What I Learned Last Friday Night

Last Friday night Jim and I, along with Dawn and Scott (our oldest friends, who reside in central Illinois), road-tripped to the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park to see Mötley Crüe perform on the Chicago stop of their final tour (or so they say). This post is not about the concert.

This post is about what I learned that night.

1. I learned that it is really kind of stupid to drive from our home in the western suburbs down to Tinley Park on a Friday night. Traffic was ridiculous. That includes the traffic on the highway, the concert traffic we were in the first time when we got off on southbound Harlem instead of northbound Harlem to do a U-turn (we were meeting our friends at a Cracker Barrel on the north side of the highway so we could drive one car to the concert), the traffic after we turned around to get to the Cracker Barrel, and the concert traffic on the way BACK towards the ampitheatre. I calculated that we spent around five and a half hours in the car before and after the concert and will likely not attend another Friday night concert at that venue.

2. I learned that people in the olden days really did put crackers in barrels. When Jim and I were waiting for Dawn and Scott, Jim wondered out loud where the name of the restaurant originated and I told him that surely Mr. Oleson didn’t put crackers in barrels because of their fragile nature and tendency to turn into crumbs under most circumstances. Then I came home to look it up and found out that apparently late-19th century crackers were made of stronger stuff than 21st century crackers because they apparently did fine in a barrel.

3. I learned that after almost twenty-eight years of marriage in both cases (Dawn and Scott were married eight days before we were), the guys really do know that smiling and shaking their heads as if to say, “She’s just adorable!” is the very best response in situations such as when one of us girls opens the car window to scream, “WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” at the white Hummer limo full of much younger men, one of whom is hanging out the window and more than willing to scream “WOOOOOOOOOO!” back.

4. I learned that there are far fewer women at a Mötley Crüe (with Alice Cooper opening) concert, and therefore our security lines go much, much faster.

Melisa and Dawn

5. I learned that when you purchase lawn seats from Groupon, you should really expect that you will be surrounded by a terrifyingly high amount of people who had the same brilliant idea. See also: they don’t allow beach chairs in on nights like that and it’s either stand for the duration or sit on the grass, behind everyone else who is standing.

6. I learned that when you buy drinks at a concert, it’s not necessarily smart to buy more than what you need at that very moment in order to save yourself another wait in the endless lines because the vendors have to open cans and throw away bottle caps at point of purchase, leaving you stuck juggling open containers, trying to keep from dropping them.

7. I learned that volunteering to go fight the crowds on the way to get drinks before the main act begins so your claustrophobic husband can stay in place on the lawn is not the best idea because by the time you have obtained the drinks, the crowds on the way back are ten times worse, not moving, and rude. You also may end up being completely freaked out and decide, when people start pushing even though there’s nowhere to go, that going back down the hill to where the vendors are and settling in either until the crowds dissipate OR for the duration of the concert is the prudent thing to do.

8. I learned that by the time you get through the crowds on your second attempt back up to the lawn, the location where you and your friend thought you left your husbands isn’t necessarily where you are looking, and even though it seems like a genius idea to turn your phone flashlight on so they can see you looking for them, it’s just…not.

Dawn and the flashlight

9. I learned that Mötley Crüe is still kicking ass after all these years.

10. I learned that sometimes, less-than-desirable conditions can make for the best, most fun forever memories with old friends.