Today is my birthday. I know; I don’t care either.
I’m not going to whine about how old I am or anything. Age ain’t nothing but a mile marker on the highway to eternal nothingness, am I right? And truth be told, I don’t feel that different than I did at 27. Except for this three-foot-tall growth that’s attached to my leg, sucking all the energy out of me.
That energy would’ve come in handy over the weekend, when I tried to live like I still was 27 by attending a three-day music fest.
The Hopscotch Music Festival took place here in Raleigh over the weekend. There were approximately 800,000 bands participating in the three-day fest, which ran from Thursday night through Saturday night at multiple venues across Raleigh. Thanks to my Lenovo Insiders membership, I had access to all of the many varied shows and my wife was off the hook for expensive birthday tickets. Unfortunately Lenovo didn’t cover the babysitter. After three nights paid for watching TV in our living room, she can probably retire now.
As much as we’re dedicated to not letting our kid cramp our style, we just weren’t about to drag the kid on a past-his-bedtime (past my bedtime!) venue crawl. That would have been cruel and unusual punishment – for us, for him, and for all the other attendees who didn’t go to see The Breeders and Spiritualized just to have a twirling two-year-old bump into them and spill their beer. So he stayed home with a sitter all three nights. Which meant that he woke up with us all three mornings.
And that is why I may have to change his nickname from Detective Munch to The Hangover.
Three nights of debauchery when you’re in your late thirties isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And when you have a toddler who doesn’t even know what a hangover is, he’s not interested in letting you sleep in and sleep it off. Recovery is harder for your body as you get older, and flat-out impossible when you have kids. Unless you have help. And we don’t. So instead, we had hangovers. Long ones.
But it wasn’t just the (lack of) recovery that made the weekend tough. There was also the outrageous expense of the babysitter, and the way having a kid forced us to make some compromises and limit our experience. Just a bit.
Because Hopscotch isn’t just about the bands you pay to see at night. All weekend long there were day shows all over the city, taking place from noon-to-five and beyond, before the night acts took over. Unfortunately, many of those shows were at bars – and not restaurant-type bars where you can get away with bringing a kid; and only a few of the bars are outside, which limits the amount of places you can squeeze a toddler into, especially an ocassionally disgruntled one who is skipping his nap. Navigating a stroller through a crowd of people getting their buzz on during an outdoor music festival is not a lot of fun, but we did it anyway.
It wasn’t always easy, because nothing with a toddler is easy. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun. My kid loves music, and he loves live music most of all, and Mom and Buried and I love music, and love live music, and love day drinking, and love our kid. So we made it work, and we had a great time with him, then we ditched him with the babysitter and did our best to stay upright for the night’s festivities. And now we’ll be doing our best to stay upright for the next few days, despite the fact that we are running on fumes of fumes of fumes.
We’re not child-free twentysomethings anymore, nor do we want to be, not really. Because that would mean we wouldn’t have
The Hangover Detective Munch. I’m not about to trade my family for the ability to make it through one more late-night rock show. And despite that fact that doing Hopscotch in my late thirties with a toddler making me feel like I just swam from Cuba to Florida, we saw some great acts (my favorite show was Rose Windows), and it was still worth it.
Besides, if we’d actually been 27 and kid-free for it? We probably wouldn’t even remember any of the great music we saw. Because DRUNK.