After the first band closed out their act people began to move to the front of the stage, against this railing. As a teenage boy, I was there aiming for the front, so I could see one of the bands up close. The Voodoo Glow Skulls were the hardest and loudest of the ska bands performing that night. At the time, that meant I wanted to be in a prime shoving and jumping location. The front would be packed and we would be wild. My friend and I, while waiting, struck up a conversation with the two bouncers.
They said their job was to stop people from getting on the stage. This obvious point lead us to ask an obvious question: what they do if someone jumps the fence. The two became almost gleefully animated, doing a number of semi-joking gestures, they said "We hit them." It made sense. That is a bouncer's job. Sure they jokingly would dance a little while the bands played, but at the end of the night their job was hit people.
They didn't really enjoy standing around, waiting for someone to move. What we thought was so exciting, watching some ska band I would all but entirely forget the existence of in later life, was exciting to me, but they couldn't care less. They told us that they wanted someone to jump the railing. Come across. Shoot for the stage. Then they would get to the good part... y'know...where they hit the guy.
That's really what the bouncers were there to do. Everything else was waiting. I can relate to this. My school spends a week testing students every four months, which means I spend the entire day standing at the back of a classroom, watching nothing. I grade papers and wait for them to finish their work as I pretend to oversee them. But, that's the moment when I really miss teaching. Even when it's exhausting, it feels infinitely more rewarding than the dull waiting that can seem eternal.
I think you can tell you like what you do (or at very least appreciate it) if you are bored by not doing it. When ceaseless periods of "nothing" are happening and you are relieved then you might want to get another job. However, if you get antsy and long to go back to the grind - whether that grind be teaching or busting heads - then it's certainly worth sticking around.
Truth be told, my friend and I began to feel bad for the poor bouncers. There was almost a melancholy behind their eyes. They were genuinely bored and needed someone to hit! So, we asked if one of us jumping the rail would make them happy. "Thrilled!" was the reply. I asked if they would hit me knowing that I was just doing it as a favor. And in dead seriousness they answered they would definitely hit me. They would have to hit me. I considered what was more important, their happiness or my body's well-being.
Eventually, I pulled away from the uncomfortable pressing and shoving that happens toward the front of the stage and was swept into the more intentional and enjoyable shoving that was the mosh pit. I don't really mosh anymore. I don't really go to shows, especially the punk rock or ska variety. I guess I'm just out of the habit. And I have no idea what songs were played that night or what any of the bands looked like... or honestly, what they sounded like. I just remember these two guys who wanted to do their job and how I almost let them beat me up to make their night a little better.