Catching Up

“No way.”  I blinked at the screen as I scrolled down the list of available chat rooms that evening in July.  R was at a concert tonight with some of his friends, so I had planned on a quiet evening at home.  I’d already watched a movie on cable with Z, read him a story and tucked him in bed.  It was still early, so I turned on my computer. On the screen, there it was, just begging me to click on it:

RICK SPRINGFIELD FANS

A chat room for fans of Rick Springfield, what a riot, I thought.  I hadn’t thought about him in ages; I wondered what he was up to now.  A quick check of mental math told me that he would be nearly 46 years old now.  I wondered if he was still married?  I’d heard he had two sons now, the second born around the same time as my Zach.  What a wonder to think that I now had something in common with Rick Springfield:  parenthood.  The last I’d heard of Rick, he’d released a horrible TV movie called “Nick Knight”.  I’d watched it while nursing Zachary when he was a baby.  It was about a vampire and I thought at the time that Rick was really needing to pay some bills if he had taken that role.

During my senior year of high school that Rick had to cancel his tour because of an ATV accident.  That was the last music related news I remembered from him.  I’d been looking forward to that tour, having really loved the release it was supposed to support: a record called “Rock of Life”. The whole record was penned in Rick’s rocky period after the birth of his first son and put into song his questioning of life and priorities and fears about parenthood.  These days, I still pulled it out and listened, it having a lot more meaning to me now that I was a working adult and parent.

I wondered if these fans had any information on what Rick Springfield was doing in these summer days of 1995.  I glanced at the room listing again; it looked active; there were fourteen people in it.  Who would I find in a Rick Springfield chat room, I wondered?  Probably a lot of women just like myself, people who had been fans ten years ago and were still interested in what he’d be up to now.

I clicked the “enter” button and scanned the names of those in the room at the right of the screen.  A few of them had obviously Rick Springfield related screen names:  a few with the initials “RLS” in them (Richard Lewis Springthorpe, his given name) and a few that looked like acronyms of his song titles, (LvngInOz, JsGrl).  This made me laugh; I thought it was actually kind of nuts to make your whole online persona based on your personal taste in music.

“Hi Newbie,” typed in one of the chatters within seconds of my entering the room.  This was good chat room etiquette.  I typed a response to the user and waited to see where the conversation led.

“What did everyone think of last week’s episode of High Tide?” was the next sentence that moved across the screen.

I quickly learned that Rick Springfield was indeed up to something these days; he was starring in a TV series I’d never heard of called “High Tide”, about a former cop turned private investigator with a penchant for surfing.  It sounded laughable to me, another role that Rick may have taken to pay some bills, but the prospect of seeing Rick on TV in something current intrigued me.  I asked the group if anyone was from Michigan and when it aired here.  Most of the responses told me that the show wasn’t doing well and that it was airing at odd times of the day and night; Sundays at 1pm, Mondays at 2am, things like that.

I asked if anyone in the group had actually met Rick Springfield, a dream that I couldn’t even imagine realizing.  It turned out that the majority in the room actually had; I couldn’t believe it.  It turned out that a few of them had met him in the 1980s, but more of them met him just a few short years ago, when apparently Rick had run a small tour of clubs and bars.  I flashed back to an invitation that my friend Michelle had issued to me the summer after my mother had passed away; she had been going to see him in Detroit.  I had passed; I just didn’t feel up to it.  Sitting in front of my computer, watching story after story of meeting him after one of those small shows, I could feel my regret bubbling up like water around ice.

It turned out this particular group of women met regularly online, a few times a month, to chat.  They traded information about Rick Springfield as well as sharing information about their families and jobs.  They seemed like friends, even though most of them had never met each other in person.  I marveled at the idea.   Could you have a friend “online”?  Apparently these people did, coming together over the common interest of Rick Springfield.

I knew I’d be back.

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