Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's not you Jon; it's us!

I live in the best city of the world. I didn’t say it, Jon Bon Jovi did, when he took stage last Thursday in Madison Square Garden. It was Geoffrey's (my husband) dream to see him, so I bought tickets and presented to him as Christmas gift. He was giddy with excitement!

Besides a few well-known songs, I really don’t know the band, though I did notice that Jon got somehow sexier as he aged going from a tight jean rocker to the leather wearing bad boy.

Brigitta comes, she throws her jacket to the chair and she is ready to take care of the two rascals, so that mom can go and be wild. The door to my closet is open, I am on momma time and style, I grab the closest pair of jeans and this year’s favorite stripey shirt … ready to rock and roll!

So many people! I fight my way through the door, security, “Aww Myy Gaawd you’re a Bon Jovi virgin?” I hear a woman asking another one on the escalator; I also nod. Only one flight up and I am being ushered to my seat, “Hurry up honey, he’ll sing his first song close by”. I am hungry, Geoffrey volunteers to pick up the finest kind of popcorn sold in a box for 10 USD swearing hate and war if he misses the first song. Shortly after he leaves, the lights go out and 30 thousand people jump to their feet screaming. The monitor shows heavy steps coming towards us, then in a second of confusion and disbelief I look right and there he is! Hanging onto his guitar, working the strings, head tilt back and forth. The energy grabs me and I am a hardcore fan in seconds, nervously looking around for hubby and fearing consequences. The popcorn arrives, Jon leaves with an entourage of about 10 security guards and takes the front stage.

Whatever song he sings it transports me back to my high school years in Kosice, Eastern Slovakia. Dorm rooms come alive as I see posters of JBJ cut out from the latest “Bravo” magazine smuggled in from Austria or bought at a “Tuzex”. “Tuzex”, a store with its own currency and goods, that we’ve never heard or seen before; pricey commodities brought in from the West for the priviledged. Levi’s jeans, cans of coke, gummy bears, popping candy in pretty bags and perfumes I could only dream of. It was the only real window to what life behind the iron gate offered at the time.

Now here I am, popcorn, coke, Bon Jovi, New York. Jon talks about sitting in nosebleed benches when he was a kid, but I wonder how a girl from Southern Slovakia got here? “Ooh she’s a little runaway” …  I wasn’t one in a true sense of the word, yet I was one in another ... Running away from the world I knew to a world that excited me through movies, neon lights, adds, restaurants with flickering candles, high heels, yellow cabs, kids playing basketball in between city blocks and men in suits …  Now I barely notice the neon adds of Times Square, I eat by candle light at restaurants, have a closet full of high heels waiting to be worn and hail a cab with confidence. My husband is a man in suit I always dreamed of as little girl. (Yes, some dream of a white horse, but I grew up in a village!) I am at a Bon Jovi Concert!
I feel like I just received an Oscar, I feel like I achieved something, tough I am having difficulties putting it into words. Living in America was as unattainable as a trip to space, now I call this country my home. It’s where I got my education, met my husband and gave birth to my children.

“I’ll be there for you; These five words I swear to you” … all I hear IS the five words and wipe my tears. What did just happen? How did I get so emotional thinking about those five words that sound so cliché? I look at Geoffrey and we both cry. “I am embarrassed”, he says. I look away because we know exactly the meaning of these words. No need to say it out loud, we both think of those hard times spent at a hospital, when he held my hand, caressed my face and those five words carried all my hope for the future. I have to pinch myself to believe where we are today …

“The more things change, the more they stay the same” sings Jon about the music industry, but I am on my nostalgia road trip. I think of the friends I made during these 15 years in the US, the family I gained, the fact that life passes by as a bullet train. Just how far technology came I also ponder, as the girl next keeps taking video with her phone; the one that she will never watch. As cell phones light up all around instead of lighters, I can’t help but think of that phone call made home from a suitcase of a journalist giving me a ride while hitchhiking vs. the blackberry in my pocket; our flat screen TV vs. our black and white box with antenna on the rooftop and chocolate foil wrapped around the cables for better reception; hand written letters vs. facebook. I own a computer; though the first time I saw one at the college computer lab, I thought floppy disks were gear for scientists with much higher IQ than mine. Some things change, like technology, but memories remain. I think of friendships I made, lost and renewed; their innumerable value; my life experiences. Every little memory ties to a person, not an object, not the “stuff” from “Tuzex” I can now freely purchase at my local mall.  Just like this concert is much less about you Jon, it’s about us!

The woman next to me keeps texting;
I don’t think she understands …

It's my life
It's now or never
I ain't gonna live forever
I just want to live while I'm alive
(It's my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said
I did it my way
I just wanna live while I'm alive
It's my life

Thank you for the trip, Jon!

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