Months ago M declared that he wanted to go to a concert for his birthday. Not just any concert, Martin Sexton’s concert, in Santa Cruz. He’s been a tad obsessed with Martin Sexton for a while now and once he purchased the tickets, he counted down the days until the event. Yesterday was the big day.
By a fortuitous turn of fate M’s last appointment of the day was close to home, shaving forty minutes off his commute home. C was set to spend the night at her grandparent’s house and we organized for them to pick her up from daycare. Little L’s sitter was due to arrive at our house at 5:30 leaving us plenty of time to make the 30 minute trek over the mountain to The Attic for the 7pm start of the concert.
The day dawned gray and dreary. By noon it was pouring. By late afternoon the traffic was horrendous and the roads were flooding right and left. M’s anxiety level ratcheted up minute by minute. He hates nothing more than missing the beginning of a show, be it ball game, lecture or concert. At 5:30 when the sitter called to say that she was stuck in traffic he started to pace. At 5:45 when she still hadn’t arrived he was no longer speaking. And at 6 when she walked in he could barely say hi and went outside to start the car while I gave her sparse instructions; she eats, all the time, she likes to be held, all the time, and, ah, good luck!
I jumped into the car and we roared off. For ten minutes we made great time, then we slowed to a crawl. Even so I rationalized, we could still get there in time. I did my best to calm M down, alternating chatting and being quiet. Nothing worked. Then the traffic cleared and he cracked a smile, ventured a joke. The tension in the car abated. I thought we were in the clear and I started to relax. And that’s when we ground to a halt. Literally.
Cop cars and ambulances worked their way up the road, loudspeakers asking us to clear our vehicles to the sides. we pulled over and idled. And then ten minutes later, still in the same spot, we turned off the car and waited. As the clock ticked on M got more and more quiet. 7pm came and went and he climbed out of the car to see what was going on. I passed the time by joking with the friends who were coming with us to the concert. We tried to figure out how far back their car was from ours. (25 Mississippis between cars passing us and reaching them.) M climbed back into the car defeated. Downed power line. No idea how long it would take to fix. 7:30. 7:45. Dozens of dark cars, sitting, waiting. Then, a PG&E truck, and finally we were allowed through. 8pm and we were off.
I called the venue to ask if it was still worth our while to come. I had visions of turning around and having to pay the sitter for the privilege of having sat in the car for two hours. But fate was on our side.
“Oh, yeah. We haven’t started yet. In fact, we probably won’t start the concert for another 35 minutes.”
I turned to tell M and watched his face light up. He accelerated and pushed a CD into the player. At 8:15 we pulled up in front of the venue and M jumped out to save us seats. I parked the car and followed him in. Our friends arrived minutes later and the evening was saved. We ended up having a blast. But the best part was, hands down, watching the childlike joy with which M bounced up to stand in the front row so that he wouldn’t miss even a note of his long awaited concert.