Life comes with a series of passages. Some we recognize because they are grand and glorious — like high school graduation. Others are more subtle, almost hidden. These are the necessary losses and gains we traverse as we struggle through each decade. Today’s micro memoir is about one such subtle passage.
In the 1980’s I loved Billy Idol — so much so, that we went to see him at Music Hall in downtown Cleveland in the winter of 1984. It was a bitter cold night, and I wore my blue fox jacket with my jeans because that’s how I rolled. Jim came straight from work and was dressed in gray flannel slacks and a camel jacket. When we got to Music Hall, security was checking everyone; I guess because this concert was considered on the “punk” side, they were worried about objects being thrown. We waited in line as they checked bags and coat pockets. When they saw us, the security guard said, “Come on in.” No check. We just walked right on in based on our appearance.
All I recall about the concert is that I loved the sound and the energy. Billy is a true showman. But at the same time it left a lasting impression in more ways than one. We were seated in the center lower balcony, and Billy kept being backlighted — brightly. Those glaring lights pierced my eyes repeatedly, leaving a sandy feeling for a few days afterward.
I also knew that something else had changed. From now on I could be viewed as a “responsible” adult — one that wouldn’t cause a problem at a rock concert. I was too respectable to be a punk or a rebel. If that isn’t a right of passage, I don’t know what is.