So when Last Train Home's website (and yes, I do keep that link on my desktop so I can easily copy and paste it, thanks for asking) showed a "house concert" on their schedule, Tom and I were interested but puzzled. You see, we've been going to all of Last Train Home's shows that are within a reasonable driving distance, reasonable being within 6 hours on a weekend night. This "house concert" was in the DC area, with the note that anyone interested could email for information. DC is "within a reasonable driving distance", it was on a Friday night, so if we could be there, we'd be there.
Tom emailed Eric (Brace, lead singer and all-around-good-guy-extraoidinaire) (spellcheck tells me that last word is incorrect, but it doesn't tell me how to correct it so it stays) and Eric sent the info, giving the address and show times. It was at an actual house, people. In Chevy Chase, Maryland. Chevy Chase, a suburb of DC, is a very upscale area. Upscale is not my scale at all.
In case I haven't mentioned it before, I'm not big on social occasions. I'd just as soon go to a show where I know no one but Tom or my sister(s), so I don't have to talk to anyone else. I don't do small talk graciously. It's a real source of anxiety. Yes, I have meds for that, but Xanax and alcohol aren't supposed to be mixed, and I enjoy music with a glass of wine (red, to be exact, or inexact, as the case may be).
Tom really wanted to go to this show. I really wanted to stay home. We haven't been home for a weekend in ages and I needed some down time. I work around people all day; by the weekend, I'm worn out from having to be upbeat and polite and chatting with people.
And this "house concert" thing would definitely require being around people I don't know in a social strata that I can only gaze at from the outside and I'd have to make small talk with these people. We have nothing in common except a mutual interest in Last Train Home. It scared me to death.
I couldn't even take my knitting in with me; the act of knitting soothes my soul and allows me to feel human. I was knitting my Red Wagon socks and had gotten to the part where I had to follow a chart to make the hearts on them. I can't read charts and chit-chat at the same time, so I had to go in without my knitting, my security blanket.
This was a huge house, people. Huger than I can imagine having to clean, ever. And it was in a neighborhood, a beautiful one, of other huge houses, all perfectly landscaped, tulips and dogwoods and azaleas blooming. I so wanted to take photos, but I figured someone would call the police. It's that kind of neighborhood. Someone taking photos would have to be considered a potential thief.
By this time, people were starting to gather and go inside. We'd done a drive-by earlier and saw no one, so we figured we had plenty of time to find a quick dinner. It took a while to find a "business" area, but we found a nice little restaurant (with a very noisy bar; it was, after all, a Friday evening and something called the Nationals was playing some game on tv) and had a quick bite to eat. (I had potato skins, the first good ones I've had in years. Lots of potato, cheese, and bacon. Yes, I'm committed to losing weight. I've lost 7 pounds so far. Weekends I'm allowed to eat what I want. But that's another post.)
The house is beautifully decorated, but there are touches that women everywhere can appreciate: small toys lying under coffee tables, the gorgeous bay window in the kitchen filled with children's toys and a small table, other children's items mixed in with wedding photos and a plaster handprint of a small child. Actual people live there.
And then there's this:
That's Wilbur. He's a very large, friendly Bouvier. He's so big that even I was a little uneasy about walking right up to him and burying my head in that fluffy ruff of his. But he initiated the get-to-know-you session; he came right up to me and slobbered all over me (he must have just drank a gallon of water) and gave Tom that male-dog-to-male-human greeting, snout in the crotch. Ahh, male bonding!
That's a rather large coffee table next to him (with a little doll underneath the far right side), just for proportion.
The media room, which opened to the "deck", which was most of the back yard with lots of landscaping in the undecked areas, was set up for the show. Folding chairs (at least 40 of them) and plush sofas filled the room. The front of the room was set up for the band; they were really scrunched together, but I've seen them on smaller stages.
The two children, T and M, both beautiful and omnipresent like Wilbur, weaved through the crowd, playing with toys and talking to people (M was very tired and a little crabby, but for a 3-year-old, she managed very well), were invited to play with the band on one of their numbers. The kids had been in the formal living room next to the media room watching the band, especially Steve Wedemeyer who really gets into his guitar. M strummed that tiny guitar ferociously, occasionally raising her leg and doing some patented SW moves. It was adorable, and the kids didn't want to leave the "stage" afterward. Eric apologized to their parents for starting their kids on the road to rock and roll, and off they went.
Turned out that it wasn't as uncomfortable socially as I thought it would be. Most of the people there either work for the government or are attorneys or have other high-powered jobs, but they were pleasant to two strangers who came just for the show. Next time we do a house party, we'll take a nice bottle of wine, maybe wrapped in a hand-knitted-by-me bag, and some good beer. There was lots of food there and lots to drink.
Absolutely lovely! We might try this "house concert" thing again.