Mama always said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Oh, Forrest. So wise. I, however, would like to revise this statement based on a recent experience.
“Life is like an outdoor music festival. You can nap peacefully in the sun, but when the rain comes, it’s best just to get up and dance.”
OK, so that’s probably not going to replace Mama Gump’s famous saying. But it is pretty representative of the attitude I adopted on Sunday.
An unfavorable forecast
For a couple months now, I’d been looking forward to going to an event called Sunday Funday, an outdoor music festival featuring six singer-songwriters. Kirsten and I were mainly going to see Eric Hutchinson (EHutch, if you will) – her second time seeing him and my fourth. Gates opened at 12:30 p.m. and the lineup went all the way until 11 p.m.
Originally we were planning on enjoying a beautiful day of sunshine and beers out on the lawn at Pier Six listening to some good music. And then the weathermen had another idea. It was supposed to rain all weekend long. Particularly on Sunday from the hours of 2 (when the first act went on) until 10. Great.
Preparing for the worst
So after checking the forecast religiously, we prepared for the worst case scenario. We wore pants and shoes we wouldn’t mind getting wet and muddy, brought hoodies, jackets and umbrellas, and had an old shower curtain used as a tarp to guard from rain on the lawn.
The factor we forgot to take into consideration was that the temperatures were forecasted at 78˚. Oh, and we’re in Baltimore, so humidity sucks. Oh yeah, and the weather forecast might be wrong.
I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day
We got to the venue and it was a beautiful day. Bright, sunny, a few clouds here and there. And hot. Really freaking hot. Kirsten and I immediately took off our shoes and socks and wished we hadn’t worn pants – Kirsten especially regretted the corduroys.
But we laid out our blanket, got some food and strawberry daiquiris, and laid down with our sunglasses on to enjoy the beautiful day and embrace the sunshine. We caught up on our lives, we laughed, we played our old standby, MASH. But mostly, we people-watched. We found some amazing fashion choices, debated the merits of the new cross-body bag trend, and discussed whether we had somehow been transported back to Woodstock.
For the first three acts, it was a perfect day. We got some sun, enjoyed daiquiris and beers, and enjoyed napping on the lawn with some music in the background.
And then the skies opened up
So EHutch came on around 5:30 and we were psyched. Newly energized after some lackluster performances from the openers (and a beer). We were rocking out, singing along and finally seeing who we came to see, five hours later.
And then the weather had some other plans. The rain came. At first, it was just a few drops here and there, but many of our compadres on the lawn decided to give in at this point and seek shelter under the pavilion. We thought it was ridiculous and just put on our jackets and kept bobbing to the music. We put our umbrellas up when it was necessary, but it was all just sporadic sprinkles at worst.
Until it was more. Eventually it started pouring and we could do no more to stay relatively dry. So we gathered our stuff, didn’t even get to put on our shoes, and dragged our soaking wet blanket and tarp under the pavilion. Where we had no idea what to do.
The dripping quilt, the tarp, our umbrellas, our shoes… what the heck. We just stood there and stared for a bit. And then there was the fact that the last five or six rows of the pavilion are not undercover enough to be shielded from the blowing rain. And there were holes in the pavilion directly above us.
Singing in the rain
So we just shrugged, rolled up our pants, and started dancing barefoot under the pavilion with the rain pelting our backs.
I actually think that was the highlight of the day for me. Being soaking wet, dancing and shouting and singing with my best friend, not caring about the rain anymore and just deciding to take life as it came right then.
Once EHutch’s set was over, we contemplated whether to stay or leave. There was a break in the rain that would probably allow us to get to the garage without getting any wetter (not that it mattered). There were still two acts to go, and while I was looking forward to seeing Amos Lee, I felt like the day had been worth it at that point.
So we left. And it was a good thing we did because by the time we had dumped the blanket and tarp in a trash can and gotten back to my car and exited the garage, it started pouring. And poured the entire ride back to Annapolis. The entire drive back, I could not drive more than 40 mph because the rain was so heavy I couldn’t see the cars in front of me.
When we got back to my apartment, we debated whether to wait out the rain before getting out of the car. But we decided…screw it. We’re already wet, it’s already been ridiculous, get out, laugh, run and embrace it.
Let the rain come down
So sometimes, life isn’t going to come at you as forecasted. And sometimes it will. There will be days of sunshine and days of rain. And all you can do is embrace each one as it comes. Make the best of every circumstance.
Soak up the sun even when you’re sweating in your jeans. Embrace the sunburn even when it hurts. Don’t run screaming out of a light shower when you can look up to the sky and be grateful for a little relief from the heat.
And when it starts to pour, just dance. Laugh. Smile. Sing.
Eventually, the storm will pass and the sun will come out again.