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Then & Now

Aging is a subtle process. One day you are too big to fit into your Sit and Spin.Then, you go from riding a bike to driving a car. Before you know it, you find yourself peering through bifocals as you search for the gray hairs that seem to sprout overnight. I realize that I’m maturing, but last week, when Oregano and I went to a concert at the PNC Bank Arts Center, I realized just how old we’ve become. We’ve been attending concerts at this open air venue since we were in high school, but 10 years ago we saw REO Speedwagon and we haven’t been back. The shocking abundance of mullets at that concert must have scared us off. It was John Mayer who enticed us back this time. As we drove home from the concert with our ears still ringing, I realized there are a lot of differences between how we attended concerts then and now.

Then

We would drive down early and tailgate for hours before the concert. We’d sit in the parking lot languidly eating sub sandwiches listening to tapes (that’s right, tapes) of the music we’d soon be hearing live.

Now

We race home from work then fight rush hour traffic to get to the concert. The additional time sitting in the car gives us the perfect opportunity to scarf down protein bars for dinner.

Then

When we parked in the distant overflow lots, we would cram ourselves, our blankets and our lawn chairs onto the shuttle bus that took us the one mile to the front gates.

Now

Thanks to the traffic we were stuck in, we arrive late which means we park even farther away. Instead of squeezing into a shuttle bus full of people and lawn chairs, we choose to walk the mile to our seats because it is good exercise.

Then

My idea of protection was pepper spray.

Now

My idea of protection is bug spray.

Then

We would eagerly walk up to the vendors selling t-shirts. We’d plunk down our money to buy an overpriced shirt as a souvenir from the show.

Now

I walked up to the vendors, looked at their merchandise and thought, “Oooo, they have ear plugs. That might be a good idea.”

Then

Due to our limited income, we bought tickets for the lawn.  We schlepped our blankets and watched the tiny dot on the horizon sing as we danced in the grass. After college, when we started earning salaries, we still sat on the lawn because it was more fun. Sure, we could be rained on, but that’s what ponchos and garbage bags are for.

Now

After watching several arguments break out on the lawn because late comers put tall chairs in front of people sitting on blankets, we decided we were finally old enough to pay for the permanent seats under the roof.

Then

It was all about the free parking no matter where it was.

Now

As we hiked the mile from our car to our seats, we saw signs for VIP parking. This extra $20 gets you into one of the close parking lots. We looked at each other and said, “We’re old enough to pay for that.” We just have to hope one of us remembers that it’s available when we go again in 10 years.

About Paprika Furstenburg

I was born with an overly developed sense of humor and poor coordination. The combination of these two character traits has taught me humility and given me the perspective to find the funny in everyday experiences.

44 responses »

  1. I spend an inordinate amount of time before the event planning my bathroom break.

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  2. Jen can relate. But you forgot the dogs! Then: dogs would run around the park while their clueless owners paid no attention. Now: dogs run around the park while their clueless owners pay no attention.

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  3. A humorous reminder on how our perceptions change over time. Thanks, Paprika.

    Then, I wish I could have afforded to go to a concert. Now, I can … and don’t have the desire to have my ears blasted off. 🙂

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  4. Too funny. I saw REO Speedwagon at the NJ balloon festival recently and they still rocked!

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  5. …and it even gets better!

    I think we were in our late 40s when we stopped riding around NYC for hours just to park for free (I was always “late to the party”), and drove into the most convenient parking garage no matter how much it cost!

    But, on the plus side, it took me until the age of about 50 to stop dreading Sundays, because Monday was coming. At some point, I realized I ruined a lot of Sundays that way. So, instead of having two lousy days of the week, I got it down to one. There was never any hope for Monday, anyway.

    Hope all is well, and the beginning of the school year is going ok.

    We are counting the days until the baby arrives. They did get engaged, however, with a beautiful ring. Oy vey…

    Love, Paula

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  6. Oh yes, I can relate 🙂 But I really honestly can’t remember the last concert I went to.

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  7. I used to have a Sit ‘n Spin just like that! I found your blog listed on somebody else’s blog, and I love it! Look forward to reading more!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for finding your way over to Good Humored and for taking the time to read and comment.

      When I was searching for images of Sit ‘n Spin I saw several different varieties, but the one I had looked just like the one in the picture. I used to love that toy and would spin and spin and spin. I can’t imagine doing that now and not throwing up.

      Reply
  8. Absolutely hilarious….especially because to me you and Oregano will forever be children!!!
    And my children can’t possibly have gray hair and need bifocals!! xoxox

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  9. Then: I could fit into the tee-shirt I bought.

    Now: It is a wall decoration — like a sampler only different.

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  10. Personally, I think you deserve a pat on the back for even venturing to attend a concert. I no longer go to ‘normal’ concerts, because I don’t want to be deaf by the time I reach 50! 🙂

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    • Honestly, I forgot how loud they are. The opening act was so loud that I was completely unable to understand any of the words he was singing. I was seriously considering investing in those ear plugs. Luckily, John Mayer wasn’t as loud and sounded great.

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  11. Sounds like my experiences. The Philadelphia venues are closest to us. Sometimes (most of the time) we look at the schedule and decide it’s not worth the long ride and crowd jostling. Then we tune up some of their music and sit at home with a beer and some munchies. Old age — there are good parts and bad parts.

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    • Normally it would take us 45 minutes to get to the Arts Center, but because it was rush hour it took us 2 hours to get there. Then, when the concert was over, it took us an hour just to get out of the parking lot. Oregano pointed out that we spent about as much time in the car as we did out of it. It’s just not worth that kind of time committment and hassle.

      Hanging out at home with a drink, snacks and our i-pod wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

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  12. hahahahaha! That’s so greatness – it’s amazing how we have changed though the years! I gave up open air venue concerts a long time ago, well, I can still be talked into one sometimes, but it’s getting harder and harder! But, I figure I’ve put in my time and deserve to park closer to the front and have A/C vents blowing on me – and more importantly – not having to put up with those people that are acting all crazy! (you know, just like I did 10 years ago!)

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    • I like the idea of thinking we’ve paid our dues and have earned the better parking, seats and A/C. Thankfully, there weren’t too many crazy people around, but my guess that has a lot to do with who the artist is and what type of crowd they draw.

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  13. Welcome to the club…..my then and now story pertains to golf…(of course, what else !!) Then….I would walk to town to take a bus–clubs and all–to a distant course (because I did not have a license yet) and carry my bag of clubs around the course until it got too dark to play and reverse the process to get home. That was morphed into driving to the course and using a pull-cart to carry my clubs and play at least 18 holes, sometimes more. Now…I won’t play unless it is with a riding cart and 18 holes will do it. Have a good year…..I’ll be thinking of you and the other NP staffers (as I often do) at around 6:15 am when you are rolling out of bed and I’m rolling over for another 40 winks….

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    • I guess we all have the then and now moments. This was just my first obvious one. I’m sure there will be many more to come.

      Thanks for the good wishes for the year. We survived this morning, but we were certainly jealous of you and Janet.

      Reply
  14. Then you needed permission. (Ha! Ha!)
    Now you don’t.

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  15. So true! I wore out my cassettes, 8-track and other. After lugging around my entire tape collection in a small suitcase in the boot of my VW, the equivalent of THAT in my purse is so much preferred.

    Concerts are a distant memory for me ’cause we had many kids back-to-back. I’ll admit John Mayer certainly is a very good reason to brave mullets and bug spray, kids or no. Perhaps one day, we’ll venture back to the blankie-on-the-lawn for good music with the whole family. Cheers, Paprika!

    Reply
    • It’s nice to see you back again, Shannon 🙂

      I forgot about those ridiculous suitcases we used to keep in our cars with the cassettes in them. An i-pod is definitely a vast improvement.

      John Mayer was definitely worth the bug spray. Thankfully, we didn’t spot a single mullet this time. That REO Speedwagon concert was like we had entered a bad hair time warp.

      Reply
  16. Great post. I just thought of another thing – coming home at 12:30 in the morning was not quite as fun, when I had to be at work the next morning.

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  17. And now they have horseless carriages and talking wires and flying machines. What ever happened to walking, writing a letter and just watching the seagulls fly at the seashore ?

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  18. It may have been MORE than 10 years since your last concert, if you were listening to tapes still:) I love the post…it’s so funny how we change with age.

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    • So glad you enjoyed the post. It is funny how we change with age, but what struck me is how subtle those changes seem in daily life. Going to the concert smacked me in the face with all of those changes at once. Time marches on…

      Reply

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