Author life, Non Mom Life

Springsteen tickets go on sale today. And for the first time, I may not go.

Springsteen tickets go on sale today for DC. And for the first time since 2003, I don’t know what I’m going to do about that.

Normally, I’d be preparing ahead of time. Rebooting my computer, a chromebook, my phone, and getting my husband to do the same with his devices. Historically, I’ve done better in the app than on the computer, but it’s best to be ready for anything. Make sure my credit cards are updated in my Ticketmaster account. Coordinate which shows my parents want and get some friends to help as well.

But today, I don’t know that I’m buying tickets. Not with the price hike.

I set a limit for Springsteen on Broadway, which my husband promptly ignored and bought us better seats for more than I was comfortable spending. And while I was happy to go, we had a conversation about listening to what I say after that, because we went way beyond the price point that I was comfortable at.

July 7, 2021

In previous years, GA tickets (for which you would enter a lottery system to wind up down front), cost about $100. That went up to $150 in 2016. And with Ticketmaster fees added in and a second ticket for my husband, that meant we were looking at around $450 for a show. At that rate, I wasn’t doing what I did when I was single in 2012 and going to four shows in the same week.

Now, a single GA ticket is $450. After Ticketmaster fees, that’s probably $600. Add in a second ticket and we’re at $1200. Add a babysitter (I was pregnant in 2016 and had to convince a VERY kind security person to let me take crackers into Nats Park so I wouldn’t throw up) and with how long Bruce plays, we’re looking at $1350. For a single show. And that’s IF we can get them at face value, which with the Platinum pricing fiasco, is a slim chance.

Yes, I’m a bestselling author now (that feels so weird to say), but that’s not covering enough to justify that price point. We need a new car soon. Our kitchen desperately needs a makeover. And eventually, my kids are going to need to go to college.

I’m going part-time at school this year, mostly to get my five year old to kindergarten in the morning, which we’re able to do because we went from paying $42,000 a year in daycare/preschool to $28,000 a year and because of the books. But I still can’t spend 3-4 weeks of grocery money on a single concert.

I don’t begrudge Bruce making money. Do I think he needs that much more when he just sold his catalogue to Sony for half a billion dollars? No. I know the rich are different and I can’t put a value on what he’s added to my life. But I’m sad that he’s priced me out of one of the biggest things that brought me joy before I had my kids.

I also know I’m going to get two VERY different types of responses to this post. The non-Springsteen fanatics are sitting there calculating how much I spent over the years on 42 shows at the earlier price points and thinking I’m insane for that, let alone contemplating what they are now. And the diehard Springsteen fans are sitting there saying, “You’re making a choice. You can always make more money. Go to the show.”

There’s also always the third option of getting cheapie seats. But I’ve sat in the 400s at Capitol One (It will ALWAYS be the Verizon Center in my head and nothing will ever change that. I still call Jiffy Lube Nissan, and I refuse to call National Airport anything other than National Airport. Deal with it.). And I’ve had my elbows on the stage. I don’t want to pay $400 (with the babysitter factored in) to squint at the screens, while tiny, E Street Band shaped ants perform on stage.

I also know that this is the biggest first world problem ever. Poor me, I can’t justify spending the money to be in the pit for my forty-third show. But I suppose this is also me saying I’ve grown up. And instead of the Wendy who wraps her legs ‘round these velvet rims and straps her hands ‘cross these engines, I’m the Wendy who is ever so much more than twenty. I grew up a long time ago.

In the video of me on-stage, when I get back into the pit, you can see me texting someone. It was my now-husband. That concert happened between our first and second dates. And I told him I was dancing on stage that night before it happened. And he later said that he was like, “who IS this girl?” because I knew what I wanted and I made it happen and so few people go for it like that.

I want to go to the shows. But I want what’s best for my family more. And I didn’t have the responsibilities that I have now, then.

What’s actually going to happen when the tickets go on sale?

I don’t know the answer.

I might cave. And my husband will say we should go to the show if that happens, although I’ll spend months second guessing myself and debating selling the tickets.

I might stay strong and say no, I’m not spending that much.

Either way, I’m probably going to cry and hope this new book sells crazily well so that I can go without feeling guilty.

But I know I’m not the only fan today sitting around, thinking ‘bout Glory Days.

Non Mom Life

This teacher wants gun control, not more guns in schools

I’m going to step outside of the mom box this week for a serious post.

As everyone knows, I’m also a teacher.  And this past week was rough if you work in a school.

I’ll preface all of what I’m about to say with this: I feel safe in my school.  I feel safe with my students. In fact, I’m confident that if there were a threat and one of my students knew about it, they would tell me because my students trust me.  (That’s one of the things about running the newspaper–I teach the kids for three to four years, so I become their school mom.  They tell me EVERYTHING.)  And I don’t have a single student whom I have those kind of concerns about–granted, I teach electives this year, so my kids all chose to be in my class, but I have a great group of kids.

With all of that said, I know that this kind of violence can happen anywhere in today’s world and that no one is safe anymore.  And while that was always scary as a teacher, it became even scarier now that I’m a mother, both because I want to be safe to see my son grow up, but also because I’m going to have to send him out into this world.

I try not to get into Facebook fights with the right wing, but sometimes it’s unavoidable, and this was one of those weeks.  Because no matter what anyone says, guns are the problem.  I know some of you reading this may argue about your rights and self defense and hunting and yada yada yada, but the reality is that no civilian NEEDS a semi-automatic weapon. Weapons weren’t what they are today when the founding fathers wrote the law–not to mention that they also wrote laws saying women couldn’t vote and slavery was legal.  There are times when laws need to be modified.

I’m aware that I’m not going to change anyone’s mind with this and that anyone who is vehemently pro-guns has already stopped reading to leave me a nasty comment.  

But one of the biggest arguments I’m seeing right now is that arming teachers would prevent this kind of tragedy.

Just yesterday, Trump said, referring to Aaron Feis, whose name he appeared to have forgotten: “If the coach had a firearm in his locker, when he ran at this guy — that coach was very brave, saved a lot of lives, I suspect — but if he had a firearm, he wouldn’t have had to run. He would have shot, and that would have been the end of it.”

As a teacher, let me break down why that won’t work.

Problem #1: I refuse to carry a gun, let alone shoot someone.  The day that I’m told that a requirement of teaching English is being willing to kill someone is the day I leave the profession. End of story. And I’m not alone in that.  Just because people who own guns are willing to use them does NOT mean that teachers have to be willing to kill someone to do their job.  You’re going to find yourself with a serious teaching shortage the second you expect us to also be security and a private police force.

Problem #2: Say I had a gun in school–I’m 5’6 and a size small.  While I’m sure I’d be plenty intimidating with my big, bad gun to elementary and maybe middle school students, I’m still 5’6.  Most of my male, high school students are bigger than me.  Some pretty significantly so.  If they wanted to take a gun away from me, whether in trying to be funny or in all seriousness, short of shooting them, I don’t have a way to stop that.  Am I supposed to shoot a kid if he or she is joking around and goes for my gun?  Because I have at least one student (whom I’ve taught for four years and adore), who is a huge clown and would take it just to show he could, even though he’d never hurt a fly. Should I kill him?

Problem #3: While putting more guns in schools may protect you from grizzlies, as Betsey DeVos so eloquently said, it raises the likelihood of a student being shot accidentally.  And even in the event of a mass shooter, you’d have to be a hell of a shot to take out someone who’s firing an AR-15 at you with a handgun.  You can train people with guns all you want, but the reality is that a shootout in the halls doesn’t end well for anyone.

But even people who understand that arming teachers isn’t the solution aren’t always seeing that the only thing that can stop mass shootings is gun control.

The Barracuda Defense System barricade is making the rounds on the internet right now and being touted as a way to prevent fatal school shootings.  However, this would neither have prevented the situation in Florida, nor would it make a difference in most schools.  

First of all, the shooter in Florida pulled the fire alarm, so many of the students and teachers whom he hit were in the halls, not locked in classrooms.  

Second, once the code red was announced, the classroom doors were locked.  That wasn’t the issue–the issue was that almost all classroom doors everywhere have windows.  Those windows are important because they allow people walking by, on normal instructional days, to see what’s going on in a classroom.  They prevent illegal activities behind closed doors.  They make schools safer–except when someone has a gun.  The Parkland shooter, by all accounts, did not enter any classrooms.  He fired at students in the hall and then fired through classroom windows.  So while that device could be useful if classroom doors no longer had windows, it’s useless otherwise.

Northeast Security Solutions has a great post on the other safety hazards of these, if you’d like to read more.

The one and only thing that will prevent further mass shootings is gun control.  Plain and simple.

I want to see my son grow up.  I want to see my students grow up and have children of their own.  And I think that’s worth revisiting the regulations on guns.