Bob Dylan / Girl From the North Country

When we lived in a proper house, Daniel owned the ultimate La-Z-Boy. It was absurd. It had not only a built-in massager and heater, but also a mini-fridge that fit an entire six-pack hidden under one of the arm rests. Like I said, absurd.

Dylan hated that chair. It rocked, so he could never jump up on it without getting launched right back out. And he hated that the footrest could fly out on a seeming whim. The footrest didn’t stop at your average 45 degrees, either. This sucker went full horizontal, turning the chair into a veritable bed. Dylan wanted all of us to sit together on the couch as much as possible. He was happiest lounging with both his Humans in close proximity, well away from that rocking, sprawling, humming chair.

Very early in our relationship, before I knew how much Dylan hated the chair, before I came to share his preference for the couch, I gave the La-Z-Boy a try. And because we were in that heady early blush of love where you can’t stand to not be cuddling at all times (she says, as if she doesn’t still insist on cuddling at all times) Daniel joined me in the La-Z-Boy. It was big enough for two.

Daniel was trying to show me how to make that footrest stretch all the way to its most ridiculous extent, and in a flash, the whole dang chair had tipped backward, dumping us out upside down and tangled. And it was the funniest moment. Dan and I looked at each other like startled meerkats and then I started laughing and simply could not stop. I laughed until I wheezed. I laughed until tears were streaming down my cheeks. I laugh-cried until Dylan grunted a superior little, “I told you so.”

I finally caught my breath and said, “It’s like that Bob Dylan song. ‘Whoo-ee, are we gonna set, down into the easy chair.’” And Daniel said, “I guess tonight’s the night, my bride’s a-gonna come.” Pure saccharine, we were.

I may not have known The Grateful Dead before Dan, but I knew Bob Dylan. When I first heard about Dylan the Dog I asked, “Named after Bob?” A test, easily passed. Naturally.

Being in New York gives us so much exposure to art and music. Our access is radically heightened (although we can talk about the prohibitive cost of, well, everything here) and it’s hard to choose where to begin. Dan chose to begin with Bob Dylan.

Dan, a lifelong New Yorker though not a New York City-er, has been to The Beacon more times than he can recall. I’d never been. Making my first trip to see Bob Dylan was pretty magical.

Bob Dylan looked like a tiny, cute Jew on stage, in an oversized blazer and trousers with a racing stripe down the leg. Somehow, he looked exactly like how I imagined our canine Dylan looking like, if he could have transformed into a human. Fitting, isn’t it? And like our beloved Dylan, the human Dylan refused to pander. Bob Dylan did not once acknowledge the audience, who sat respectfully through the entire show (except the two drunk ladies in the front row who stood up to dance for the last half of Jokerman). Bob Dylan did not say hello, goodbye, thanks for stopping by… not a word.

He also has an aggressive stance against any video or photography, so security spent the entire show racing down the aisles, shining flashlights into the faces of everyone who tried to sneak their phones out. We couldn’t believe the utter lack of suave these fools had. Honestly, you’re going to try to sneak another photo and you’re not even gonna turn the damn flash off? Amateurs.

We followed that show up a few weeks later with Girl From the North Country, a musical based on Dylan’s work, at The Public Theater. It was our first trip to The Public, and we were charmed by the many theaters in one building. It’s sort of like a movie theater for live performances. Girl From the North Country does Bob Dylan with his own beautiful, no-nonsense delivery. Same aggressive stance against photo/video too, as the usher gleefully repeated no fewer than three times, “Even during curtain call! If you take a picture I will make you delete it!”

Living among all this beautiful art is as special as I’d imagined it would be— it was one of the parts of NYC living I was most looking forward to. And it’s been amazing. But like all the best art, it wasn’t the consumption that struck me, it was the journey I took, the place those shows led me, that I felt the most.

After our trip to both The Beacon and The Public Theater, I thought about our Dylan, and that night in our ridiculous chair, when we fell over and laughed until we cried. I’m so grateful I have the memory of that night, and that I can be brought back to those little moments with our Dylan, those little moments that built our love and shaped our lives together.

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