Alone or Not at All

Have you ever not done something because you were afraid of what was going to happen as a result? When at first your idea is great and gets you wicked excited…. then you think more about it and the “what if?” scenarios play out terribly, so you stop. Yeah, you’ve probably experienced it. Me too. It’s a human thing. For me that experience looked like going to a concert by myself. Keywords: by myself. The Wheels of Soul tour came through at Meadowbrook in Gilford this past week. Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Wood Brothers, and Hot Tuna. If you haven’t listened to these bands and are into Americana/Blues rock, check ’em out, you won’t be disappointed. At the last minute I found out about this tour and everyone I asked to join had other plans. So here was my dilemma: go alone or not at all. Now, I am pretty happy in my own company and occasionally do things alone, but frankly, the idea of hanging out by myself at a concert seemed a little, well, sad. When I consciously became aware that I was scrolling my phone for people I didn’t really want to go with, I said to heck with it, no compromise, I’ll do it alone. I got in my car to go, pretending to not be anxious, and the National Weather Service came on through the radio: severe weather, flash floods warnings, and yes! potential tornadoes. My sister texted me a photo of a tornado on Sebago Lake, right after. Her caption read: “The warnings woke me up from my nap. Came through on my phone so loud… so they seem pretty legit.” Now would be the time to bail, but at this point I was committed. So off I went from North Conway to Gilford’s Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion (formerly Meadowbrook). Good thing there are white lines on the road, because at times that’s what kept me on while the rain pelted down. I parked, slightly self-conscious that the whole world knew I was alone but that quickly wore off.

In my time at the show I encountered many kind people and nice gestures. Strangers that shared their umbrellas with me while it was pouring. Strangers that held my belongings so I didn’t have to bring them into the port-a-potty. Strangers that bought me a drink because they had accidentally knocked mine over. Strangers that made small talk; small talk that turned into connections. Strangers that turned into friends. As it turns out these tiny acts of kindness aren’t limited to my good looks and charm. I know, I am surprised, too. Being by myself meant more time for people watching and as I watched there was so much kindness, laughter, and love in that stadium.

This one older couple in particular stood out to me. They were a few rows in front of me and in my direct line of vision, so I almost couldn’t help but be impressed by their sweet dance moves and affection towards each other; clearly in the honeymoon stage of their relationship. This is one of the beautiful things that the Wheels of Soul Tour granted me: having a good time, even in my own company! New Hampshire was the first stop on the Wheels of Soul’s Tour, of course because it’s their favorite state and it’s slowly becoming mine too. A little more love here, and a little more laughter there.

Just to share with you how small these connections are, I’ll tell you about my day after the show: I’m at work serving food at May Kelly’s, an Irish Pub in North Conway, when I look at these people at a table I just gave food to. I do a double take. This. is. the. same. couple. I was spying on at the show! “Did you go to the Wheels of Soul Tour last night?” I asked them. They looked at me a little dumbfounded. “Yes! We did.” I explained that I recognized them from a few rows up and I admired their love for one another. We chatted about what brought them here and there, and the woman told me at the end of their dinner that what I had said made her whole day. I am so grateful that I went to the show and didn’t let fear run my life. Going by myself wasn’t sad at all, it gave me confidence & brought me connections. If you’re in this situation, be inspired – Go alone!

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