Monday night, Ethan, Amy and I took a lovely drive to the city of Ventura to see Patti Smith. I should mention here that Ventura is a city that has been underestimated by everyone that have driven by that sign on the freeway marked "Ventura" as they continue on their way up to Santa Barbara or down to the depths of Los Angeles and Orange County. Ventura has managed, by a mystery unknown to me, to retain a small beach town charm. One main street stretches the length of the city dotted with small shops and charming restaurants and it is here that we met a few of Amy's friends for dinner.
The last time I ran into these friends of Amy's was in the men's restroom at the Wiltern immediately following a Franz Ferdinand concert. The line in the ladies room was about twenty minutes long and so I, being a veteran of peeing in male restroom, dragged an extremely scared and embarrassed Amy into the male restroom. It was here we ran into these friends of hers. These friends also happen to have the title of her Boss and her Boss' wife of course. He was standing at the urinal zipping up and that was our introduction.
So back in Ventura, the food was ok but the conversation was better. Ethan is teaching punk rock next semester at school and if I were not going to London, I would defiantly audit it. Amy's boss remembered me as the bad influence. It would be hard not to shake that title seeing the circumstances upon which we met.
Ventura Theater was a charming venue just off the corner of the main street. It kept its old architecture and all people from all walks of life were there. I loved it already. The show was un-freaking-believable.
Everyone had that one teacher in high school. That one teacher that you actually listened to. He or she commanded your attention, kept you on the edge of your seat for the whole class and earned your respect. (If you did not have a teacher like this I feel sorry for you and have no clue how you got through high school.) Patti Smith is this person. She commands your attention. You can't take your eyes away and you find yourself breathing heavier as your adrenaline speeds up with the sheer intensity of the music she is giving out. She has the ability to draw out emotions you are keeping well hidden inside you. At one point during the show I looked over at my brother and he had the same look on his face he used to get when he was a little boy. It is this look of vulnerability, like it was ok to be who he really was. Around song number four I looked over at Amy and she was crying her eyes out. This did not stop until the very end of the encore. I myself get the feeling of a sense of power with Patti. She brings out the power in me.
I drove home from the show and felt good. I felt really good. I had been thinking so much about so many things lately and yet everything just felt ok. Like, I was happy being me.