For the most part, life flows along and you paddle with it as best you can seeking the most rewarding line downstream. Sometimes, you’re stroking like mad to reach a goal, others you just kick back and drift. This weekend I feel like I’m circling in a strange whirlpool, not quite sure why I’m not breaking free of this confusion, though I’m still just kicking back and drifting along with whatever comes. Tomorrow, I’ll pop back out into the current and be on my way.
Things took their first odd turn Friday evening. Weeks (maybe months ago), my wife informed me she’d made reservations for one of the summer concerts-on-the-lawn at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. It was dutifully filed away in my man-memory amongst the myriad of other tidbits, requests, and honey-do’s that reside in that dark subterranean cavern where guys store such relevant information. Nothing wrong with a little culture now and then, and I do like a good performance of some classical or jazz music such as one would expect to enjoy in a venue such as the Biltmore house. Reminded of our impending appointment, I threw on some nice duds and we headed into Asheville.
On arriving, we picked up a pre-arranged wine and cheese picnic basket, and followed the crowds towards the concert grounds. The first hint my compass had been drifting was when I saw the stage set up. It was rather elaborate for the sedate and tranquil performance I expected. As we found our reserved seats, I finally asked about the show.
“It’s ABBA“, my wife informed me. “Well not really ABBA, but a band that plays their music”.
“Huh?” I’m sure my expression belied confusion.
“You know, with that Mama Mia movie, the music has become really popular again”.
ABBA? Hmmm. Never saw them when the were actually playing. Never owned an album. Never really went out of my way for anything ABBA related. Still, they were innocuous on the radio in years past. I’d recognize some of the music.
“Come on honey, you’re Swedish, you’ll relate to them”, she said. Yeah, in a “pass me another plate of lutefisc” kind of way I thought to myself and summoned up whatever dregs of heritage I could muster to embrace the experience.
It was not quite the crowd I expected, though Belle Chere, Asheville’s big annual music festival, was going on downtown and I’m sure that drew away most of the usual suspects. That crowd had been replaced by another genre of ABBA aficionados – the John McCain Coalition. I know he said he enjoyed them, but I didn’t realize it had become a gray-haired cult (if you had any hair left at all). I felt oddly young. Must be the venue.
All in all, it was not as painful as I expected. When they verified they were actually Swedish by performing “SOS” in their native tongue, they earned my respect. It actually sounded better that way and I hoped they’d sing more in the strange language. It made things far more interesting. And they did actually have some of the original band performers with them to give them more credibility, all whom had unpronounceable names to lend authenticity. I kept thinking through the show, “This is the whitest music I’ve ever heard”, and had a strange urge to follow it up with a performance by James Brown or Rick James just to get my universe back in balance and harmony.
Saturday morning, I saddled up and headed over to the Mountain Mamas Ride In in Maggie Valley where I’d offered to take a small group out for a tour. The “small group” quickly turned into 14 bikes and I had my hands full. I did get a second guide to help ride shotgun, though he bailed on us half way through the trip. To use the old cliche, it was like herding cats. It was an open ride, not a tour, so there were no ground rules or authority to maintain any semblance of order. We spent more than 7 hours doing a ride I normally make in 3, and we missed the best parts. Still, I wore them out and they had an experience to take home. I hope it was a good one.
Today, Sunday, I’m just bobbing around in the current. Need a day to recharge. I did finally start on the last portion of my office, the tables for production and processing. They are drying after being stained and a first coat of varnish in the woodshop. I’m just puttering around, addressing those little honey-do’s and household repairs that have been neglected. Friends are coming over for burgers on the grill later.
Strange kind of weekend. Can’t complain when things get a little weird. Just ride around in the swirl for a while, then it’s back on course tomorrow.
Go To America Rides Maps.com – http://americaridesmaps.com/