As I get older I seem to tolerate crowds less. When I travel to the city I know I have to get in amongst the masses but it is always a sense of relief when I get out of the city and back into the wide open spaces of home.
I have learnt to push with the throngs getting on a peak hour train from Parramatta to the city, worked out the best place to stand on the cattle train so I can hold on and not tumble with the sudden jerk of motion. I still struggle if I am sitting on a packed bus, not quite knowing where to look when there is a man standing very close my face and I’m at the ready to duck as someone’s backpack goes flying past my nose when they squeeze past the other sardines tolerating the ride with me.
This week I have braved other crowds and pushed myself out of my bubble.
And have had a blast.
On a warm day last weekend I joined 4 longtime girlfriends on a 2.5 hour road trip to Armidale. And yes you are correct; there were very few silent moments in that car. We laughed, chuckled and cackled as we caught up on the latest happenings in our lives, passed on the local scuttlebutt, shared memories of growing up, school, families. There was very little untouched by the time we arrived at our lodgings.
To say we were excited at the thought of A Day on the Green is an
understatement. Some of us were ‘concert virgins’, and were looking forward to the afternoon like a child at Christmas. For me, there was some trepidation as I was going to share this first time experience with about 8000 other lovers of music and wine. I worked hard to put this aside as I was with wonderful friends, some who were well experienced in this concert and crowd predicament.
And just breathe, relax, live in the moment…isn’t that what therapy tells you to do?
As we hailed the bus we were brimming with anticipation of relaxing on the rolling green grass of Paterson’s winery, soaking up the tunes and voices of some great Australian talent while we bathed in the New England sun and imbibed (or did we guzzle?) some local wines.
We shared Daryl and John with similar parties of girlfriends, mates, couples, families, young, middle-aged and older. You could tell some were seasoned event goers, they had the hat, the comfy chair, the shirt to boast the last big concert. Some had their smartphones and recorded the event, though I am not sure why? Others just sat back and lived in the moment, like us. We danced, we sang along. We continued to cackle and laugh.
I didn’t care that I cant hold a tune, I was singing “You’re the voice” with John Farnham no matter what!
What an event. I am converted. I am now an addict pursuing the next event, ready to challenge my mob anxiety.
And it was put to test just a few days later.
Some of my city friends are shocked to know that I have never attended a sporting event at our world class sport and event stadiums. Attending a one day cricket game, a rugby league grand final or a Mumford and Sons concert are near the top of my to-do list. I have just never been brave enough to buy the tickets and make it a reality.
When a work colleague invited me to attend a football match this week (ok, its soccer!) I jumped at the chance. I was still high on the excitement of the weekend experience.
The crowd for the game was on the small side. The stadium was quite empty yet I was comfortable with sharing the experience with only 10 000, not the normal 20 000 or a fully packed Allianz stadium that would number 45 000. I think I will need to build up to that.
I soaked up the buzz around me, delighted in the chants of the supporters, booed with the crowd at some of the decisions, and appreciated the dedication of players, coach and fans to the sport and the game. I fell into the crowd, belonged, enjoyed.
Im thinking the next decade could be the era of mob encounters. I could become a groupie and may even brave a mosh pit!
Who is with me?