participating in the process.

Earlier in the week, one of my coworkers looked at my stomach and asked me if I was having another baby, so it should not be a shock to hear that I cleaned out about half of my closet yesterday. It was partly about only owning clothes that are flattering and partly because I had to admit to myself that some of those clothes and I are never ever getting back together.

There has been quite a bit of cleaning in the air lately. I have been processing discards at work, deleting ancient and broken equipment. Some of Atticus’s older toys somehow managed to make their way into the trunk of our car and have found a new home at Goodwill. And Mike and I (mostly Mike) organized our spare bedroom so that friends could come and stay with us over New Year’s Eve and we could go see the Avett Brothers in concert.

We had seen the Avetts once before, and it was, to me, a disappointing show. This one was much better, with a great setlist and a higher energy level from the band. It would have been hard to convince me to go see them again, so I am glad our friends made the trip so we could tag along. (I am also glad our friends visited because it forced us to clean out that room. And because I like spending time with them, as evidenced by this photo.)

The only thing that was a bummer about the concert was the fake encore. Okay, that’s not totally true. The people who sat behind us were also a bummer as their conversations were loud and stupid and one of them hit my friend in the head with a poster and then threatened to spill a beer on her. But other than that, the thing that was a bummer was the fake encore. The Avetts had played an instrumental interlude for about 10-15 minutes before midnight, so we had hoped we would not have to endure an “encore” as well. They hadn’t played one of their biggest songs, and we all knew that they would be playing it before they actually left the stage for good. The musical interlude plus the encore wasted good song-playing time, and by my calculations, we could have gotten a couple more songs at least (including “The Once and Future Carpenter,” just saying).

I have established before that I am too old for concerts. I cannot deal with nonsense like general admission and standing for hours at a time. Fake encores should be added to that list. It seems ridiculous to me that we can’t just agree to end the concert at a particular time. Instead we act as if we have no idea that the artists are coming back out to perform and they act as if they are doing us a favor by singing songs that are the whole reason we came to the show anyway.

In the spirit of the Inauguration and because this Mother Jones article made me laugh, I created a petition on the White House site about this very important issue and I would like to ask you to sign it: We Petition the Obama Administration to Abolish Fake Encores at Concerts. The purity of the arts and America’s consumer confidence levels depend upon it.

Speaking of the arts (which we totally were), we will be watching the Inauguration tomorrow, and I am particularly interested to hear the poet Richard Blanco. I loved Elizabeth Alexander’s poem four years ago, and often think of those last lines: In today‚Äôs sharp sparkle, this winter air, any thing can be made, any sentence begun. On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp, praise song for walking forward in that light. I am also excited to see what beautiful things Michelle will be wearing. I stood for four hours to see her back in August, something else I am too old to do.

When she was finished, she exited the building, no matter how much applauding we did. An Obama encore? Now that I can get behind.

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