23 February 2008

Charon at the edge of the river Hudson

Mosh pits are interesting things. Seething, sweating, tattooed cauldrons of latent homosexuality run amok, mosh pits are alternately revolting and fascinating. I recently found myself in the unfortunate position of feeling like the gatekeeper to the mosh pit at a small venue where one of my favorite bands, Flogging Molly, was playing.

My vantage point, right by a small, hip-level wall overlooking the pit and mere feet from the stage, was a prime location. Erin, Geof and I were able to maneuver to and then maintain this position through the two opening acts and finally to the headliner. I, however, was on the end, the end by the stairs leading to the pit.

As Flogging Molly took the stage, I found myself having to reexamine my position in the universe. On my left were my husband and daughter and relative calm. On my right, however, was a rather violent stream of humanity struggling frantically to reach the pit below us (which was down the stairs to my right).

First, I watched. One shirtless, drunken and/or stoned and/or something I'm not even aware of young man decided to stand by me, closely, elbows flailing level with my face. He apparently thought I was invisible. I continued to watch his elbows, his beer bottle, his vacant eyes, along with the "surfers" whose feet were a tad too close.

When he shoved himself into me, hard, in a futile attempt to widen the opening to the pit, perhaps, I made a decision. Standing with my feet firmly planted was not enough. He was not even aware that I was a human being whom he had chosen to shove in a most impolite fashion. To him, I was certainly not even a human being old enough to be his mother (my own daughter standing next to me as evidence of that). I did know that I was annoyed as hell at being shoved, hard, by a sweating, drunken idiot man-child. So in the interest of self-preservation (mostly) I shoved him back, equally hard. In the direction of the pit. He seemed to appreciate it.

For the rest of the night, I found myself standing my ground at the edge of the stairs, a Charon ready to ferry the doomed to the River Styx. As the masses flung themselves into me in a misguided attempt to enter the pit, I helpfully bumped and pushed them away from me and toward where they wanted to be.

Aside from having far too many sweaty, tatooed and drunken bodies pushing into mine, the concert was amazing. I'm slightly ashamed, however, at the side of me that appeared that night, the side that was almost gleefully urging the young, the drunken, the vacant, away from me and into the mosh pit.

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