A friend was given tickets to the B-52s at Ravinia for her birthday. She invited three friends, including me, so I was pretty stoked.
I'd come close to seeing the B-52s in oh, I think it was 1982. They were playing a club in Boston, and my boyfriend and I had tickets. I was in college just outside Boston, and he lived about an hour away. The day of the show his car was acting up, but he took me anyway. The car died in the parking lot of the club, and as we got to the door I'd realized I'd grabbed my college ID by mistake, and left my license in my dorm room. We couldn't get in, and with the car dead couldn't go back for my license. I remember crying in the parking lot. My boyfriend had been very comforting - he was a great guy.
So now, thirty years later, I'd get my chance. Sure, instead of a ratty semi-condemned club it would be a tony outdoor venue that hosted acts like Yo-Yo Ma and Patti Lupone, nestled in a very upscale northern suburb, but what the hell.
The plan was for them to drive out early and snag a spot on the lawn, and I would take the train from work to meet them.
I got to the train station, checked the board, and got on a train. A few stops out, the conductor announced "This train will not stop at Ravinia Park." I went to the door to get off at the next stop, and the conductor signed my ticket so I could board the next train.
"Am I crazy?" I asked him. "Didn't I see 'Ravinia' on the board?"
"That's Ravinia. You want Ravinia Park," he answered.
When the next train came, I was going to ask the conductor whether it was the right one, but the plethora of folding chairs and Whole Foods shopping bags answered my question. I hopped on and watched as houses I could never afford in a million years began to pass by.
I was close.
At Ravinia Park I got off and headed to the gate. I opened my purse..and realized my ticket was in my date book.
The datebook I'd left on my office desk.
Serious Deja vu.
I went to the window and bought a lawn ticket to replace the free one I'd had. Fortunately, they were not too pricey. I found my friends, we ate the food we'd brought, discussed girl things. ONe of the women was recently laid off. She's a single mom who'd gotten a good severance.
"Use the summer to spend time with your boy," I suggested. "I had to learn to not feel guilty for not looking for a job every second."
"Yes, but you didn't have a child to take care of."
Oh, good lord, this again.
"No," I said, "but I had four pets who all ate, and who blew through litter and hay at lightning speed, and I wasn't getting anything extra in my unemployment for them," I said.
Amazingly, she conceded that I had a point.
I drank an entire glass of wine, so became drunk very quickly.
"I'm going to walk around while it's still light, before the band starts," I said. I was a little unsteady, so I decided I'd be better off walking firmly. Striding. I strode around the grounds, watching the little tables, the tea lights, the elaborate setups of people sitting out on the lawn. The golf shirts. The careful hair.
I returned to Girls Base Camp and announced loudly that there were no attractive men at Ravinia.
Darkness fell and the band came on. I walked to the barricade separating the path from the seated area in front of the stage. Thirty years later, and they still sounded the same. They were great. I danced and cheered, and a woman next to me did the same. The couples around us stood appreciatively, but nobody danced. They had a sort of amused, "I'm glad we were able to get a babysitter for this evening" look.
They looked... domesticated.
"Party Gone Out of Bounds" came on, the woman next me grabbed my arm, and we let out a victory scream. I had a blast.
"HEY! WE JUST THOUGHT WE'D DROP IN!!" I yelled.
At one point I rejoined Base Camp and the girls finally stood up to dance to "Love Shack." The encore was "Rock Lobster." As I danced on the grass, people with their belongings passed us by, headed for the parking lot. When the show was over, I turned to my friend.
"If I ever get to to a point in my life that I walk away during "Rock Lobster" because I want to be out of the parking lot early, just put a bullet through my head. Don't tell me you're doing it; just come up behind me and put me out of my misery," I instructed her.
We got to the car, and one of the girls noticed the car next to us. It was a very pretty BMW 2-seater convertible.
"The guy who owns that," I said, "is older and divorced. Trust me."
We wanted to take our picture, so we decided to ask a passerby. A man who looked to be in his early fifties approached. He was trim and good looking, and I sensed money. Then again, we were in Richville, so go figure.
I asked him to take our picture, and he obliged us. He was very nice, very polite. Then he walked over to the BMW.
"I knew it," I sighed.
I'm not into rich men, don't get me wrong. But it's tempting to think about being with someone who can open doors for me that are closed right now. Like dinner. Travel. Groceries.