A Nasty Mess

The phone was ringing, but I was ignoring it.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of my computer screen.  I could call back R’s sister later; reading the two thousand plus word long missive Elizabeth had sent to the thousands of subscribers to our internet mailing list could not.

I should have known it was coming.  In the weeks since I’d discovered some of Elizabeth’s mistakes, her level of defensiveness and anger about being called out on them grew.  The final straw had been when Elizabeth had refused access to the fan club store to Vivian; she’d wanted to check on the sales figures herself instead of relying on Elizabeth’s emailed reports of what was being sold and how much profit the fan club was due to receive.  I’d tried to stay out of the whole mess until Vivian asked for my help in gaining access; she thought perhaps I had been given some sort of way to get into the storefront since Elizabeth and I were close.  Elizabeth had all of the passwords to the Rick Springfield websites, because I reasoned, there would be times when things would need to be done and I wasn’t available.  We’d always had a level of trust like that amongst the three of us, or so I thought.

Instead, Elizabeth and Vivian started fighting.  Elizabeth said that she didn’t have access to any of the other fan club accounts, and until Vivian trusted her in the same way she was asking Elizabeth to trust, she would have to simply rely on her word.  Things deteriorated quickly, with me in the middle.  Once Vivian found out about the ticketing concerns and the late donation, she made a decision.  She would no longer choose to have Elizabeth working with her or part of the team representing the Rick Springfield fan club.

To a bystander, someone not a part of the heady world of crushes and fandom, it might have seemed no big deal.  People make personnel changes all the time, and at the end of the day, the boss had every right to make such a decision.  But in this world, it was unclear who was the boss.  Was it indeed Vivian, who was president of the fan club and had been the one to pull Elizabeth onto her team?  Or was it Rick himself, who ultimately through granting access and information to us three, made the ultimate decision.  Vivian felt sure it was the former, while Elizabeth lobbied hard to prove it was the latter.

Over the course of several weeks, we tried to keep the division and animosity growing between the three of us private and amongst ourselves. Elizabeth worked hard to try and plead her case to me, to our friend Kim, to Rick’s managers and ultimately to Rick himself.  One the one hand I did feel badly for her, as I knew how much her role had meant to her over the years.  One the other, her complete lack of personal responsibility for her errors gave me pause, serious pause.  I finally told her, after she proposed that Kim and I break with Vivian and join her on her crusade to start a new fan club, that I couldn’t be a part of such an idea.  In a classic case of “you’re either with me or you’re against me,” she asked me to remove any work she’d ever done from our mailing list, from any of the websites she’d helped me with, and warned me that she wasn’t going to be quiet about her dismissal.

But even my wildest imaginings had not prepared me for her angst filled rant, which publicly called into question nearly everything about the fan club and the efforts we worked on to keep fans informed and engaged.  She defended her work without an ounce of guilt, finding rationalizations for every misstep along the way.  My stomach rose into my throat as I read through it, knowing that all the fans would be emailing about for days was this chink in our three way armor.  I always dreaded the idea that fans who didn’t even know me drew all sorts of negative conclusions about me, mostly out of jealousy, spite, or trying to knock me down in Rick’s eyes so that perhaps they could take my place.  Even with all of the negative things I’d been thinking about working for him lately, I still didn’t want to stop working for him through any other reason but my own choice.

More than anything else though, as I read and reread her words I realized something else was bubbling up underneath the surface.  It was sadness.  Perhaps before I had thought that this would all blow over and that somehow Elizabeth and I would remain friends after the smoke cleared away.  But I realized now that it would never happen.  By hitting the Send button on her keyboard this morning, she had effectively and very publicly chosen to end our years long friendship.  I was sure she would argue that it was my own doing by choosing to not support her and her side of the story in our strange celebrity fan triangle, but no matter.  My phone would no longer ring warning me about this or that, I would no longer rant and rave to her on my cell phone on the way to Gymboree, we would no longer go to shows together and sing the chorus together in off key unison.

The phone started ringing again.  I looked to the caller ID and saw the 310 area code:  it was Rick himself.  Time to tear myself away from the computer and see what he had to say about this nasty mess.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: