You Don't Know

This one goes out to all of you who are stuck in your ways.  All of you who believe that you know what you like.  Thus, you aren’t open to anything other than what you already know that you already like.  (Before you go off all offended, I am talking about myself.)  So, sit back and let me tell you a little story. 


My wife, Michelle, bought us an experience and gave it to me as a Christmas gift.  See, while I was waiting in the hospital for my heart transplant, I became very attached to the song “You Say” by Lauren Daigle.  It became my theme song, so-to-speak, for the month and a half stay at the Tampa General Hospital Resort and Spa.


Well, over the past two years, since my transplant, we have tried, on two separate occasions, to see Lauren Daigle in concert, to no avail.  Just before Christmas, Michelle discovered that she would be performing at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Florida in March of 2022.  Michelle was determined to do whatever she needed to do to secure tickets, so that we could finally see her in concert.


The successful acquisition of two tickets only came after waiting on hold as she drove to work and as she sat in meetings at work.  None-the-less, off to the Strawberry Festival we would be going on Saturday, March 5, 2022.  Yet, Michelle felt that she could get more bang for the buck out of this gift if the Lauren Daigle concert was simply the icing on the cake. 


So, she booked a Vrbo for the Friday night, prior to the concert.  Along with Boyz II Men concert tickets.  See they were also performing at the Strawberry Festival, but on Friday night.  Michelle then booked a tour of a local winery on Saturday, between the two concerts.  She then bundled the whole thing up into one masterfully presented Christmas gift for me. 


Upon opening the gift, I was excited to finally be able to see Lauren Daigle, after two years.  And to finally go to the Strawberry Festival, after twenty-two years.  The Boyz II Men concert and the winery thing I could have done without.  But I knew that Michelle was excited, so I was excited.  (Remember this story is for all of us who think that we already know what we like.)   


The day finally came for us to head up to Plant City.  We checked into the cutest little Vrbo.  It was basically a well-appointed tiny house, up on stilts.  We unpacked and then excitedly headed off to the Strawberry Festival.  Now remember, I have been looking forward to going to the Strawberry Festival, because I had heard about it over the last twenty-two years.    


Before we even arrived, we found ourselves sitting in traffic.  For Plant City is nothing but a small town with two-lane roads.  And every year they open their doors to the whole entire world.  At least that’s how it seemed. 


We finally made our way into a parking lot, parked the car and walked into the festival.  Now to tell you that the place was crowded would be an understatement.  I have never suffered from any kind of anxiety in a crowd.  But on this night, with all of the people pressing in all around me, all of the lights, buzzers, music and carny-callers – you know the men and women, and in this case children, that heckle you to come and spend your money playing their game so that you can win an overstuffed unicorn or in this case, a strange looking strawberry humanoid – I was feeling it.  Or should I say, I wasn’t feeling it.


Michelle and I quickly made our way to the stadium, bought a funnel cake, sat down right outside the gate to the stadium and waited for the doors to open.  All we wanted to do was get in and find our sets for the Boyz II Men concert.  A concert that I wasn’t particularly exited about attending, but Michelle was very excited.

About a half-hour later the concert started and WOW!  I was blown away.  One of the best concerts that I have seen.  They rocked.  They harmonized beautifully.  They did covers of Journey, Eric Clapton and The Beatles.  They had the whole crowd, me included, eating out of the palm of their hands.  When it was over I was sad. I didn’t want it to end.


Later that night, as we sat on the porch of our tiny house, I realized that I didn’t like the Strawberry Festival, which I thought I was going to enjoy.  And I loved the Boyz II Men concert, that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy at all.  I told Michelle how glad I was that she bought those tickets and I just kept repeating, “What I thought I would like I didn’t, and what I thought I wouldn’t like, I did.”          


The next day came and it was time to go to the winery tour and tasting.  Another event that I originally felt that I wouldn’t enjoy.  But, you guessed it, I loved it.  It was so much fun learning about how the wines were made.  It was a blast hanging with Michelle as the bartender explained the intricate details of each of the wines that we got to sample.  When it was time to leave, just like the concert the night before, I didn’t want it to end.  But we had to get back to the Strawberry Festival, something that I thought I would like but I didn’t, for the Lauren Daigle concert.  Something that I was sure to love.    


If I thought the Strawberry Festival was crowded the night before, it was nothing compared to the monstrous crowd that was there on this Saturday night.  The winery was only a few miles from the festival but it took us over an hour to get in and park the car.  The walk from the parking lot to the stadium was like swimming though a sea of humans.  Along with all of the lights, buzzers, music and carny-callers.  It took us so long that we didn’t even have time to get a funnel cake before going into the concert.


Once inside the stadium we could see that the crowd was huge.  It was later announced that it was the second largest crowd for a concert in Strawberry Festival history, behind Reba McEntire.  Yet, we had made it.  So, let the music happen.  Something that I was sure to enjoy.  This concert, after all, was to be the icing on the cake. 


Well, the music happened, but nothing much else.  It was the total opposite concert experience from the night before.  Lauren Daigle is a great singer, but there was very little showmanship.  It was as if I was sitting in a crowded stadium, listening to a CD.  This concert was the icing on the cake, like I expected.  I just didn’t think the cake would be a weekend of really enjoying things that I would have never thought would be enjoyable.  And not enjoying things that I was sure would be enjoyable.



The moral of the story is this: You don’t know.  You think you know, but you don’t know.  So, get out there.  Expand your horizons.  Be open to anything other than what you already think you know you already like.