Write About Living

I recently had a surreal experience. A friend of mine was taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning (she’s totally fine!) and I went with a couple friends to keep her company and then take her home.

While we were there, an unconscious man was wheeled into the room directly next to where we were waiting. (We were in a hallway because my friend wasn’t a serious case, and under normal circumstances probably would have been in and out of the ER pretty quickly). On the other side of us was a sitting room, and it began filling up with the man’s family. None of them spoke English, but it was easy enough to gather that his wife, baby daughter, and 6 or 7 year old son were there with a handful of other loved ones.

Long story short, the man died. We were there when he died. We were there to hear the way his family reacted to the news. We heard his son asking why this had happened.

We witnessed what will undoubtedly be a defining moment in that little boy’s life. We were bystanders to their grief, unable to offer comfort, trying as hard as we could to blend into the walls.

In a weird way, I felt like I was watching a hospital drama on TV. By proximity I was closely involved in what was happening, and could hear it and feel it, but was still utterly removed. It also felt totally unreal.

So that was five days ago now. I’m still kind of reeling from it.

I ordered Chinese food last night, which isn’t that remarkable, except I usually only do that when I’m STARVING or am celebrating something. But I had a taste for it and suddenly dieting just seems silly. I’ve also had impulses to tell people I love and appreciate them because it seems silly to be afraid of that as well.

I know these feelings will pass – not the love necessarily but the sense of urgency to declare it. I’m still processing what I saw. And when I was thinking of what to write tonight this event was the only thing filling my brain.

So. I’m not sure what message I want to end on here. If you’re reading this – thank you. Sorry I’ve been too busy to write. And I know it sounds corny, but just take a moment this week to not take something for granted, if that makes sense.

And in case this worries any of you, I promise I’m fine. I’m living life normally and not walking around in a traumatized state or anything. I didn’t know that man or his family, and as much as my heart ached for them, I would never try to claim part of their grief. But writing this all down is a relief because it’s impossible to witness any human suffering and not be affected. It’s impossible not to look at your own life from a new perspective after something like that. But I’m happy and well, and have a lot of exciting things to look forward to, for which I’m so, so grateful.

Anyway. Love to you. I will try to make my next post more fun.

Write About Living

Write About a Hero

I went to Lollapalooza yesterday. Lolla is a three-day music festival in Grant Park that thousands of people flock to each summer. The heat and the crowds are not very appealing to me, but I went this year because none other than Sir Paul McCartney was headlining.

Christina and I waited in the sun for hours at the main stage. We saw some really cool bands – one woman called SZA (pronounced like sizz-ah) who was really cute. The Cold War Kids and Alabama Shakes put on great shows. And we were delighted by a British band called Glass Animals we hadn’t heard before.

The only reason we saw these bands though, is that I am a crazy person and insisted on not giving up a spot at the stage where Sir Paul was playing. That meant we went to the bathroom and to get food and drinks in shifts. We also aggressively guarded a towel we would sit on whenever there was a break in the crowds.

Towards the evening, though, there was no chance to sit. There was barely room to move. A bunch of frat stars kept encroaching on our space and one even got in my face when I let him know politely that we were not pleased with the way he kept shoving us. But I was determined. By 7:45 we were hot, sweaty, dirty, and thirsty. But we were close to the stage. And then Paul McCartney came on.

It’s hard to describe what it feels like to see someone like him. I grew up on his music, it’s been a major part of my life. I have tons of fun memories of driving with my brother and belting out Beatles songs (we do the harmonies). And I just finished reading a huge biography called The Beatles a couple months ago, so I felt I had even more insight to this person.

I know I don’t actually know him and never will, but seeing Paul McCartney was like seeing an old friend. Whenever he did the little Beatles head shake or bowed at the waist (which he did after a ton of songs, it was really cute), it was like recognizing a friend’s mannerisms. And when he spoke to the crowd he was just so goddamned charming.

I only cried when he played Here Today. And Something on the ukelele as a tribute George Harrison. And a little during Maybe I’m Amazed.

But here are some of the songs he did:
Magical Mystery Tour (opener)
Let Me Roll It (I mean, come, on, this is a great song!)
And I Love Her
Maybe I’m Amazed
I’ve Just Seen a Face
Something (my favorite love song and possible favorite Beatles song)
Here Today
Can’t Buy Me Love
Ob-la-di Ob-la-da
Hey Jude
Get Back
Back in the USSR
Band on the Run
Lady Madonna
Blackbird
Let It Be
Live and Let Die (complete with pyrotechnics and fireworks)
Helter Skelter (!!!)
and the end of the Abbey Road Medley.

The last words he sang were: “And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

I’m proud that I didn’t sob through the whole thing.

He still sounds great. He still plays with amazing energy. He still clearly loves to get a crowd worked up. He’s a hero.

I will never forget seeing him.

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Write About a Hero