Stranded with only my morning jacket.

I feel entirely too old for concerts, especially weekday concerts in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Months ago, I had purchased tickets to see one of my favorite bands, Band of Horses. A few years back, I had missed their show and just last year, I had to give away my tickets because of a scheduling conflict. Rain was in the forecast and I was very unfamiliar with Oakland University or Meadow Brook Amphitheater but it would not deter me from making the two hour drive on a Tuesday. I was meeting a friend up there and was already running behind. Band of Horses was opening the show for My Morning Jacket and I didn’t want to miss one minute. Perfect weather, great venue, and I was sprawled out in the plush green grass; listening to my favorite band on a cool summer night. What could go wrong?

BoH was perfect, as I sang along with every song. I was loving life. I intended on possibly just staying for the opener, but as short as the setlist was (1 hr), I decided that I would give MMJ a chance and listen to a few songs, take off and be home by 11. Perfect night with a splash of responsibility. I am a true believer in moderation, and everything in the long run will be better when you keep that in mind. My Morning Jacket was incredible live and although I didn’t really give them a chance going into the show, I became an instant fan. I decided that I had had enough as it was nearing 9pm. I was in the 10% that came to see Band of Horses and I was in the 2% that was leaving well before the show was over.

As I said my goodbyes, I felt around my jean pockets for my keys and I could not find them. It wasn’t a complete surprise because I am known for misplacing things as my pockets are usually overfilled. I quickly looked around the grass and decided to check by my truck in the parking lot. Nothing. This is the point where my heart started to sink. I had left my truck unlocked and was still fairly certain that my keys were probably under the seat or misplaced upon the floor. Nope. I had that what do I do feeling. It wasn’t as though I was thousands of miles away from home but it was still a very helpless experience. Especially knowing that nothing could help the situation except for finding my keys. I have to give credit to the staff at Meadow Brook. I had cops, cops with flashlights, cleaning crews, and ushers searching and kicking throughout the parking lot field of grass. Before I knew it, the entire show was over.

I walked back into the venue (I was previously told I could not re-enter, but everyone knew me as the Toledo kid that lost his keys by now) and searched every area I had walked, sat or laid down in. If only I could have started my truck with empty bottles of whiskey, I would have been set. I had to resort to plan B. Cab home, taxi to a hotel, tow, or use a screwdriver to get it started. I resorted to calling a taxi and staying in a cheap motel for the night in hopes that someone could bring me my keys in the morning. I had thought about sleeping inside the truck but my phone was slowly dying. Work just wasn’t happening at this point. Responsibility was also lost somewhere with my keys and may I please make note that I only had one drink (and intended on that).

I grabbed any and all sweatshirts from the inside of my truck (in case I needed to walk or wait) and I closed the door to my truck. The light didn’t go off. Unbelievable. I locked the doors and left the dome light on. I’m a strong believer in faith so I took another stroll through the venue, hoping for some sort of miracle. I walked back to my truck one last time to find that someone wrote duh on my window with their finger in the now dewy cold night that it had become. Well done and deserved. I was picked up by a staff member and given a lost and found number as I was lead to the main entrance to wait for a cab. It was now nearing midnight and the cab company had told me that it would be a 30-40 minute wait. As I sat on the curb alone, I saw waives and heard faint shouts of good luck as cars passed by. I was the last person to leave the venue last night. I even saw the porta potty/groundskeeper pass me by. It was nearing 1am the following day.

I glanced over to the now entirely empty field to see a black truck by itself, with the light on. I shook my head. Repeatedly. I was picked up by the cab driver and I told him that I needed a cash machine and a cheap hotel. During the brief trip, we discussed life as he was unprovoked in recommending all the adult entertainment spots in and around Auburn Hills, Michigan. As we pulled into a local bank, it took me fifteen minutes to get my atm card to swipe in those damn “put in, pull out” machines. (Send me a new one already). I was dropped off at a Red Roof Inn. I walked in and the lady said I was “in luck”. She had just a few rooms left and they were a hundred dollars because of the concert and near capacity. It didn’t matter at this point. Nothing really did but getting my wet shoes and socks off my feet. I looked behind me and ask the lady if that McDonalds was open because I had not had the chance to eat the entire night. She said it’s open all night, well, ..the drive through and I needed a car. Ironically. I walked towards my room and proceeded to pull out a five dollar bill from with my pocket for a vending machine that only took dollar bills. I glanced at the Cheez-Its and walked away in utter disappointment as I collapsed on my bed fully clothed and fell asleep to a Spanish infomercial.

I awoke this morning with very little sleep if any at all and my phone at 10%. I walked to the McDonalds for a cup of coffee. It was rather warm this morning compared to yesterday as most of the patrons were wearing shorts and shirts. I had on two sweatshirts, jeans, and my socks were still slightly soaked. I checked my arms and legs for bed bugs as I sipped on my coffee and strolled around outside. I had no idea where I was exactly. Thankfully, my sister drove my spare key up to me from Toledo and by around 1pm the following day, I was finally heading home. I have to thank my family, Jodi and Drew for their concern and help. If I learned anything, it’s to not lose my keys, but what I really took with me, is that the gesture of help/concern is priceless. I would have never, ever wanted anyone to drive up that late, but just a text showing concern made a huge difference. I can’t even tell you how many people knew, and never even responded. In fact, I’m sure work was pissed at me and still wondered if I was going to make it in later. I absolutely hate my job. I’m going to say it. Beating a horse with a whip isn’t going to make it run any faster on its own. Being busy and expecting to go above and beyond at your job doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be miserable to go to. That doesn’t have to go hand in hand. Unhappiness, yelling, anger…it’s hard to deal with this on an almost daily basis. I’d pick up horse manure if the environment was enjoyable.

How do you measure friendships or kindness? The willingness to help someone move? Knowing their birthday and acknowledging it? Being in their wedding? Getting a helping hand when in need? A text? I know how I measure genuineness. This is what I’ve learned.

I live my life trying to be genuine. I seldom say no. In fact, I try to go out of my way as much as possible to exceed the expectations of those around me, including co-workers. If someone needs something, asks for something, I try to make it happen. On my lunch, stay late at work, or during my personal time. I’ve asked for something at work that would take five minutes to do. (four times). Nothing. It bothers me immensely as you can see. It boggles my mind that people are only concerned about themselves. Like my keys, kindness and generosity has been lost and I may never find them where I am. Although, from what I’ve lost, I have gained the determination to make a change. This is what I truly wish to find..

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