Friday, August 11, 2023

Barbie, Beyonce, and Bucket Lists

If someone asked me to provide a description of my first weekend of August 2023, those would be the words I would use. 

I know that I said that I wouldn't do a recap or review of the Barbie movie, and while this is kind of a cheat, I do feel compelled to offer a brief paragraph or two of my perspective. Because I have seen all kinds of opinions and weird takes, and I swear, some of you just want to something to complain about. Which is ridiculous since it is a movie based on a toy.

Perhaps everyone is used to movies about toys being overly sentimental or centered on the ones that explode or destroy things, I guess the very non-violent and only mildly dystopian premise of a Barbie doll that gains sentience and crosses over from a land of make-believe into the real world really warped your sense of things for a minute or so. I mean, it must have been really hard to fathom a world in which a fictional depiction of the Mattel corporate boardroom as men in suits or warring factions of Ken dolls fighting for relevance in a music video wasn't intended to convince your daughters to challenge the patriarchy. Of course it was, but then again, was it? 

Think about this way: Mattel is pre-selling Weird Barbie for $50, which is more than what I've paid for every Inspiring Women series Barbie doll that I won't let my Kid touch. Now, there are various collectible dolls selling for many times that amount, but the point was and still is that this film is nothing more than a 2-hour commercial meant to sell grown women! Because the audience for this film is not your rebellious teenage daughter who stopped playing with her Barbies right after you built her that Dream House that takes up too much space in the garage.

Now we're going to do an abrupt pivot to the Beyonce concert (because I have a lot more to say about that, and I'm bursting at the seams to share)! I realize that even revealing the details of how I decided to get tickets will polarize people into various factions: those who think it was crazy to spend that kind of money to see Beyonce; those who wish they had that kind of money to spend on Beyonce tickets; and those who enjoyed the show because seeing Beyonce live is a BFD!

Let's start with the latter group. In February, I floated a query to a group of friends regarding tickets and for the most part, most of them responded with disinterest. So it was on a far-fetched whim that I even put my bid into the lottery system to purchase tickets because I figured it was a long shot in the dark. Worst case scenario, I wouldn't make the lottery; best case scenario, I would get a chance, see the prices, and get a good laugh once my credit card got declined. Welp...

A week later I got notification that I was in the lottery and suddenly, I felt like this was akin to playing high stakes poker with a Bond villain. I logged into my Ticketmaster account an hour earlier than the appointed time and made it clear to everyone in the house that I was not to be disturbed. I refreshed my screen and dove into the queue, where I was informed that I would have to wait behind at least a thousand people. But that process went very quickly and within half an hour, I was clicking around the seating chart to see what seats were affordable and still available. As it turns out, I got pretty good seats for someone who approached this on a whim and a long shot (four tickets plus fees for less than my monthly mortgage). 

I decided that I would reserve one ticket for the Niece, and I think she had a good time (as you can see from this picture, it's hard to tell with teenagers). My friend AH claimed the other two tickets for her and her daughter. Several people asked, but no, the Kid was never in my plan because of her age and my belief that it all would have been way too much for both of us, so I took videos to share with her afterwards. My other Niece, same age as the Kid, made me pinky-swear promise to take her the next time, so God willing and the creek don't rise, I've got at least two more companions for the next Beyonce show that comes our way. So yes, that answers your next question.

To answer your third question, YES, it is worth making such a promise to make plans to see the next Beyonce show, even if that means I need to start saving my pennies now. Beyonce is worth ALL of the hype, similar to how many of us felt when Michael Jackson and Prince were alive. I can say that I saw both of them perform live and those experiences were unforgettable. She is definitely on that level. I am sure that there are others (Elton John comes to mind) and I wish that I hadn't missed that boat when it came sailing through. No matter though, because I have a bucket list of performers and will make it my business to be blessed to see each one. To be totally honest though, Beyonce wasn't even on that original list.

So let's address the desires of those who wish they could have been there. Several years back, an acquaintance posted on Facebook about folks needing to be ready with their Beyonce ticket money at a moment's notice, and I thought, hmm easy to say when one doesn't have responsibilities. At the time, I believe my Kid was still a Toddlersaurus and the Niece was about her age now. I didn't bother to look into getting tickets nor did I survey any of my friends, even though several people I knew ended up going. In one case, someone had an extra ticket and asked a friend if he wanted it. Sometimes we get blessed at random when someone decides to cast their bread upon the waters.

For the rest of us who want to see Beyonce or check off some adventure from our bucket lists, we've got to just decide to do it. That isn't just about concerts, but about most things in life. A lot of people assumed that the ticket prices would be beyond reach, so they didn't try, but it wasn't like that at all. Some people even bought tickets the day of the show for pretty reasonable regular prices, and I'm happy for them. Broadway tickets are sometimes sold at a same-day discount, so maybe one day the Kid and I will stumble into Hamilton or some other fabulous show she wants to see (such as The Six). Most times, however, fortune favors the brave; therefore, make up your mind now that you do have Beyonce ticket money. Decide that if the opportunity presents itself, you will just throw caution to the wind, throw your shit into a bag, and just go for it! 

Mind you, I am not always that impulsive, but as I have gotten older, I've accepted that sometimes it makes so much more sense to roll the dice than to play it safe. I'm not saying that I was too cautious when I was younger (actually, yes I am), but I think that if I had been a little less so, I wouldn't feel like I missed out on so much. I only saw MJ once, in 1984 because that's the only time an effort was made. I was blessed with free Prince tickets in 2004, but that was random luck. Looking back, maybe I should have been more willing to venture outside of my comfort zone instead of telling myself that I might not succeed so why try...

I know, we were talking about Beyonce tickets, so to those who think it was crazy, you are right! And I've already declared that I would do it again, so there's that. So as not to provoke too much social media envy, I have been very mindful about over-sharing because it feels like the exact opposite of a humble brag. Yet at the same time, I'm not sure why I should feel any kind of way considering how many of y'all post pictures of your vacations on Martha's Vinyard and Dubai. I've never been to either of those places, but now I'm thinking of a master plan.

I'm not mad at you...YOLO so Carpe diem!

Which brings us to the topic of bucket lists. Last year, many of my friends turned 50 and as some of you are aware, the Busy Black Woman will reach that golden shore later this year. I am all over the place with various emotions. There are days when I think YAY, and then there are days when I look back and wonder where the years went and how did I get here. Actually, my thoughts use more colorful language, but the end result is the same. Not only are these gray hairs hella disrespectful, but so are these hot flashes and the accompanying brain fog. I cannot believe I have lived almost 50 years!

With four months to go, I have no idea how to celebrate. I think the Hub had plans, but then our bedroom ceiling collapsed, and the Kid keeps growing taller. So that means being practical...but is that how I want to start my next half century? What did Barbie do? I think she changed her hair and stopped wearing heels, but she's a toy, so maybe a better question is what will Beyonce do? I'm pretty sure I'll get my answer when I take the girls to see her on her next world tour.

Since I don't have Mattel or Jay-Z money, I believe a viable alternative to renting the Louvre or opening my own amusement park is to just say Yes. I have already alluded to that with respect to having your ticket money ready, but this is about more than just going to shows. This is about being open to living and experiencing more than what you have been doing. It means setting intentions--not just of the things you want to do before you kick some metaphorical bucket (because we know not the day nor the hour), but what things do you want to have done that will fill your bucket with memorable experiences? Did you want to backpack across Europe at some point? Did you want to go on Safari in some African country? Did you want to drive cross-country in an RV? Did you want to ride every wooden roller coaster that you were too young to ride as a child? Did you take a language and wish you had become fluent? Did you play an instrument?

Are you getting the point? 

Now back to the Barbie movie, because the ending offers the perfect message for concluding this piece: once you get a taste of living, it is hard to go back to just existing. It becomes an existential dilemma to return to your box or your imaginary world where things seemed perfect. You've got to make moves, decisions, take action. You went to see Beyonce and now you're thinking as you are preparing and packing for a week at the same beach where you've been going for about ten years that maybe next summer you'll go somewhere different.

It's time to go back to Homecoming for the first time in years. It's time to put that passport to use, even if you're not crossing the ocean, just playing in it. When was the last time you went to an amusement park and rode an old wooden roller coaster? Now that you've gone out into the real world, it's hard to go back to being stereotypical Barbie. Or to being a predictable, practical Busy Black Woman.

No comments:

Post a Comment