The Mathematics of Planning an Evening with Amanda Palmer


I’ve agreed to go to an Amanda Palmer concert this fall. The feeling I get from YouTube clips and online comments is that her shows are not exactly orderly affairs. I’m down for some occasional disorder, but I get very anxious when leaving the familiar too far behind.

I’m a fan of Palmer’s work, and of her impressive dedication to working hard, so I’m comfortable with the evening artistically. It’s bound to be an enjoyable concert. The problems start with the venue, St. Andrew’s Hall. I’ve heard of the place but never been there. Unfamiliar location: +2 anxiety

It’s in Detroit, which doesn’t bother me in itself. I know a lot of people who seem to believe that Detroit is a city that exists in a post-apocalyptic alternate reality, where gangs roam the streets on customized jeeps with buzzsaw attachments. On my visits I’ve only seen urban decay, old men, and old prostitutes. Maybe the gangs are seasonal. Wasteland: +0 anxiety, +1 depression

The trouble I have is that I’m not familiar enough with Detroit to be confident of finding the venue. Or parking, for that matter. Yes, I have GPS with my tri-corder. I don’t like leaving that in my car while going into the grocery store for five minutes; I’m certainly not leaving it there for an hour and a half. If I took it into St. Andrew’s, I’d be focussed on it instead of the music. So, no GPS. Navigational challenges: +1 anxiety

Then, of course, there’s the matter of the crowd. Once the music starts I should be fine, but until then my brain will be screaming at me about all the danger represented by people who don’t even know I exist. Stupid brain: +2 anxiety

Why am I going if I’m looking at 5 points of anxiety and 1 of depression? Well, I can’t let this crap rule my life. A concert may not seem like a big deal, but the more I show my brain that I’ll do as I please the easy it gets. I want to play ukulele on open mic nights. I want to attend comic conventions and introduce my work to new people.

I want to go see Amanda Palmer in concert.

Fortunately I’ll be going there with Phil — co-worker and fellow villain on City of Villains. He’s familiar with St. Andrew’s Hall and area, so that’s -3 anxiety right there. Having a friend to distract me from the crowd is at least another -1 anxiety, so I’ll just be dealing with 1 point each of anxiety and depression. That’s perfectly manageable, and the concert should leave me happy and excited overall.

It should also leave me very tired for work the next day, but that’s okay. I’ll just grin maniacally. Let someone else worry for a change.

2 thoughts on “The Mathematics of Planning an Evening with Amanda Palmer

  1. I have to admit, when I first started reading this, I was all ” oh noes! Did I bully him into going?”. Then I was relieved by the end. Glad I can help. Also, of you would like – we can meet at my place, leave your car there, and I can drive. I’m convenient off of 94 and my neighborhood is decent (think yuppie Boystown with a mix of grad students & 1 paranoid former UAW worker peering out windows for neighborhood watch & flavor).

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