Alone in a Crowd
April 23, 2012 § 57 Comments
I went to a very crowded gig the other night in a wonderfully seedy dive. Two of the band members are good friends whom I admire and revere not least because their music is properly brilliant even for someone who doesn’t much care for music and I want to go to all their gigs. I could hear them again and again and I had a lovely time. The place was bunged with old mates and one of my children, of whom I felt very proud, accompanied me.
A total stranger with rather long grey hair, came up to me and spontaneously complimented me on my hair; an unusual occurrence, because my beachy hair is beyond low maintenance because I can’t afford hairdressers so it very much has about it the air of take it or leave it and is sometimes – due to having children of school age – even the all-singing, all-dancing playground for nuclear-resistent nits. He did it in a nice way, and it worked. I smiled and thanked him and felt fleetingly good that something about me had prompted something, however base, in another human being to comment favourably. Later I was told this man, delightful though he is (one of the band, I realised), has a history of living in a substance-induced parallel universe and he makes passes at every woman who has a pulse. Oh, how comforting that I qualify! Ha!
Part of me, despite him and despite the nice time, felt like shit. Like the sad reject, unmarried and alone in the crowd, if surrounded by friends. Everyone was married, and the only reason a handful weren’t was because they were still not legally allowed into films with an 18 certificate. I looked at my married friends, having a normal weekday night out, glass of beer in hand, smiling and chatting to each other and laughing and getting a little bit smashed but not very because it was a school night, and my prevailing thought was how lucky they are but they don’t realise it, and I always realised it, but why should they? What they have is normal and ordinary, and only to me is it wonderful and extraordinary, and listening to the music, gin in hand, I fixed the brave face in place but honestly just wanted to cry.