Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An Event Twenty Years in the Making

Bright and early one morning a few months ago, I called Counselor Shelley. Not that calling her is an odd event, but a call that early in the morning is guaranteed to put her on high alert. It didn’t help when I told her I had a very important question to ask her—a question I’d been waiting twenty years to ask.

I could practically hear the normally unflappable, unshakable, unsurpriseable Counselor Shelley bracing herself at the thought of what question could have possibly been haunting me for twenty years, only to require an answer very early in the morning.

The question? “Do you want to go to the Bon Jovi concert with me?”

Let me explain. Twenty years ago, Bon Jovi was riding high on the success of Slippery When Wet and the tour was scheduled to stop in Birmingham. I wanted to go with a passion you wouldn’t believe me capable of. I didn’t have a ticket, but one only cost $12.50 and with General Admission seating still allowed, the morning of the concert dawned and I was still hopeful I’d get to go. Shelley (just Shelley back then—although she was my personal counselor even then) had worked out a sleep over with her parents for after the concert, and Mom was on board with the idea. We were set to go!

But it was a school day, and Mom dropped me off at the usual time. Shelley and another friend (who we’ll call Anne) were waiting for me before I even entered the building. My high school was only three blocks from the Civic Center and Anne and I were familiar with the backstage labyrinths due to our time performing with the ballet company. A plan had been hatched.

We’d enter through the side stage door—the one we used for rehearsals—because the security guard knew us and wouldn’t think twice. We’d use the tunnels that connected the ballet rehearsal halls to the Arena to sneak our way in and be there for the sound check. All we had to do was change clothes, skip class, and we’d be Jon and Richie’s newest groupies in no time.

Hey, we were 15—it seemed like a reasonable plan.

Except it wasn’t. Bon Jovi had good security and we were stopped long before we got anywhere close to Jon or Richie, and we were busted sneaking back onto campus.

What happened next was a farce of the highest order. Rather than going with the truth, I came up with an elaborate story that anyone not 15 would instantly recognize at pure BS. But I stood by my story. At least the principal was laughing as he suspended the three of us.

(And Mr. Wilson, dog love him, reminded me of this episode at an Alumni Party many years later—it was that good of a story.)

Needless to say, Mom was not amused when she heard of my actions (real or fictional) and subsequent suspension, so I found myself grounded. No Bon Jovi concert for me.

So, for twenty years, I’ve regretted the stupidity that kept me from seeing them in concert. When I heard they’d be in Nashville, I knew I had to be there. But not only did I have to be there, Counselor Shelley had to be there with me in order for it to be right. Hence the phone call bright and early the morning I found out tickets were on pre-sale.

So I paid a hell of a lot more than $12.50 for tickets, convinced the Playfriends, Counselor Shelley, and the Darling Geek to go on a road trip, and Thursday is the night. The night I’ve waited twenty freaking years for.

So pardon me if I can’t concentrate on much else this week other than this concert—a road trip with friends, a great dinner, and a show. I’m stoked.

Of course, it’s going to have to be an awesome show in order to live up to twenty years of waiting. But I think all Jon will have to do is flash that smile at me and I think it will be worth the wait. (Sorry DG, but old crushes die hard.)

So what have you waited a really long time for? Was it all you dreamed of in the end?



Anonymous said...

Well, right now, get my home ready to sell, sell and find a new one closer to work. I'm ready to move to the next chapter in my life.

Liza said...

I can't wait for Thursday night! I missed Bon Jovi in high school too. The concert was on a school night, in Memphis(2 hours from home), so my dad wouldn't let me go with my friends(we were all 16 at the time). I saw Bon Jovi 4 years ago when he was her and it was the best show! My friends and I have paid crazy prices for tickets, and I'm counting the hours until the concert!

Angel said...

Having children. It was all I'd dreamed of and a whole h*ll of a lot more work. :)

Road trip!!!! Squeee!!!!! I can't wait for Thursday. I've got the clothes, I need to make a list, pack, wash the car.... Geezz, maybe I can wait until Thursday.


Rhonda Nelson said...

Doesn't anyone else want to know the story you told the principal? Come on, PC! These are things I need to know. :-)

Smarty Pants said...

I still have these delusional fantasies about my wedding day. Its silly 6 year old stuff that I can't shake, regardless how practical I am about most things.

I'm the same way about most holidays and parties. Big expectations of how it will be. Usually builds for a let down.

This, of course, means that the Playfriends will have to be on hand with much champagne if the wedding I get around to having doesn't meet my expectations.

Yeah, so what about that story...?

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I waited a really long time for an editor to call and tell me she loved my story. It was worth the wait. :)

I'm still waiting to go to Ithaka. My mom and I have always wanted to go together, for a variety of reasons, so I hope we get there some day. :)

Smarty Pants said...

Oh yeah, I'm also waiting on the call, of course. After last week, that entire concept slipped my brain for a while.

Playground Monitor said...

While you were making up stories for the principal, I was making mortgage payments and raising kids. ;-) The 80's are a blur to me,and I'm the sole Playfriend who is not going to the concert. Didn't even mention it to the DH cause he would have said Bon Who?

Laugh if you will, but I'm trying to convince the DH to fly to Vegas for a long weekend and see a bunch of shows. My top pick? Barry Manilow. He was here -- in the 80's -- when we had two small kids, a fledgling business and no disposable income. Always hated I didn't have a garage sale and raise the money for tickets and a sitter.


Instigator said...

I can't wait for Thursday!! I'm so excited it isn't even funny. I suddenly feel like a teenager again :-)


Jen said...

Ya know, I wasn't a Jon fan back when but I am now. Have fun!

terrio said...

Oh, you gals are going to have loads of fun. I saw BJ for the first time back in '85 and my 14 year old self cried halfway home that it was over too soon and I was getting farther and farther away from Jon.

I haven't seen them recently but I think I'll check out the tour schedule. I'd love to go now!

I've waited a long time to see Disney World and I'm still working on taking my daughter this year. I'm thinking that will be more than worth the wait.

And my ultimate travel goal is to get around Europe. I don't know when that will happen but it WILL happen and I can't wait!

Now, I want to know that story too.

Swing Sets said...

Funny how Bon Jovi is everyone's fantasy!! Seems like we all had the "chance" to go but never quite made it . . . dang parents!! LOL