A photo of a cherished memory.
Unfortunately, most of my photos are on Facebook, and I've deactivated my account (more on that later). So you'll have to settle for the unillustrated version.
The photo I'm thinking of was taken in Ann Arbor, MI on Tuesday, August 11, 2009. My favorite musician of all time, Tracy Chapman, performed there that night. And she was amazing.
At the time, I was living in Saginaw (an hour and a half from Ann Arbor) and taking a summer class at SVSU. The class met on Mondays and Wednesdays. And that Wednesday, I was scheduled to take my final exam.
But I was determined to attend this concert, because not only is Tracy Chapman my favorite musician ever, but she also doesn't tour much. And when she does, she usually spends more time in Europe than the US (not that I blame her, but still).
So I convinced my mom to go with me. And that Monday after class, I drove to Grosse Pointe, where I stayed overnight at my parents' house, because GP is significantly closer to Ann Arbor than Saginaw is.
And the next day, my mom and I left for Ann Arbor, where I spent several hours raiding bookstores. Because she knows what happens to English majors in bookstores, my mom went off and did her own thing. And eventually, she got me to leave the store by bribing me with food; we ate a super delicious meal before the concert.
Upon arriving at the theater, a friendly tall person made my good mood even better by offering to switch seats with me when he realized that his head obstructed my view.
Tracy put on a great show. I really appreciated her subtle and smart sense of humor. Before she sang this song she said, "This is about how we need to be saved from those who think they need to save us." (Creative way to list your religious views on Facebook, anyone?)
And then this song made me cry. So hard. It caught me entirely off-guard, because Tracy just popped out of nowhere with an acoustic guitar after she had performed several songs with a full band. And without any kind of preface, she just started singing this. And it was really, really simple and beautifully done. So I cried. And when I say that I cried, I mean it. I put a lot of effort into stifling weird noises and swore I'd never forgive my mother if she made fun of me afterward (because there's no way in hell that she didn't notice). It was really intense and I'll never forget it.
So I was all over the place emotionally. Not surprising, I guess, given that I've been a die hard Tracy Chapman fan all my life.
But remember, I had a final exam the next day.
And since I'd spent the whole day before the concert dicking around in Ann Arbor, I really had to study.
On our way back to Grosse Pointe after the concert, I made my mom stop at a Tim Horton's so I could get some coffee. But not surprisingly, I didn't get much work done that night. Instead, I was too full of adrenaline (and whatever other crazy emotions inevitably go along with seeing your favorite musician live) to work or sleep. So I talked to friends online about how incredible Tracy Chapman's concert had been.
And then I took a power nap, woke up at 6 a.m., and drove back to Saginaw. I was exhausted, but swore I wouldn't allow myself to sleep or have a concert-related meltdown until after my exam.
I was actually relatively successful, thanks to the anxiety that always creeps up before an exam and motivates me to get shit done.
But by the time I'd finished the exam, I looked like I'd been to war and back. On top of all the normal final exam feelings (Holy shit I'm so tired and my brain is fried and I never want to use my brain for anything ever again), I had all these ridiculous feelings to deal with because I had just seen THE BEST CONCERT OF MY ENTIRE LIFE IN A CITY THAT I LOVE and had been forced to return to reality (read: a small university in the middle of a cornfield) well before I'd had any time to process the experience.
I ran into one of my professors in the hallway after the exam. Upon trying to make small talk with me, he realized that I was a severely sleep-deprived pile of emotions. (In case you think I'm exaggerating about how tired I was, he didn't like the idea of letting me drive home.)
But in the end, I drove home anyway, fell asleep, woke up fourteen hours later, and learned that I'd managed to pull off an A- on that exam.
Tracy Chapman, though, gets an A+.
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