Several times a year, Jesse and I wage war against the masses.
Three laptops, two cellphones, and an iPad ablazin' are our weapons of choice in the epic battle that is purchasing concert tickets.
Invariably, one of us is freaking out - war is really stressful, you know? Our cat, Punim, on the other hand, sits bedside and tends to not care at all. But she has no idea how important this is.
They're just tickets, you say? Not for Jesse and me. Although it isn't life or death, it is love.
Jesse and I are both intense fans. We put our lives on hold, take days off work, and spend inordinate amounts of money to satiate our need to be in the same room with the bands we love.
But our love stories have a twist: Jesse puts up with my band; I can't stand his.
The last time we did battle together was for tickets to see Bruce Springsteen, of whose church I have been a member for years. Jesse doesn't really care about Springsteen. But he knows I do. He knows that I openly weep during live renditions of "Thunder Road," and he thinks it's only a little weird. He knows I blew our "austerity measures" - a term he hates that I use anyway to describe our wedding budget - so I could get tickets to Springsteen's September Citizens Bank Park shows.
And he was happy when I forced him to drive to State College in April so he could see his first Springsteen show with me. And he put on a brave face when our friends' car broke down on the way back to Philly, and we spent seven hours hanging outside a Harrisburg mechanic's shop.
Because he has a thing, too.
The first time Jesse and I teamed up for his cause, it was for tickets to see Phish, a band I mercilessly mocked when we were still just friends.
Now we were a couple, and he sat on my couch, sweating for tickets for Phish's two-night stand at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts - much as he did for this week's show there. He didn't need to explain why he was pacing, or why he was nervous. It was our first battle together, and we fought valiantly.
But while Jesse puts up with the Boss, I actively (and loudly) hate Phish. The two times I've seen Phish with Jesse, I didn't go quietly into that dark night. I complained about the people, the music, and, most of all, the set break. "Pish," I will say to literally anyone who will listen to me, "Springsteen is an AARP member, and he doesn't need to take a break."
And, no, I'm not sure why Jesse likes me, either.
Last year, a victorious fight ended with Jesse and me in the pit of a Phish show, packed tightly in with others who shared the same feeling of his euphoria.
The crowd swelled with intensity and excitement. There is nothing more alien than not experiencing the same feeling that the hundreds of people around you are sharing.
But as the music began, Jesse put his hands on my shoulders, and I felt a different kind of euphoria. I'd been here before, just in a different place, at a different time.
I know what it's like to stand for hours waiting for Springsteen to start, to unconsciously push my body closer to the stage to be just inches closer, to feel that swell of pure emotion by proximity to greatness.
These were not my people. But they were Jesse's. And Jesse is my people.
When our friends have asked me about my Phish experiences, I respond, "I really like watching Jesse have a good time."
I put a lot of snarky spin on my answer - once again, not entirely sure why Jesse likes me - and people laugh because they think I have nothing else nice to say. But it's not really a joke. I do love watching him be so happy - especially because I know what that happiness feels like.
Our friends ask Jesse why he wants me to come with him when I'm in clear agony. He shrugs and says something about how he loves me despite my abject annoyingness (which is coincidentally what he told me when he proposed).
These concerts are our paradise, our spoils after war. And if there's one person we want to share it with, it's the person who gets it the most.
My punk-rock-loving teenage self would look at 30-year-old me and say, "Really, Molly, I've survived mosh pits and grungy bathrooms and broken glasses in the service of real music just so you could end up with a guy who loves everything you deplore about the art form?"
And I would say right back to that snotty brat, "Yeah, but at least he loves something."
I've dated guys who couldn't name their favorite bands, and one who would have saved his entire record collection over me if it came to a Sophie's Choice situation, but it has never felt the same as knowing what it's like to love one band as much as we do.
We both share a passion for something that is outside of ourselves. Because we love something else, we love each other more.
The next time Jesse and I wage war in our ticket-buying battle, it will be different from the first time we bought Phish tickets together in my Bella Vista studio.
We'll be at the Point Breeze home we just bought together. We'll be married.
But we'll still be together on our bed, technology at the ready for any obstacles in our way.