1. Music unites us
It was four in the afternoon, and I’d just gotten off the phone with my sister. If I wanted to go to the Front Bottoms concert that night, I needed to be at her apartment in just over an hour. We’d been fighting all week. With both of our stubbornness, there had been a lot of passive-aggressive texts and tearful calls to Mom instead of one another. We were usually the closest of correspondents; we hadn’t gone this long without speaking since I was in middle school.
But I’d been waiting for this concert for months. So I straightened my hair, put on my favorite dress, and got over it. We spent the rest of the night pretending we were never at odds. We announced peace by complimenting each other’s outfits and solidified the treaty with matching concert T-shirts. The dinner she bought me afterward helped a bit, too.
2. Efficiency is king
The merch booth was in a small room in the back of the theater. The line moved slowly enough that I had time to buy a coffee while my sister held my spot. When we finally reached the front, I took a few seconds to make the final decisions on my purchase. The folding table didn’t have pins or mini-posters as I’d expected, so I just asked for the shirt. The merch worker picked one out from a bucket and swiftly threw it onto my shoulder. He gestured to the card reader and addressed the next customer.
I was anticipating the T-shirt being handed to me and felt surprised by the toss. None of the other workers seemed to be doing this. After the initial shock, I was a little impressed. Nobody had outright complained about the lack of hospitality, and his line was moving noticeably quicker than the others. He knew how to get business done.
3. Always appreciate midwestern manners
From the moment I stepped into the pit, I was inches away from strangers. I tried not to scream into anybody’s ears or step on their toes, but it was inevitable. For the most part, it was tolerable, and nobody jostled against me too roughly. But the only thing I was excited about at the end of the concert was personal space.
After the show, my sister, her friends, and I found ourselves talking to two women who had been following the band for a decade. They asked if we were going to Rhode Island for an upcoming festival. They said we needed to experience the East Coast band on the East Coast, that midwestern crowds are too respectful for a real rave. I thought back to how smushed I had already felt in the pit. I was thankful for a few inches of politeness.