I was about to step into the shower recently when I caught a glimpse of my bare back in the mirror. Sigh. There it still was: my tramp stamp.
Seeing it, conveniently placed beyond my easy gaze, is like running into that neighbor you accidentally had a one-night stand with. I thought to myself, "Self? How long have you had this regrettable tattoo, anyway?" It took more than both my hands to count the years. Gasp! I realized, down to the month, I was celebrating my 15th Tramp-Stampiversary. Happy Tramp-Stampiversary to me!
Not long ago an old friend engaged me in a game of reminiscing over the long-distance telephone. She said, "OK. Let's do 2002. What were your 'things' that year? What band were you obsessed with? Who were you dating? What was your favorite taco truck?" That day in the bathroom, having just calculated the age of my teenage tattoo, I began to play that game. What were my "things" in 1997?
I wore Pantera and Metallica T-shirts and had yet to discover taco trucks. I was obsessed with Jared Leto, like only a teenage girl can be, and (nerd alert) wrote multiple letters to ABC after My So-Called Life was cancelled, begging them to add just one more season. I was only 17. I loved going to live shows.
As the years passed and my tramp stamp lightly faded, the Pantera shirts got pushed to the back of the closet, but I still loved live music. I started writing concert reviews for an independent weekly, and, in a single week, could spend Monday night trying to figure out new adjectives to describe reggae (impossible), Thursday night in a mosh pit, and Saturday night with Wayne "the Train" Hancock. I collected ticket stubs like Honey Boo Boo's momma collects coupons, and happily stood for hours, pressed against a vibrating speaker, trying to get closer to my bands.
But about two years ago, something changed. I no longer felt the need to see every band I remotely liked, and when I did go to shows, I just really wanted to sit down. Is it just me or do the Avett Brothers sound best on a scratched CD from the inside of a '94 Geo Prism? In general, standing is overrated. Take me to see Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and I'll happily stand and shake it. But at an indie show? Where we all stand motionless, arms crossed, somber-faced? I say: Give grandma (i.e., me) her chair!
Sometimes I feel ashamed of my newfound ornery ways, and shake my fists at the sky screaming, "I'm only 32 and three-quarters! Why is this happening to me?" But then I wrench my neck to look back at the moon and star forever imprinted on the small of my back, and remember that the girl in the mosh pit is no longer me. But there are benefits to being a slightly ornery 32 (and three-quarters)-year-old who likes to sit down. To start, current me would never get a regrettable tattoo! Current me finally has enough courage to ask for a raise and get one. Which means current me can actually afford seats at a show. Best of all, unlike 17-year-old me, current me has a favorite taco truck. Jared Leto? If you're reading this, you can find me at La Fondita #2 in White Center. Tacos are on me.
Rachel Belle is a contributor to the Ron & Don Show on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM.