My American peach
“Hey. Kid.” Peach-girl yelled. “This isn’t a political convention. Put the sign down.”
The sign waved higher.
“Yell louder.” I laughed.
“I can’t stand this.” She pouted, climbing on her chair. “I can’t see. That sign has to go.”
“Relax.” I said. “Watch the concert on the screen.” I pointed to the larger than life picture of Sheryl Crow to the right of the stage.
“I didn’t come to the Red Rocks Amphitheater so that I could watch TV.” She huffed. “This’s really getting to me.”
I was secretly hoping that the little girl two rows down would continue to hold her poster of affection. Yes. It was fun to see Peach-girl so riled up. But. I had another reason.
The sign was blocking out the strobe lights that were flashing up at the audience from the stage. Um. Rock concert. Strobe lights. What was I thinking? Strobe lights are seizure starters for we epileptics. I know. I know. How could I have forgotten?
The girl’s sign was perfectly placed so the strobe lights weren’t reaching me at all. No. I couldn’t see the stage either, but that didn’t matter. Maybe I wouldn’t have to leave the concert early to escape the drastic lights.
“I can’t stand it.” she said, pounding her fist into her leg. “I’ve spent my text book money to buy these tickets.”
Peach-girl was on a work exchange from England and spent long days selling produce at local farmer’s markets to earn money for college. Believe me. She had worked hard for these tickets.
She stood up again. “Do you think there will be a problem if I demand she put the sign down?”
“Yes.” I said. “She’ll be furious. I wouldn’t mess with her if I were you. She’s probably packing a gun.”
Peach-girl turned to me. “A gun? That little nine-year old girl? The one wearing the pink sundress?”
“You don’t understand my country, do you? Don’t you watch the news?”
“Holly. I want to see.”
I stopped dancing for a moment to help her understand the reality of the situation. “Rock is the kind of music you are supposed to feel. You don’t have to see it. You can listen. Hear the beat. Pretend you’re at home listening to a CD. Watch the video. Laugh at those Hoochie girls down four rows. Aren’t they funny? See. There are lots of things to look at even if Sheryl Crowe isn’t one of them.”
She was ready to throw herself to chance. “If I do get shot, you’ll be sure to tell my family I love them, won’t you?”
She climbed down to the girl, tapped her lightly on the shoulder, leaned in and said something with a big smile.
The girl shook her head back and forth emphatically.
I know. You gotta like that kid’s spunk.
Peach-girl wouldn’t give up. She said something else while gently pushing down on the sign.
The girl proudly waved her sign higher into the night.
Peach-girl reached into her pocket and pulled something out.
The sign was lowered and ripped in half in about ten seconds.
“She wasn’t going to do it.” She shouted indignantly as she returned to her seat and resumed dancing.
“How’d you change her mind?” Um. Was Peach-girl the one packing a gun?
The other concert goers started hailing Peach-girl as some kind of concert heroine. There was talk about her being invited backstage to meet Sheryl. Um. I doubted it.
“How’d you get the sign down?” I asked again. Really. Had she choked her? Hit her? Knifed her? Cause. If she had, I might have to watch my step.
“I gave her a dollar.”
“WHAT?” I laughed.
“It was worth it.” She insisted. “Besides. Isn’t that the American way? When you see something you want, you’ve gotta be willing to pay for it?”
“You don’t understand a thing about the American way.” I teased. “Kids here would have done it for a quarter.”
The white lights danced into the night. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off. They were in rhythm to the music. Ok. It was time for me to leave. Time to go home. There was no way I could stick around with those lights itching to spark a seizure.
That’s when my savior showed up.
We’ve all seen him at different shows and movies. He’s that quintessential concert goer. You know him. We’ve all complained about him in the past. Him. You know. The guy with the big head. How many events has he ruined for all of us in the past? Well. I’m not mad at him anymore.
Really. Big-head positioned himself directly in front of me. No kidding. This guy had the biggest head on earth. He stood and blocked the whole strobe effect for the rest of the show.
Now. This was the kind of guy I would give my phone number to in a second. No. Not to go to dinner with. No. Not talk to on the phone. But. To always sit in front of me at rock concerts. What a grand relationship we could have!
He stood in one place for the rest of the show. I danced. I sang. There was some song about being happy. And I was. Happy to be outside. Happy to be at Red Rocks. Happy to be at a Sheryl Crow concert. Happy to have a guy with a big head standing right in front of me. Happy that my epilepsy didn’t keep me from enjoying the concert. Happy to have my end of the summer concert with Peach-girl before she headed home to London to return to college.
Of course. The only thing that would have made me happier would have been to find a roll of tape. I mean. Come on. It would have been fun to offer that little girl twenty five cents to repair her sign and wave it in the air again.
You know. Just to show Peach-girl that she’ll need another visit or two to the U.S. before she’ll have a handle on the American Way.