Amy greeted me warmly at the coffee shop. “Oh my goodness, look at your belly! You really have popped since I saw you last!”
It was true. The last time she’d seen me was late October, when we’d driven seven hours north to Omaha to see Corey Hart open up for Celine Dion in concert. We’d had nosebleed seats, it had been a long drive for me with my burgeoning belly. It was now early December, and I was very obviously showing.
I hadn’t made a lot of friends in Stillwater. We’d gotten here in April, and the first month or so I’d spent unpacking boxes. I spent the next month doing everything I possibly could at Zach’s school; payback for five years of schooling during which I could never volunteer because I always had a classroom of my own to tend to. I had hoped that while shelving books at the book fair or holding the tape at the end of the fifty yard dash on Field Day that I’d meet a few other mothers. But so far, I’d not bonded with any of the few that I had met. And then I’d gotten pregnant; a few months were spent sleeping and just barely keeping up with my tasks around the house. I’d felt better in the fall, but I was now immersed in working on Rick Springfield’s website too much to go looking for new friends.
It was a good thing I had Amy. R might not like that the base of our friendship was our mutual adoration of rock stars, but he recognized that she was a liferaft in a sea of unfamiliarness.
“So tell me about Chicago,” she asked after I’d ordered a herbal tea and had the steaming bowl sized mug placed before me.
In addition to our Omaha trip, I’d also flown solo to Chicago in November. R hadn’t been pleased, but when a Chicago TV station had contacted me via the fan club website and asked if I would be able to round up a group of fans for a TV show taping while Rick was in town. Would I? I immediately contacted Vivian and we put the word out. It was my job to keep track of who would attend and create the guest list. I could hardly miss going since I was doing so much legwork; two concerts and a TV taping? I booked my own flight out of Tulsa on Southwest using an online service called Travelocity. I didn’t even need a ticket; they gave me something called an “e ticket” that I could print out and show at the airport.
“It was a little nuts,” I started to tell Amy. “The shows were at a bar, with no seating. Probably not the best place for someone who is in the second trimester of pregnancy. It was like a mosh pit during the shows. But there was a little balcony area where they put me and the fan club VP so I wouldn’t be caught in the fray. Which was good.”
Amy looked at me impatiently. I knew what she was waiting to hear. Were there any good stories to tell? “Did you get to talk to him at all? Or was it too crazy?”
I thought back to the soundcheck Vivian and I had attended on the first day. All of the other shows I’d been to, when fans had been allowed at soundcheck, it was a group of ten or so of us. This was different. It was just Vivian and I. I was surprised to find that the other band members had far more to do during the process, so Rick sat down on the side of the stage and talked to Vivian and I. We told him about the new mailing list we’d set up for the fan club, an idea for a chat room that I was researching that would allow us to host “moderated” chats with him; fans could see him typing answers but couldn’t enter the room. He told us about the live CD they were recording here at the shows, how excited he was to be working on it. It was just an easy conversation back and forth, and once again, I’d quickly forgotten who I was talking to as the time moved quickly.
“Yeah, he talked to the fan club VP during soundcheck. He seems to like the direction we’re going in with all of the online components, which is nice. He made a big deal about me being pregnant and that his sister in law was about as far along as I was. She came to the show that night; how she wears high heel boots at this stage I’ll never know.”
Amy listened, with the proper amounts of ooohing and aaaahing in all the right places. As the story started to lag, I realized she had her laptop with her. “What’s doing on the computer?” I asked.
She opened it up. “I wondered if we could maybe talk about this new website someone wants me to do. I have so many ideas but I’m not sure how to make them happen.”
I nodded, eagerly, looking over at the screen. It was beautiful; how did she create this amazing graphic? I couldn’t do anything like it with the software I had. “But I’m not sure how to work with this…what software do you have up right now?”
“Adobe Photoshop,” Amy answered. “Are you familiar with it?”
I wasn’t. But I would be.