Anticipation, Dave Grohl’s right leg, and perfect days

Way back in December, I bought two tickets to see the Foo Fighters play Murrayfield stadium on the 23rd of June. I’ve wanted to see them live for 16 years. To say I was excited would be an incredible understatement.

In the past month, I’ve been listening to their back catalogue while pounding out websites at work trying to decide what my favourite album is and failing. (And reminding myself what a cracking album The Colour and the Shape is.) I’ve been impatiently waiting for this Tuesday. I was ready – and well overdue – for a big, loud rock show where I could jump around and scream along. My enthusiasm for this gig was dangerously boundless.

So of course, Dave Grohl broke his leg.

Oh, Dave. How awesome can you get?

I believe ‘gutted’ is probably the correct term here. (Thank you, UK vocabulary.) The news that the rest of the UK tour would be cancelled fell on top of a particularly crap week. So I DID actually cry when I read it.

First of all, how completely terrible that this had to happen to The Nicest Man In Rock. Dave FINISHED THE SHOW while his leg was held together by his EMT (and probably a whole lot of adrenaline). He is a friggin’ legend. After that though, the doctors were like, ‘ehhh, no, you need to not play some shows, because NO’.

You can tell in the statement he wrote on the Foo Fighters website that he is so disappointed and frustrated about the whole thing. I’m sure no fan would want him to screw himself up any more, so of course it’s fine that the show is cancelled. But it’s also just completely depressing. Or at least it was for a while.

I gave myself Wednesday to be in a funk, because the shit had just piled up a little too much and sometimes, as Louis CK has said in the following well-circulated (and great) clip, you gotta let yourself feel fully sad before you crush it or push it away. So I did.

And then I went dancing, sweat my face off, properly tired myself out, and felt a billion times better.

I know I’ll get to see the Foo Fighters someday. So this is really not that big a deal. I mean, when I tried to see Radiohead the first time in Bull Run, Virginia, we made it to the venue on this blistering hot, sunny day where we were all ironically praying for a bit of rain to cool everything down just a little. But then 30 minutes after the gates opened, the heavens ALSO opened and there was a ridiculous torrential thunderstorm and the entire place flooded and it was all cancelled. And man, that day became a story to tell, because how could it not when thousands of people were more or less trapped in a flooded mud pit since everyone had parked in the grass?

We did not get to see Radiohead that day, and I had been at least as excited about that if not MORE than Foo Fighters this week. But I DID get to see Radiohead. A few years later in Rhode Island. And then again in Glasgow. And it was all fine and worth the wait and after I stopped blithering last Tuesday night that’s what I thought about.

And actually, the week hit an upswing and kept getting better. Dancing again on Thursday with a great class on fast Lindy, a chilled out Friday night, and one of the best Saturdays I’ve had all year. One of those rare, unplanned, absolutely perfect days – a killer dance workshop in the morning, an amazing pub lunch, and a party in Holyrood park with rounders, boules, a Swedish candle, the fire brigade, lots of beer, and a midnight walk up the Crags for midsummer. All in excellent company.

Rounders in the park. I can still pitch!
Rounders in the park. I can still pitch!

Part of the reason swing dancing is so good for me is, as a follow, it forces me to kill my anticipation and give up most of my control-freak tendencies, because the more I can do that the better follow I’ll be. When we were coming down the Crags in the dark, it had just started raining so everything was already hard to see but also suddenly got very slippery. We’d all been joking about how our appropriate-for-Lindy-shoes were not exactly appropriate-for-tromping-up-hills-in-the-dark shoes. I’d also been talking about worrying about unexpectedly messing up my ankles or knees and not being able to dance. And someone said I probably just shouldn’t think about that stuff because really, how can you control for freak accidents?

And THEN I slipped and had a moment where I thought I might have REALLY killed my ankle. (NOT A GOOD WEEK FOR LEGS, GUYS.) Incredibly luckily, after a bit of a shake out, my ankle was fine, but it was as close a call as I’d like to have.

I don’t really know what any of that proves, but maybe if I’d not been thinking or yammering so much about it, it wouldn’t have happened.

I’m always going to be the kind of person who gets incredibly excited about things. I don’t think that’s bad, but maybe if I could kill some of my anticipation OUTSIDE of dancing, I’d be able to relax about things more. It often get so extreme I give myself anxiety stomachaches. It’s not normal. It’s probably not healthy (it certainly doesn’t feel it). But it’s the way I am. It makes the disappointment of something not happening the way I planned or imagined a lot more crushing than it should be sometimes. Big ups equal big downs. I worry about this in terms of travel planning because despite being able to handle it now that I understand my own head, I know how I’ll feel if something goes completely wrong. I guess at least I’ve got some self-awareness though.

I also know from experience that things will just work themselves out. I may not be able to stop the initial air-knocked-out-of-life feeling, but I can at least tell my jerkbrain that it will pass, and that a perfect day will crop up to turn things around when I least expect it.

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