So my friend, Greg, called me the Sunday night to let me know he was at a Toad the Wet Sprocket concert. Then he asked if I wanted him to request something. “Request something?” I asked, “How would you be able to do that?” “Because there are maybe 300 people in this small venue.”
Why am *I* not at the cool Toad the Wet Sprocket concert, I wondered. Then I told Greg how I felt about him and his stupid I’m-as-old-as-you-and-still-single-and-having-fun attitude and stupid Toad concerts that I wouldn’t care to go to now even if he asked me…
You know what he did then??? He held up his cell phone so I could listen to their first song just to make my heart fall even farther down into my stomach. They were playing Something’s Always Wrong. I could hear it clearly. Jerk.
You know what? I’ve never seen Toad live. I missed them once when they came through Arkansas and then I didn’t go to Memphis with my friends and then they never came back to Arkansas again. This tour, their first in years, only brings them as close as St. Louis. I’m considering going. It’s been 6 years since I went out of state to watch a band, and that was Midnight Oil in Kansas City. I used to do it all the time. I’ve driven over 1000 miles way back when gas was cheap and I wasn’t nearly as responsible to watch a single show.
Back then it was simply a road trip. Today that would take some serious planning. I didn’t walk into this future blindly. I knew full well that allowing myself to get older would egregiously cramp my style. I feel I have handled this future I have crept into with class and dignity and have come to embrace it.
…but occasionally I pull a Lot’s Wife.
Greg gets to do this sort of thing because he’s made sacrifices himself. He joined up with the navy almost 10 years ago. He’s lived all over the world. How that happened is still debated amongst his friends, but here’s how it happened… :o) Greg had held a full-time position at a restaurant for several years. He had been there long enough that he was probably about to get offered the manager’s position (if he hadn’t already and just hadn’t told me). He knew he was at a place where he could stay with the food services thing for the rest of his life and make good money. At the time he lived in an apartment with his brother, John. One afternoon he came in and said, “I want out of the restaurant business but I don’t know what else I would do.” There was an Accelerate Your Life commercial on the TV at that moment and John said, “Why don’t you join the Navy?” I can’t remember if Greg said anything after that or not, but he walked out the door. When he returned about an hour later John asked, “Where did you go?” And Greg said, “I joined the Navy.” No one even turned to look at him. We just kept playing games and watching TV. Then someone noticed all the pamphlets and such in his hands and you can figure out the rest. It was quite a shock to us all. He would ship out in two weeks.
I’ve missed having Greg around through the years. He gets to come home and visit once or twice a year, and we always find a concert to hit, but talking on the phone isn’t the same as talking right to him. They’ve got him stationed on the east coast right now. And if plans don’t change he’ll be out next year. My wife always understands when Greg comes in that I need to spend what time I can with him, so she doesn’t raise a fuss when he and I go to a concert and I don’t come home until 2am.
So I know it’s hard to keep up with me on this post, but that’s the nature of blogging. I don’t have to be logical at all. Heh.
So what’s with the title of this post? There’s a poem that many of you have heard at somebody’s graduation about two roads diverging in the woods. In the end Frost says he favored one of the roads and there’s a special symbolism there. Here’s my take: It doesn’t matter which road you follow as long as it gets you out of the woods. You’ve got to get out of the woods.
Of course, it might matter which side of the woods you come out on.
Hurry home, Greg.