The revolution was not only televised, it was featured on Oprah.

Would you rather hear about the M. Ward concert I went to last night, or the awkwardness I had at the grocery store this morning? Both? Really?

Okay.

I’ll start with the awkwardness. I am well-known for awkwardness at the grocery store, what with the apple-lanches and the having to ask tall people to get things off the top shelf for me. But today, today was the beginning of the tote bag revolution. I want to stop consuming so many plastic bags. So I took tote bags with which to carry home my groceries. (If you have tote bags you aren’t using, and you don’t want to join the tote bag revolution, will you please send them to me? I need more tote bags.) But let me get to that in a second. First let’s talk about how Mike hates certain scents so much that I had to stand in the dish soap section and sniff Palmolive until I could find one that I thought he would tolerate. Yes, that’s not embarrassing at all. Back to the tote bags now. I had several tote bags, and as I approached the cashier, I caught her eye and said, “I brought my own bags.” She . . . just kind of looked at me. And nodded. Now I am the crazy dish soap-sniffing, tote bag-carrying lady at the grocery store. Fantastic. When she started ringing up my groceries, she . . . put them in the plastic bags. So then I had to take them OUT of the plastic bags and put them in my bags. Not only do I sniff Palmolive, now I am crazy militant tote bag lady!

The cashier finally caught on to what I meant and started handing me my groceries for me to bag myself. She said that she had never seen anyone bring their own bags before. But . . . even Oprah is in on this bag thing! Surely I cannot be the only person at my grocery store who brings her own bags! (Apparently I am the only person at my grocery store who brings her own bags. And I only started today.) I told the cashier that I was trying to save the environment, and she seemed to like that. I also apologized for any inconvenience. I bet she will be telling people all day about the crazy militant tote bag (Palmolive-sniffing) lady. Oh, well.

How about M. Ward? Do you want to hear about M. Ward?

I am not the M. Ward fan in our family. In fact, I kind of have a problem with his voice. I have less of a problem than I used to, because Mike has worn me down. He has played M. Ward until my defenses collapsed, and there are times I almost think I like him. I KNOW! I hardly know who I am anymore!

Mike and Alisa went to see M. Ward back in September, but I didn’t go. This time, though, Mike insisted that I had to experience M. Ward live, so we drove to The Orange Peel in Asheville to see him. Here is the thing about me and Asheville. There’s part of that crunchy/earthy thing that appeals to me (see above, with tote bags). But I also like wearing makeup and tailored clothing. So I don’t think that I completely fit in in Asheville. Also, I like bathing. I decided last night that I am getting too old for the concert thing because I don’t like standing for that long, especially in a large crowd of unwashed people. Give me a concert with assigned seating, I say. Also, I like to go to bed much earlier than this concert allowed me to. Because I am old.

Since we were the first people in, we managed to score seats during the opening band. But we wanted to be closer for M. Ward, so we gave up our seats and made a move toward the stage. I should tell you that before and during the opening act, we entertained ourselves by playing games such as, “What in the world is she wearing?” “Look at that awkward first date,” and, “Why are there twelve-year-olds at this concert?” Did I mention that I am old? Because I am. So old. There were mere children at this concert. There were also women wearing tapered pants who should not have been wearing tapered pants. No one should wear tapered pants that look like that. Our favorite game, though, was, “Drunk or stoned?” The guy directly in front of us was, we believe, both.

So, finally, M. Ward came on to the stage, and we were really close to him, and he played really nice music. He is incredibly talented. AND! Most importantly, his voice didn’t bother me so much in concert. I felt kind of bad for being so close, because we were surrounded by people for whom the concert was apparently a spiritual experience. That was how into it they were. I, however, only knew a few songs. I was an interloper.

I think I would have enjoyed it more if he’d had the full band (especially because, without the band, he did not play “To Go Home”), but, at the same time, when he was the only one making music, it was easy to see how talented he is. I definitely came away with an increased appreciation for his music. I might even let Mike put his CDs on my iPod.

My favorite part was the last song, “Rollercoaster.” M. Ward said that he needed someone who could play piano to come up on stage with him. I think we all thought he was joking at first, so we all kind of stood around awkwardly. But then, finally, a guy named Brian made his way up to the stage and M. Ward taught him the part he needed him to play. I have long told Mike that we need to make sure our children, especially our sons, know how to play piano. I feel that this vindicates me, because every time Brian played the piano, the crowd erupted. The whole concert had a very intimate feel, not just because I was one person from the stage, and Brian getting to play the piano on stage is a perfect example of that. Good times for all.

Anyway, I am glad I went, even if it was a late night (I’m so old). I am sure Mike and Alisa can give you a better review of what was actually played, but this will have to suffice from me. I am very busy, you see, planning my next awkward adventure at the grocery store.

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