Disappointment can be seen on certain people’s lips. This is something I discovered through personal experience. Our family has a long-standing tradition of beginning the new year with a well-attended church service. Curiosity drove me to investigate whether the feeling of beginning a new year could be improved by participating in an entirely different activity. I went to a reggae concert with some friends. However, this was my lesson: whilst the unknown is enticing, nothing can be reliably judged at face value, and we often discover that with much maturity, we enjoy that which we take for granted because of its familiarity. My expectations were raised as high as Maya Angelou’s in graduation. Angelou’s narration of graduation recounts the high hopes of everyone in a little girl in the face of graduation. The little girl, Angelou, in turn, gets even more expectant about the upcoming ceremony without even an inkling of what emotions the ceremony would evoke in her. Angelou describes that she is perfectly dressed and that: “My dress fitted perfectly and everyone said that I looked like a sunbeam in it.” (49). My excitement about the concert, just like hers, was drawn from what others had said about the ceremony. Everyone said it was a moment to behold, but I had never attended another concert before, just as Angelou had never graduated before. I was, therefore, open to the experience but with high expectation.
My friends and I left for the concert in good time, and we arrived two hours before midnight. The mood was brilliant, and everyone around us was jubilant. Eagerly, we sat among the crowd, with high expectations. The crowd kept growing as more people trickled in. Soon, the field was comparable to Angelou’s graduation scene. In Angelou’s words, ” I couldn’t look behind me, but to my left and right” (51). Although I had not yet seen the magic I had hoped, I was still high with expectation as I awaited the performance of my favorite songs. However, the reggae concert turned out to be a bitter disappointment for me.
In my expectation, the music was melodious, and the dancing was ethereal. This seemed to be a very sharp contrast to the reality. By midnight, the music was painfully loud, and the words were even inaudible. I was no longer enjoying the concert. Furthermore, most of the people attending the concert were already drunk, and their company was no longer pleasant. The place was chaotic with so much commotion. Worse still, my friends seemed to be having a good time and ignored my pleas to leave the concert early. I was feeling alone in a crowd. Tortured by the morning chill, I went to sleep in the vehicle until around five in the morning when my friends came, and we headed home.
One month down the line, I appreciate the family tradition of having the new years celebration in the church service. The stark contrast of my expectations of the evening at the reggae concert and the reality only serve to reinforce my disdain for the experience. Furthermore. I now understand that although unfamiliar experiences may seem appealing, they cannot be accurately be assessed and that often, we appreciate that which we take for granted because of after the alternative disappoints.
Angelou, Maya. “The Graduation.” I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. New York: Random House, 1969. Print.