Paying it Forward
October 29, 2009.
My brother’s 20th birthday, which, of course, I don’t get to spend with him because of the MILES and stuff.
The day I meet this incredibly amazing guy who is funny and considerate and easy to talk to and after an hour or so of music talk, pass him my number and continue to have conversation after wonderful conversation.
The day I show up at a coffee shop to play to what I’m assuming will be probably two people I know along with a handful of other random, lovely people who I’ll never see again, only to watch as at least half of the people I work with (and I work with a lot of people) come in one by one, sit down together, drink coffee and cheer me on.
That day was a GREAT day.
And I’ll remember that date specifically, maybe forever, because it’s already a date that matters. It’s my brother’s birthday. It’s also the anniversary of my grandfather’s death, although, while I always think about it, I usually don’t mention it… why bring a party down? Either way, the date is significant, and I’ll remember it because of that, but the really, truly wonderful thing about this date in 2009 was that last bullet point.
People coming out to support you when you think they won’t have time or don’t really care all that much or just probably aren’t even thinking about it. Seeing tables full of people you work with, smiling back at you, along with a couple of friends sitting a few tables ahead of them, and even more familiar faces on the couches to your left. Seeing a room, albeit a small one, but A ROOM, filled with people who are there because of YOU, and not for one of those things we all feel obligated to go out and support like high school graduations and weddings. It’s not as if I suspected any of these people didn’t like me or didn’t think I was a lovely person, but taking your time like that and showing up somewhere… it’s a big deal. It’s a really big deal. I mean, most of the people I went to school with didn’t show up to my senior recital, and the ones who did mostly did because they were getting credit to be there. These people showed up because they wanted to.
So when my friend and coworker Kelly told me she had her senior art show coming up and she said, “You should come!” I said “I WILL!” And just like I always do when someone says the same to me, I think she was thinking, “Well, she has good intentions now, but we’ll see.” It’s much easier to think that way than have to be disappointed later, when it counts. So when I showed up with an hour of the show left to go last night with a big smile on my face and a big hug just waiting to be given, her eyes lit up and she exclaimed, “YOU CAME!”
And I said, “I told you I would!”
And then we stood and talked and looked at her work and the work of the others in the gallery, and we smiled and we ate chocolate and I was there to support her.
And she thanked me over and over and over again for coming.
And she’s talented. She’s really talented.
I didn’t go there because I necessarily expected that my presence would make or break her night. That’s silly. But when I got off of work last night and thought, “I’m tired, and I’ve still got recording to do, should I really go?” I remembered October 29, and the way seeing everybody sitting in that place because of me made me feel, and I thought, Yes. I have to go.
It was so worth it.
Plus, I picked up a little surprise for my mom while I was there.