Make It A Good One

“Oh, boy,” I said as I walked off of the elevator and saw the Holiday Inn’s lobby full of people.

“What?” asked my friend Sue, slowing her pace and stepping off to the side with me.

“He’ll be here any minute.  That’s why all of those women are congregated there.”  My eyes scanned the group of women sitting on every available seating implement in the lobby.  I had stepped back, away from the group.  I didn’t want to be in the group of Super Fans that lay in wait for Rick Springfield in the hotel lobby of a Holiday Inn in Waterbury, CT.

It was April, 2009.  It had been two and a half years since I’d seen the man in person, since that fateful weekend when I’d proposed an online fan membership idea to him.  Since he’d told me that he loved my idea but would run it by management.  Since I’d discovered many of my ideas encompassed in the online fan membership area that showed up on Rick’s official website just a few weeks after that meeting.  Since I’d been forced to step back from my very prominent place in the Rick Springfield organization.

I’d been embarrassed.  Humiliated.  Confused.  But as time wore on, I found myself pulling further and further away from the Rick Springfield fan base.  My real life friends had no idea that I’d ever worked so closely with someone so famous, and I rarely spoke about it.  I threw myself into my children’s schools and my community activism, into autism support groups and freelance web design.  I joined a book club and forged female friendships, something that I rarely had time to do when I’d been so busy updating websites and answering emails.  Looking back on it all, I grudgingly could say that it probably was for the best, even if I would have preferred that I was the one who made the choice as opposed to having had the choice made for me.

Still, when I’d seen that Rick was coming so close to where I now called home, I wondered what it would be like to see him again.  We’d traded a few emails now and then, and he was always wonderfully friendly and sometimes asked when he’d see me again.  One night when Rob was out of town and my children played with my girlfriend Sue’s children, I had asked Sue if she would be interested in going to the show with me.  I loved the idea of taking my girlfriend to the show, to share the experience with her, and she loved the idea of rubbing elbows with a celebrity.  She was in.

As I stood there, though, I was filled with trepidation.  The scene in front of me was everything I hated about the whole fan experience.  Pushy women, stalker behavior, false friendships.  Sue had already chuckled about how everyone seemed to know me as this person and that regaled me with warm hellos upon our check in.  “You’re popular,” she’d whispered after the fifth time.

“No, just an object of curiousity,” I’d answered.  Everyone wanted to see what had happened to me after what had happened to me.

There was movement and noise in the group of women, and I knew without looking up that Rick had entered the lobby.  “He’s here,” I answered.  “What do you want to do?  Wait with the stalkers or go over to dinner?”

Sue looked at me like I was crazy.  “Are you kidding me?  Of course I want to meet him,” she whispered out of the side of her mouth.  The women in front of us were all jumping out of their seats now as he doled out the hugs, one by one.

“Alright then,” I said, slowly walking towards the seating area.  I stopped short; I just couldn’t approach him.  I stood behind the group, staring, immovable.  I watched my friend Sue taking it all in; her excitement was catching.  She was waiting for direction from me when it happened.

I looked over at the group and could see Rick starting to disentangle himself from the group.  He was scanning the room, looking for the elevators.  His gaze moved, and then stopped as it rested on me.  His eyes grew wide, and he made a mock gesture of surprise, grabbing his heart.  In two long steps, he was in front of me, reaching out and gathering me in. “Look who’s here,” he said warmly.  “It’s great to see you.”

I could feel the eyes of the group of women on us, trying to listen to our conversation.  I knew that emails would be sent from their hotel rooms to other people who remembered what had happened to me, phone calls would be made telling about the scene playing out right now.  And I found myself not caring. Finally, after all this time, I was able to not think about what others were saying, going to say, think about me.  Instead, I reveled in the knowledge that despite everything that had happened, Rick was still glad to see me, that I was always going to be welcome at his shows, and that I could share the good parts of my former life with those who now shared in my current life.

“It’s great to see you too,” I answered as we pulled apart.  “This is my good friend Sue,” I said in introduction.  “This will be her first Rick Springfield concert tonight, so you better make it a good one.”

 

 

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One Response

  1. I’m not sure I could have been so receptive. You are brave and a loyal fan, who deserved(s) better.

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