When my kids come home from concerts or musical festivals, they are often still wearing the concert wristbands that gave them admission to the event. Boy in Black will sometimes wear a paper wristband for months. I think nine months is his record although that was during a stage in his life when he rarely took showers. Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter used to thumbtack ticket stubs and wristbands to a bulletin board. Or sometimes I’d find the shiny metallic wristbands from a musical festival on her windowsill.
When I came home from the Mountain Goats concert, I didn’t feel like I could just rip the wristband off and toss it aside. It was my first concert wristband. I left the light grey paper band on my right wrist, where it was mostly hidden by long sleeves anyhow. I’m wearing it still.
None of my students have questioned the wristband. They know what it is. College students understand the tradition.
But yesterday morning, I had breakfast with some friends — women my own age or older. As I pulled off my fleece to sit down at the table, one friend said in concern, as she looked at the grey paper band. “What’s that? Have you been in the hospital?”
Yes. That’s what a wristband means at my age.
I think I’m getting old.