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As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Concert 39: Lexington, Kentucky
August 23, 2009
The day really began with the night before. In order to save money and make it to the next concert, we decided to sleep in the car. Hannah and I looked at this as part of the adventure, another story to tell, nothing to be upset about. It was the thing that was required to continue the journey.
On Facebook I posted the message: What are willing to do for your dream? Last night we slept in the car.
Since San Antonio, ten days ago, we knew that continuing to move forward and to follow our dream was a quest. Our love of the Jonas Brothers and the music and the family of bands, vendors and the community that were a part of this summer were pulling us forward. Hannah and I were looking at our resources differently. The daily question had changed. It had become: What would it take to make it to the end? We are looking at the money, the distance, and the details of what it will take to do this.
Driving from Atlanta, Georgia to Lexington, Kentucky last night, I passed a great rest area in Georgia and felt that I could drive for at least an hour. I assumed there would be rest areas in Tennessee.
The first rest area in Tennessee was the Welcome Center and there were signs posting a limit of two hours for parking. By the time, I checked directions, went to the bathroom and checked a few things on the computer, I had 90 minutes to sleep. After that, I pushed on and drove and drove and drove. The next rest area was closed and then there was nothing.
Imagine my surprise at 3am when Clifford, the red bus that carries the Honor Society and their staff sped by me. I was driving slower than the speed limit. It was such a dark, remote area with no lighting and I did not want to hit an animal that might cross the road. I was still going 60 mph, but not the 70 mph speed limit.
Hannah was asleep next to me, but I talked to the bus. “Hey Clifford! Great to see you, is the Honor Society on the bus tonight? Sleep tight Mike, Andy, Alex, Jason, Janice, Kat and Gio and whoever is on the bus tonight, maybe Ned. See you in Lexington!”
It is moments like this that bring a feeling of community into my heart. I pass cars and buses and trucks every day. I don’t know their story. I do not know where they are going or where they have been. But, when it is someone you know, there is a moment of recognition and connection. As the bus continued on the road, a slow smile parted my lips and I felt that connection. I knew the people on that bus, in the middle of the night, outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee and I knew where they were going.
Tonight, I knew where I was going.
Two hours later, I found a rest stop in Kentucky. It was full of cars and trucks and buses. There were lots of people snoozing here. A few hours later with the rising of the sun, I felt my heart singing with joy. We slept in the car last night! We were willing to do whatever it took to fulfill our dream. We are going to make it to the end.
I felt this rush of adrenalin and I felt more freedom than I have ever felt in my life. I had a feeling of, “I can do anything, be anything, and go anywhere I want to go.”
Deciding to sleep in the car was about empowerment and choice. The choices we make are the freedom. It is not what is happening to you. It is what you choose to do with it. We cannot control the behavior of other people, or even all of the circumstances in our lives. We can only choose our thoughts, our actions, and change our perspective.
This was a choice. We were headed to six more concerts. One concert at a time.
With Hannah still sleeping in the car, I drove to a McDonald’s for breakfast and coffee and electricity for the computer. I watched sleepy people dragging in to McDonald’s as I worked there for the next hour taking notes for the blog, posting on Facebook, checking on my house. Funny, everyone entering looks like they slept at the rest area and came here to go to the bathroom, wash up and eat breakfast.
We arrived at the venue around 11am. There is a different energy at this hour. It was a Sunday morning and not a lot of traffic. The trucks had arrived with Apple Fries, and Mike and Ike’s. The merchandise table was beginning to set up. People were moving slowly. They were drinking coffee and standing around viewing the location, talking about set-up, and laughing about life and stories they were sharing.
Hannah and I parked and headed to the Hyatt. The whole block was connected, Rupp Arena, Lexington Center with a food court and stores and the Hyatt Hotel. We heard that the Jonas Brothers were staying at the Hyatt. There were already small groups of girls gathering in the lobby and outside the building.
I changed my clothes and washed my face in the Hyatt bathroom and then found a spot to sit with my computer. I wanted to write the Atlanta concert blog while it was still fresh in my mind. I have been really lucky to find “office space” all over the country.
I talked with a family who homeschool their 5 children. The mom and the girls were going to the Jonas brother’s concert and the dad and the boys had their own adventure planned.
As I sat there typing, Garbo entered the building. I did not have a picture with him yet and I was running out of time, only six concerts to go. I have had so many girls request pictures of Garbo that it became a part of the list in my brain to get a picture with him! He was so sweet. He had been sleeping in the bus and came inside to take a shower and go to his room. He very patiently talked, listened and looked at a scrapbook. He has really grown in his interactions with the fans this summer. He slowly turned the pages and looked at the pictures in the scrapbook. He posed for pictures even though he hadn’t even brushed his teeth yet.
Here is a link to a video. Samantha is a fan and this is on her Youtube account. I am the first one with Garbo in the beginning and then Hannah and then a number of other fans.
Later in the day we were in the food court and someone on the tour had seen Hannah’s tweet about sleeping in the car. This person had been following Hannah on twitter, inspired by our journey and gave us a hotel room at the Hyatt. There is a really juicy back story, but to keep the confidence and anonymity of the person, I will just say that it was a gift. It was great to know that we had a nice room to head towards at the end of the night. (If anyone knows the story, please keep the confidence for now.)
It is funny how different every place is on the tour. In Lexington, there were hardly any people who came to the venue early. I was hoping to film some crowds for a future video montage, but the lines were so short. There was a small crowd waiting to see the band members or get a glimpse of the Jonas Brothers.
Around 6:30 pm, we bought two $90 tickets from either a Dad or a scalper for $25 each. He said that he was a Dad and he bought extra tickets for his daughter’s friends and they let him down. It is a possible story, but someone around us said that he was a scalper.
In the arena and settling down, I looked around to see who was sitting with us, took pictures of the stage, and observed people. I saw a woman standing up facing a group of kids and signing. She was an ASL (American Sign Language) interpreter. I have watched ASL at meetings and events, and have taken some classes. But, I have never seen someone signing a pop-rock concert. When Jordin started to sing, the interpreter was signing and acting out all the movements on the stage. Jordin Sparks sang SOS and the interpreter put “attitude” into it. Here are some of the words from the song:
“What’s up girlfriend, something’s going on.
You got a look about you, tell me what’s wrong.
Is that your boyfriend, dancing with the girl on the floor?”
And there is finger pointing, body shaking, facial expressions, an attitude all the way. I had so much fun watching the interpreter, move her body, scrunch her face, shake her finger. She kept signing and then looking at Jordin and the back-up singers, Rachel and Leah as they moved to the music. Then, she would turn back to the group in front of her and sign, sing and dance.
I watched the interpreter all night and kept glancing at the stage and doing my own movements of dancing and Attitude, that’s right, attitude with a capital A.
Jordin and her band are on moving on to perform with Britney Spears as part of the Circus Tour. It is a great opportunity for Jordin and reaching a new audience. We will miss her and the whole band in Nashville and Columbus. She will be back for Cleveland.
At the end of the concert, Hannah and I grabbed a few things from the car and headed up to our free room at the Hyatt. Our friend left some snacks for us. It was a luxurious room and a great contrast from the night before.
My Facebook status tonight: Freedom. Last night we slept in the car. Tonight a free room at the Hyatt.
Ah, the mystery of life.