four and that got me through a very busy week in between. But now, well, it is different. Mind you, I do have things to be excited about. Early Saturday morning, I’m leaving for a two-week vacation with my family. Before you all get jealous—we’re camping. In a trailer, thank you. We are going to Arches National Park in Utah (where we will bake in the sun), then up to Yellowstone for seven days, and then the Grand Tetons and back home. In case anyone is curious: yes, touring and camping are complete opposite ends of the spectrum. It is going to be detox in a major way as we are fairly sure I won’t even have cell or data service for at least portions of the trip. I get a nervous tic whenever I start thinking about not being able to check in with the world. Life will be returning to normal in a big way once I drop Amanda off at the airport tomorrow.
I have more fun on this tour than ever. Sure, our seats have been great most of the way, and the band has entertained us wildly. Amanda and I have laughed until we’ve cried. We’ve successfully ducked from Simon’s White Lines spitting trick five times so far (the other two times we were so far back or to the side it didn’t matter). I’ve been hit directly on the head by a beach ball about four times, and twice Dom has kicked a beach ball right in my direction. My reflexes still work well enough to duck in time. We spent time with our Canadian bestie, Heather. We drove over a border and weren’t arrested. Twice! I witnessed Amanda’s horror at walking through the livestock section at a county fair (priceless!!). We tried (and failed) at winning enough money in Vegas to pay for our bar bills (which have been atrocious this tour and I’m not even going to joke about that). I think we tried to pack as much fun, laughter, serious discussion and even a bit of work (yes, we’re working on a proposal for a brand new book…and yes, it’s on Duran Duran!) as possible during our time together. But, it’s never enough.
Oddly, I distinctly remember questioning whether or not I should even embark on this tour. Something happened to me after finishing that manuscript in June. I really wondered if maybe I had completely reconciled my feelings to the point where I was done being a fan. Did I still love the band? Did I still love being a fan? Was I ready just to walk away completely? I felt very much as I did after I’d had my first baby (who is now 19), that maybe it was just time to let it go. I told my husband and everyone I knew that this was my last trip for Duran Duran. I couldn’t afford it any longer (true), and that you can only go and see the same show so many times. I convinced myself that this was my swan song, and that I had to do everything I possibly could this tour to get it all, and I mean ALL, out of my system.
I didn’t know what that meant for Daily Duranie, and I never really discussed that with Amanda. I figured that I would probably still blog, and that if they came to California again at some point, that sure, I’d go see them. But, the traveling and touring days were over. I knew I’d keep writing books, and I just told myself that I didn’t have to actually go on road trips or tour in order to be an author. The week before I left for Chicago, my mom’s partner had a massive heart attack and died, and at that point I was even more convinced that this tour would be my very last. My mom isn’t young, and she will need my help going forward doing the things that Dennis used to do for her. I started feeling even more guilty about the money I’d spent, and by the time I left, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to have fun even though I desperately needed some. I had some hard conversations more than once with Amanda along the way, and while I knew she understood that my life had taken a turn, I also knew she wasn’t happy about it. By the time the first set of four shows ended and I was dropped off at Midway, I was beginning to waver.
On one hand, I did (and do) recognize the expense of doing what we do. I’d like to take more vacations that do not consist of me cooking and cleaning all the time, but with traveling like this, it doesn’t leave much in the budget. I also know that my mom and kids still need me and yet I’m running around the country like I’m still in my twenties, so I’m told. (and it’s fun!) I know my husband isn’t a big fan of me going to all of these shows because he doesn’t like me being gone. That’s another problem that I’ve grown very tired of dealing with. I feel torn. I’ve spent twenty years putting the needs of others before my own. It isn’t as though I tour every month or even every year. I don’t even see Amanda every six months consistently. But the guilt and the annoyance factors are strong. Sometimes it’s just easier to give in and make everyone else happy and just convince myself that it’s for the best. I think a lot of moms do that and it becomes a basic skill of survival.
So now, here I sit the morning before my last show. The show I’ve told myself would be my final one. We stayed in fancy hotels, we hung out in bars. We tried to do meet-ups that would bring the community together. We laughed WITH the band onstage. I tried to show my support without seeming like a crazy, desperate fan. Do I feel like I’ve done everything I set out to do?
If I’m really being honest, the answer is no. There are two levels to that answer. First of all, as a fan, the one thing this tour has taught me is that the set list really doesn’t matter as much as I thought it did. I still have a fantastic time no matter what they play. They put on an amazing show with SO much energy, and they honestly and truly loo like they have fun doing it every single night. In turn, I have a blast every single night. I don’t want to stop doing that. Ever.
Secondly, Amanda and I want to keep writing. We can’t control whether or not we ever meet the band beyond a quick “hi” at a signing. We aren’t in their “inner circle” and probably never will be. We write what WE see, witness and/or believe here, whether or not the band and management agree. That might not always earn us friends, but we can look ourselves in the mirror. That matters more to us in the end. Showing up at places we think the band might arrive will get us nowhere. Asking people we thought we could count on for help has also done very little. (Let me be clear: both scenarios continue to get us nowhere.) We are irrelevant in that sense, so for the two of us—it is about our writing and bringing this big, dysfunctional family we call a fan community together. We are determined and can do this—on our own steam no less, because we’re just crazy enough to believe it can be done. I am proud of that work and want to keep doing it. Some may not call what we do “work”, and you know what? I don’t fucking care what anyone else thinks, to be incredibly blunt. I want to keep doing meet-ups, planning conventions, and writing. Not all of that requires that I attend countless shows, but some of it really kind of does.
So where does that leave me? Well, aside from broke right now, I’m not sure. I’m pretty stubborn when I want to be. As result, there’s a part of me that is desperate to sell these manuscripts to publishers so that way I can look a lot of people in the eye and say “I told you so, and I can do this whether or not you claim to know me, or respect our work, dammit.” I’m annoyed by my own life circumstance just enough to throw caution to the wind and get it done. I just hope to stay determined in the coming months as life gets challenging with college applications (it’s my son’s turn now!), homeschooling, and schedules.
Stubbornness aside, I wouldn’t be surprised if tears are shed tonight during “New Moon on Monday. I’m glad I’ll have Amanda there, because she’s really the only one I know who understands me. Once I had a friend who did something like thirteen shows on a Duran tour. She traveled with friends for like three weeks and I know she had the time of her life. She cried when she got home, and I could never figure out why.
I get it now.
Last time La Luna.