Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

My Son and Daughtry

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(click to enlarge and sharpen)

Sometimes caution and the wind are meant to meet.

For about two months Shannon had been looking forward to seeing Daughtry at Taste Addison on Saturday night. You’ve heard of them, right? Chris Daughtry‘s band? He made it to the final four on last season’s American Idol, and I enjoy the few songs I’ve heard.

Shannon found other fans who wanted to go and nudged a couple of her closer friends into it. A couple days before the concert, two of the girls canceled on her (she had kind of talked them into it, anyway, and one was celebrating her son’s birthday the same day), and a couple hours short of when she was to leave, the others backed out, too (although they seemed fired up about it).

She wanted to go, but not alone. After much wracking our brains to figure out who could watch Ben while I went with her, we decided to make it a family outing. We loaded up on snacks, water, and wax earplugs for Ben and left the house to Cassie. If Ben and Daughtry didn’t mix, then I could pull him aside for Bonkers the Clown and the clog-dancing, bluegrass-warbling Napper Sisters. Please, God, let him be fine at the concert.

Daughtry was slated to start at 9 p.m. We hit our exit offramp at 8:20, with only about a mile or so to go, and promptly turned the wrong direction. The Mapquest printout somehow had baffled both of us. I turned Homer around.

That’s when things got hairy. And very slow.

We passed several $10 parking chances because we had no cash — there were plenty of ATM’s inside the event, but none along the way, not even near the ticket booths. Once we committed ourselves to the traffic SNAFU (one lane crawling stop-and-go each way), all our options were gone. Shannon didn’t want to let me just drop her off at the gate, for fear of not being able to gain admission with a debit card.

The snaky road took us past the front gate and back to a bridge over the tollway we had left nearly an hour before. We crossed over it and saw a Wal-Mart with a bank branch (and ATM!). Shannon scurried inside and grabbed cash, and we parked there for free.

Ben running alongside Shannon holding her hand, I led the way and let them know when each of the two four-lane crossings was clear.

As we raced along the sidewalk, 10- and 20-story office buildings on each side of the street, we heard Daughtry’s performance coming from speakers near the ticket booths. Shannon sang along like a giddy schoolgirl.

Officially “in” within 10 minutes of parking, we squeezed our way through crowds content to watch the show on oversized TV’s, and finally saw the band live, in the flesh, at about 9:30. Had we taken that exit and parked at Wal-Mart in the first place, we would have been there well before 9 o’clock and wouldn’t have missed a single note.

Might have even got a spot closer to the stage. The pic below is a full frame after I walked forward about 50 yards from Shannon and Ben, using a zoom lens maxed out to 315mm.

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Ben was amazing. At first, Shannon held him while I shoved wax into his ears. Arms weary, and wanting a better vantage point, she handed Ben off to me. For the rest of the time he stood there, completely content, munching raisins and Goldfish while I made bad recordings and shot half-baked pictures of a very good show.

One step in any direction and we would have swapped sweat with other concert goers. That kind of crowd would intimidate anybody less than four feet tall. For Ben, one false move could mean a face full of ass or crotch.

Which, for most people in most situations, is not desirable.

For a brief moment (he asked to get down), Ben sat on my shoulders, and Shannon said his face lit up.

See a couple more of my pics on my Daughtry picture page. Next time, I have to get closer to the stage.

After the show, we took Ben to ride a little fire truck and to try to pick the winning floating duck. He ended up with the default prize for buying three chances, which made a pretty good sleeping buddy on the way home.

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16 Responses to My Son and Daughtry

  1. Note to Mark:

    Never leave the house with no money. No matter what.

    Always keep a 20 hidden in your wallet for emergencies.

    It’s something my wife and kids learned with me, and I can’t count the times they’ve thanked me for this lesson.

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  2. I have also cursed my thoughtlessness on numerous occasions when I would have sold one of children’s kidneys to have remembered to bring some cold, hard cash on an outing. I still don’t make a habit of taking cash out with me since I’m so well trained in using hardly anything but plastic.

    I have no idea how zoomy a 315 mm lens is, but I’m guessing that meant to imply you were sort of far away from the stage? My photographical ignorance knows nearly no bounds.

    It’s awesome that you can take your boy out to an event like that and have him behave as well as he did. I think our Dex would do about as well, being not too much younger than Ben and pretty laid back, ready to take in new experiences.

    And I tell ya, there’s not much that chaps our asses more than late or last-minute cancellations from friends who’ve committed to doing something. Are we the ONLY ones who’re reliable to uphold commitments??

    (That last apostrophe, I realise now, is incredibly important.)

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  3. Whoo boy! Chris Daughtry!… Now yer talkin’!!!

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  4. Okay, I feel like I should clarfiy – the friends who backed out actually did so a couple of days in advance (after I had badgered them relentlessly to go with me) and had good reasons. Of course I was disappointed at not having 2 of my best buds as company, but I was not mad and did not feel like they let me down in any way! Mark made it all sound a little more last minute. Our decision to go and take Ben was VERY last minute, so he must have gotten confused. I was amazed at how well he did (Benjamin, not Mark)! He was awake until well beyond 11:00, a full 2 hrs. and change past his usual bedtime. It must be because he loves Daughtry almost as much as his mommy!

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  5. I meant clarify. I’m not sure what that other word I typed means.

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  6. Dave – You’re tellin’ me! When going somewhere unfamiliar, cash is sometimes the only thing that can salvage a situation.

    An ex-girlfriend’s father always carried at least twenty in his wallet so that if he was mugged, his attacker wouldn’t get angry at coming up dry. Kind of twisted logic, if you ask me. “Here I am, and I always carry at least $20!”

    Simon – A lens like that zooms about as far as one on a point and shoot that claims it is 10x. It’s not a straight conversion, because “x” refers to the lens’ magnification range. But, that gives you a general idea how far away we were.

    Judging from your posts, Dex would have danced the entire time.

    I amended this post to reflect that at least two of the gals didn’t flippantly back out on Shannon. The original wording was vague on that, and wrong on the timing. But, and I’m not talking about those girls, I know too well of what you speak (but not you, Alvis, you weren’t feeling well and we still got to hang out). These days, some people think it’s okay to just change your mind because something else came along.

    Shan – You are right, my dear. All fixed now and we can all still be friends. However, would it have been so bad if folks had thought you meant me when you said, “he did so well.” Well, I guess it would have made your final two sentences kind of strange. Ha!

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  7. I am so far out of popular culture. Until you reminded me…I had no idea who this Daughtry guy was. Having never seen a full episode of American Idol…I often find myself on the outside of many an office conversation.

    I’m impressed with Ben’s easy going nature. A concert is about as different an envirnment as you can get from a quiet bedtime story and sleep. I know many kids who would have freaked at being so far out from their routine. Way to go, Ben.

    If ever I am mugged…I ‘m one of those people who are just going to tick off the mugger since I’m sure he won’t be interested in a Babies R Us coupon. I am a plastic man through and through.

    Oh, and Mark….if it makes you feel any better…I ‘m amazed at how well you did.

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  8. Nice title to the post. Daughtry is one of few idol singers I enjoy. (Of course, I never saw him on the show, just on Regis after he was cut.)

    Nice photos. I’ve found taking concert photos recently with the digital camera that if before you print you drop the contrast a little and really increase the midtones you can brighten the shot without compromising the original. Then print, frame and stick it in with the family photos. Or in accordance with my wife, on the basement walls at our house.

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  9. I just have to announce that I had a blonde moment today – I just now “got” your title. Cute, honey.

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  10. These didn’t look nearly as dark on my CRT last night at home. Dang.

    Moksha – I’m sure your concern over being out of the American Idol loop is strictly on the surface. I would be just fine if I never watched it again, but it is fun to see what they do with some of the songs. They’re not just straight covers, most of the time, and the guest artists (they kind of “coach” the kids) are more interesting this season. Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez, etc. We’ll forgive them the Barry Gibb night.

    If you don’t dig the preliminary audition meannesss, then tune in after all that stuff.

    Ben is a trooper, that’s for sure.

    Babies R Us coupon? Ha!

    Blitz – Yeah, although I’ve enjoyed some of the other folks’ performances on the show, he’s one of the few whose CD I actually can tolerate (and even enjoy).

    Shan – Doy.

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  11. I really like him Mark….he is a rocker, a dad and a husband and seems to have a good head on his shoulders from interviews and such that I have seen. I bet it was good…he would have been my fav there….although I do like Carrie Underwood as well. :)

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  12. You shoved wax in Ben’s ears? Most people try to clean it out.

    Ass and crotch? That comes in right behind (heh) Moksha’s blog subtitle, ‘Liquid From My Daughter’s Read.’ Ewwww……

    I can’t believe you made fun of Barry Gibb. :( I used to not like the Bee Gees, myself, until I saw them VH1 (or is it MTV?) Storytellers. I had no idea how many songs those guys had written for other people and that they have been around since the 60s.

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  13. That should have read, “Liquid From My Daughter’s REAR.” But in honor of your title, perhaps it should read, “Liquid From My Daughtry’s Rear.”

    Oh my, I just made myself laugh….

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  14. Were you the oldest people at the concert? (Well, other than Ben, who was probably the youngest.) I have to look harder and harder for the nearest person who’s older than me at events like that!

    It’s great that Ben did so well. I’d like to think LC would do well since he loves music so much, but I’m still not sure that he would be able to sit still that long. It would take some really good snacks, and some good picture books to even have a shot at success.

    I have heard Daughtry’s new single, and it’s pretty good. He’s definitely more in line with the music I like.

    Does he also sing that “I’m coming home” song that they play on America Idol? It sounds like him, but I’ve never thought about it until last night.

    Did you see the Yamin sp? dude perform last night? He got all new chompers, and got his hair did in some freakish do. And how about that song? Did he forget what color he is? That was STRANGE. He sang very well, but it just seemed like bizzaro world.

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  15. Don’t do the whole Idol experience so don’t know this guy but glad you all enjoyed it. Especially Ben. I love to see little kids at concerts.

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  16. Don’t know if you’ll see this, but yes, Chuck, that song is by Daughtry. It’s called “Home” and he wrote it himself. I’m a bit of an obsessed fan, so anything you wanna know, just ask me!

    About Elliott (Yamin) – is there a reason a white guy must sing “white songs”? Just curious. Not that I was crazy about the song (or his hair or his big ol’ new teeth), but that has always been his style of music & I think he sings it pretty well, no matter what color he is.

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