It's the first game of football season, Ravens/Broncos. I've been spending the evening at my local haunt, the Second Chance in Oakland Mills. I've been hiding my eyes between tight hands, raising my arms, shouting and cursing and feeling passionate. I've taken moments away from the game, in the bathroom, belting out Sinatra and being young. I've spent the evening texting my best friend, Jamie, as we watch the game separately. Now, back at home, my husband is upstairs watching the second half and I am, as always, out on the porch.
I'm listening to music.
I adore football, in a way I never thought I would. I've written a bit on my childhood here, but to reiterate, I was not raised in the Ravens Nation. Rather, I was raised in albums, in Berlioz, in Poulenc, in the soundtrack to Henry and June. I was music, from the late Friday nights in the back garden with Jazz to the early Saturday afternoons with the broadcast from the Met. I never knew there was anything else.
But now, oh, how I love football. Watching the game tonight, I expected that I would write about how football and the American identity are intertwined. I had this whole thing about consumption and fellow-feeling and the Roman games. I had a dialogue prepared between me and my mother, in which she told me I could be anything except a ballerina and a professional football player. I had all of that.
But here I am, on the porch, feeling something else entirely.
If writing is grasping at straws, so am I. So is life.
In everything I've done - in Puccini, in Satie, in Charpentier - I have never felt young. I was always the "old soul" in the group. There I was, with the opera length gloves, the feather boa, the fanfiction habit I couldn't kick, the teeth dyed blue with cheap red wine, and I was old. And suddenly, tonight, I feel terribly young in a way I couldn't before. And I feel old, too. My husband, upstairs, watching the remainder of a game which is apparently not going well, and me, on the porch, listening to music and the crickets and the beat of night.
Grasping at straws.
Maybe football isn't quite this complicated to other people - maybe music isn't, either. But I'm sitting on the porch utterly paralyzed by some kind of internal choice - to be old, to be young. To join my husband, to listen to music and feel like my teenaged/middle-aged self. I honestly don't know what to do.
I could go on and on here, as I usually do. Maybe tomorrow I will write that post about football and consumption and glee. But the more I think about it, the longer I sit here on the porch by myself, I think that the straws I grasp are only the shreds of an identity limited by a narrow experience. And frankly, as much as I love listening to my music, I love spending time with my husband more.
Good night, y'all. And Ball So Hard.