On Thursday I went to a concert that Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall were headlining. It was in this bike shop, and it lasted seven hours. For the first hour, I felt like the girl who went to the prom alone. In between acts, I’d move from place to place in order to get out of someone’s way and avoid looking weird. I was observing. I observed the mom-ish looking figure sitting in the corner, and the people roaming around wearing denim jackets with patches that said “Rat Patrol.” They walked around like they owned the place. You were aware of their presence the whole time, like when you look in a mirror and all you see is the really red zit. I chose to watch them for most of the night. I had to know who they were.

I was standing in a miasma of smoke, and the place was cloaked in this amber light. It made me feel like everything around me was really beautiful, even though I felt out of place. After the first act, two guys told me I looked lonely and offered to buy me beer. “Cool, sure,” I said, brushing some of my hair back. Seeing the x’s on my hands, one of them said, “Ohhh, you’re a baybeeeee. Baby x’s on your baby hands.” They walked away. I spat on my palms and started scrubbing. I had three missions: look less out of place, talk to someone, and learn more about Rat Patrol.

A few minutes later, a girl came up to me and told me she liked my eyeliner. I made a comment about one of the opening bands. She laughed and said something about wanting to know what Rat Patrol was. She offered me a cigarette. At this point, I had accomplished two of my missions. Cigarettes are stupid and will kill you and have zero ability to make you cool or whatever, but having one gives you the ability to socialize and roam about more freely. They’re magic wands of camaraderie.

We hung out some more, and I found out that she and this guy she was with went to my school. We swapped numbers. She told me that I should hang out with them Friday night: “Ohmygod. You have to meet my friend Kate. He’s, like, not even a real person. I’m going to text you, and you’re going to hang with us tomorrow night. I can’t believe I met you here. This is, like, destiny.” She then yelled “destiny” to the sky.

We stayed together for the rest of the night. In between acts, we smoked outside and talked about music, bad TV, and our school. And just because we were there and had a lighter, people would come talk to us.

She left before the last act, so I went and sat outside next to a bonfire. I looked around and saw those kids with the denim jackets. One of them said goodbye to his friends before riding away on a mutant bicycle that was twice his height. It must have felt like flying.

The people I met never texted me, but I don’t really care, because they didn’t owe me anything. I had a good time and figured out how not to be a mopey loser when I go out solo. It temporarily pulled me out of the funk I was in. Yeah, going alone was lame, but I think it’s good to just do things so you don’t drown in a pathetic pool of self-pity. And if I had the confidence to do this, maybe I have the courage to talk to the kids in my lit class whom I think are cool. ♦