Be An Angel Day, August 22, 2009,
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August 22, 2009
Tonight was our 38th concert of the summer. In the morning, when we left my parents house in Florida, I knew that I had $300 in my pocket and a plan to go to the next three concerts. We needed gas, food, shelter, tickets. The question was, “How was I going to stretch this money until a check arrives in a few days?”
The Jonas Brothers tour will not stop for us and wait until more money comes. When we arrived in Atlanta, we had 8 more concerts to go to make it to 45. Were we to continue or to stop? I have asked myself this question over and over all summer long. And here it was again and we decided to move forward one day, one step at a time.
As I said, we left my parents home in Lecanto, Florida around 7:30am and drove to Atlanta. I drove on a tree-lined country road, Route 41, for the first hour before hopping onto Interstate 75 North.
Finding the venue was a little confusing. The highway sign said to exit here for Phillips Arena and then the signs stopped once we were in the city. Lost and needing to go to the bathroom, I found a luxurious hotel with a luxurious bathroom with beautiful, marble counters and floors. The kind of bathroom that has wooden, levered doors, floor to ceiling, on each stall and thick, paper hand towels and hand lotion to rub on your hands after you wash them.
I asked the concierge of the hotel for directions to the arena. As I approached the car, a male version of a meter maid approached my car that was illegally parked. All was well. No ticket, I moved the car in time. Welcome to Atlanta.
After driving in circles for ten minutes, we found the arena next to CNN, paid for parking and made the short walk to the sponsored activity area. I had a bag full of Bop-its, in case I wanted to play with anyone or do any filming.
James, the college rugby captain guy who had been working the Mike and Ike’s booth area all summer was getting ready to leave the tour and fly home to New York. His plan was a quick stop at home to say Hi to his parents, do his laundry, and pack to go back to college in Vermont.
That was the focus of everything for me yesterday. I had taken pictures a few days earlier with James and Sean, the other Mike and Ike guy, because I knew that Atlanta was the last day and James was leaving early to go to the airport.
First I hugged him when I arrived. Next, I checked out the electricity situation at his tent and was able to charge my phone on the power strip. I hugged him again and we talked about the details of his leaving. Once he had the stand set up our routine was to fill each other in on the last 12 hrs since we had seen each other. Things like his tour of the Superdome or playing basketball with the Jonas Brothers that afternoon. I would share things like waking up to find four sheriff vehicles surrounding my car at a rest stop (a story for another day) or getting my cell phone reconnected at the Verizon Store.
Yesterday, James was wrapping up details and I began to walk around the area and do the usual things. I was looking for stories for the blog and ideas that would make this day special.
A group of girls found Hannah, talked with her, and took pictures with her. It is really fun meeting so many wonderful girls every day. Our adventure is richer with meeting and sharing stories with all of you. I really mean that and will continue to say that forever because it is true!
4pm- The Wonder Girls appear to teach the crowd their dance to the song “Nobody,” and I take pictures of them in their outfits for the day. Yesterday a beautiful purple outfit, one of fifty different outfits they wear.
Next, the Honor Roll dance contest for meet and greet passes for the Honor Society. This is my afternoon aerobics and opportunity to demonstrate how a 52 woman who loved to dance from birth, can still dance!
At each moment, I had one eye on James to make sure he didn’t leave without saying goodbye. No worries. James found me to say goodbye, and get a picture of Hannah and me on his camera.
And then, he was gone. It felt like he was the first kid to leave summer camp. Here we had our own lives going on all summer but our paths crossed every day from about 3-6pm. It was a happy-sad moment. I was happy that we could actually develop a relationship of friendship and mutual respect this summer and sad that the summer is coming to a close. He is the first of a handful of people I will be sad to say goodbye to in the next week.
I think back on when I first met James in East Rutherford, New Jersey. I didn’t really remember seeing the Mike and Ike’s booth before then. The sponsors were in a big open parking lot there and I saw him when I arrived at that concert. We began to talk and I asked him how people got Jordin Sparks meet and greet passes. Hannah and I hadn’t seen a contest or a way to enter. Jordin Sparks was on the Mike and Ike’s truck and he was taking pictures of people by a green screen with an inserted Jordin Sparks. He said there was a contest on the website and that sometimes he had passes.
It seemed in the beginning that James was pretty guarded with me. First of all, every day, he had sooooo many people coming up to ask him for meet and greets and tickets. People always wanted things from him. And at the first few times I saw him, he would automatically say that he didn’t have any meet and greets for Jordin. Finally, I let him know that I enjoyed the conversations we had and that if I never got a meet and greet, it was okay. I still wanted to talk with him. (And by the way, he never had tickets for the show to hand out to anyone.)
Maybe I was drawn to him in the beginning because he was born June 13, 1988 and my son who died 17 years ago was born June 12, 1991. Maybe this was an opportunity for me to hang out with a son for the summer. Maybe it was a chance for us both to close a generation gap and just get to know each other as the people we are. And let’s be clear, this is not a “cougar” moment. I truly love who he is as a person and I know that there is a great life ahead of him. He is just getting started and I am on to the next chapter of my life. Whatever the reason, I enjoyed our conversations and already miss him.
After James left, the focus switched to tickets for the evening.. Hannah and I both got tickets. A Jonas fan sent her a tweet that she had an extra ticket and Hannah could have it. The young woman is 20 years old and her twitter name is Emmyjo13 on. A friend of hers had a competition and couldn’t go. Emmyjo13’s Mom thought she would have more fun with another Jonas lover and so they gave the ticket to Hannah. Hannah had a great time with her and this is how it goes!
Burger King connected with the Top 40 radio station and donated a few tickets for upgrades. I received one of the tickets from a JB fan that she no longer needed. It is amazing because there are tickets everyday that are not used because someone is sick or gets another ticket and I wish that there was an easy way to give them to people. The problem is that it is usually something last minute and it is not always easy to get the ticket to someone. Hmmm…still pondering this.
The concert was great, as usual! I loved my seat. It ended up being a front row in the 200 section and I had plenty of room to dance.
I sat next to a woman and her daughter and three girlfriends. We were talking about getting tickets in Cleveland. The challenge with tickets is the time it takes when you hang out for the free ticket, discounted tickets, a better ticket or tickets for a sold out show. Although the woman has a brother and his family in Cleveland, the question was would she want to drive all that way without the guarantee of a ticket.
And that is where I am right now. Beginning to ponder some information from Joseph Campbell, the Hero’s Journey, looking for the guarantee in life and opening to the inspiration of truly being in the moment.
This requires a blog of it’s own. Stay tuned…