I did study. Some. I also finished everything Halloween-costume-related, and went grocery shopping. I haven't been to the grocery store in three weeks; I spent $189! And aside from a $15 prescription, that was ALL food! Amazing. I got the cashier that I like. She bags in paper bags INSIDE plastic bags. Which is the best way to bag, though I guess it wastes twice as much stuff. But she always knows somebody on line, personally. Always! Which means she never makes small talk with me, because she's always busy having conversations with people she actually knows. Sniff.
The exam was at 7:30 am, about a half hour away; so I wanted to get to bed early, and have a good night's sleep. I didn't.
Friday night, October 25th, was also the evening that a one mister Elvis Costello was in Philadelphia. Performing at the Tower Theater, which was the venue at which I first saw him, ah, such a long, long, long time ago. I've been a fan forever it seems like. Months, even.
I couldn't go see the concert, of course. But I was still awake at eleven, and I could feel him, just twenty miles away, across a river. And why not, right? Why not.
At eleven I got in my car and headed out. My tummy was a little bit of a mess, and "this is stupid," I kept thinking, but to the Tower Theater I headed. Took me less than an hour. I found a parking space a million miles away, and then walked back to the venue. I could hear the music from the sidewalk. They were playing "Episode of Blonde". If I know anything about Elvis Costello's setlists in the US in 2002, and believe you me, I know a little something about Elvis Costello's set lists in the US in 2002, then that meant the final encore. Sure enough, after it was over, he started in on "I Want You," which as everybody knows, is the closer. Puple-and-orange closer.
There were some roadies and other people waiting in the lobby, I guess to pick people up. The doors were open, and I asked one of the guys who looked like he worked there if I could watch at the top of the aisle? And he said yes. And so I did. It wasn't as . . . powerful, from so far away. But damn, Elvis. You go, girl. Rock that shit.
Then it was over, and everybody in the joint started heading for the exits. I darted out before the crowd; I had seen the big white tourbuses on the way in, so I was pretty sure I knew where to stand. I picked the door out of which Elvis was most likely to come out, and set up camp. I was the first person there. Some other folks gathered there after a while, so I knew I was in the right place. A couple girls asked me if this was the right place, and I told them I thought so. I was the first person there.
It didn't take long, actually. No more than a half hour after the end of the show, the door opened up. I was in front this time, I saw him come out. I do not envy him. If I were a rock star, I would not make it a point to shake everyone's hand, they who wanted their hands shooken. I would try my best, but I would not promise, because then you don't get a day off. Elvis, as far as I can tell, promises. And he's British! They're cranky! What a nice thing for a British person to promise.
SO ANYWAY, the door opens. And out he comes. Yellow glasses, little smile. Swoon. Swoon swoon swoon. As I was there first, and as Elvis Costello fans are not too bad a bunch (after you ignore the crazies, but really, what famous person doesn't have crazies?), I'm the third person to shake his hand. And THIS time, I'm ready. THIS time, I keep looking at his eyes when he shakes my hand. He smiles at me, and I smile right the fuck back, by God.
"I came all the way from Seattle to see you," I say. It is rehearsed. It is calculated. My little heart is about to break, I know it, I just know it. But I hold on to his hand and I look into his eyes and I am trying to keep a wry smile on my face, though it wants to run because my face is NERVOUS, my belly is nervous, my hands are nervous.
He laughs a little bit. "All the way from Seattle!" he exclaims. "I remember you."
He remembered me. He remembered me. He remembered me. Here is what the inside of my head was like: heremembersme heremembersme heremembersme heremembersme ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod weregoingtogogetmarriednowi'mprettysure.
He remembered me!! He remembered me. Man, he remembered me. "Really, you remember me?" I am trying not to laugh out loud from happiness, because I do that sometimes, but I was pretty sure that in this particular situation, it would be construed as an indication of some sort of psychosis. Which would do NOTHING to further my efforts to get Elvis Costello to sleep with me.
"Sure, I remember you. So where are you from really? Which is it, Philly or Seattle?" Man. He's talking to me, and he's looking right at me, right into my eyes, and all the people around me are impatient and envious, I can feel it.
"I'm from around here, actually. But I flew out to Seattle to see you there."
"And which show did you prefer?" Oh shit! Brother called me out! Luckily, I had an answer prepared -- man, cuz I am like THEE WORST person at thinking on my feet, seriously. [Like, Tami, you know Tami, right? Tami always gets me to admit stuff that I hadn't planned on admitting, by using the ridiculously tricky and sneaky method of asking me. I'm always caught off-guard, and end up telling the truth. That conniving witch.]
"Man, pardon my French, but I must say that you rocked the FUCK out of the Tower Theater." There! Perfect! Not a lie!
He smiled bashfully, even looked down a little bit! Like he was modest or something! "Well, I thank you," he said. "I thought we did rather well myself." Or something like that, I don't fucking know, this shit isn't verbatim or anything. "It was very nice to meet you," he continued.
"It's very nice to meet you as well," I replied, trying to sound like a cucumber. "I'm Washu," only I didn't say Washu, I said my real name. He started reaching out his hand again, so I reached out MY hand again, and he shook it AND THEN HE BROUGHT IT, MY HAND, HE BROUGHT MY HAND UP TO HIS LIPS AND KISSED THE BACK OF IT, and said something like I'm Elvis Costello, very nice to meet you, I don't freaking know, Elvis Costello was PUTTING HIS LIPS ON MY PERSON so it was hard to concentrate. He smiled at me once more, and said something about how he hoped I would see him perform again sometime, and I think he may have winked, and then he moved on to the next person in the crowd.
I quickly turned and got behind the crowd, so that other people could get their turn. I couldn't bear to leave just yet, so I stood back a ways, and leaned against the wall of the theater, and smoked a clove. Man. You know, like after sex? Man. Freaking Elvis.
When my clove was done, I decided to leave, even though Elvis was still working the crowd. I didn't want to wave to him as he got on the bus, I thought that would be cheesy. So I sighed a bit, and looked at him, and then started walking down the street to where my car was parked, eight thousand miles away. I walked slowly, and I looked at everything. My whole body kinda tingled, I guess from the adrenaline; I noticed everything, every person, every crack in the sidewalk. At first I was jubilant, and I even got to laugh from happiness, once I was out of earshot of all the famous people. But after a block, I felt . . . just melancholy. Empty? How cheesy. He's just a rock star, it's such a stupid thing to get excited about, and an even MORE stupid thing to get sad about. He's just a guy, he doesn't know me, he has no connection to me, no matter how much I might feel one to him. I hated that I had gotten so excited about it, that it had meant so much to me. But it did! It did.
I stopped noticing everything, and my head fell a bit. I stopped to light another clove, and wished it were a joint. I was lost in thought for a while, then looked up and realized that I had passed the side street that I was supposed to turn down. I turned around and walked back up the street. I heard a loud truck or something coming, and pass me by, but I didn't pay much attention; then another, so I looked up and caught a glimpse of a white bus passing me by, the tourbus, or the second one, or third, he seemed to have a big entourage. But I was in my haze, and I walked on, and sort of noticed the sound of air brakes behind me, but sort of didn't, either.
I did notice someone calling, but didn't think they were calling to me. I heard running footsteps behind me, and turned to look, to make sure the footsteps-maker didn't run into me. It was Elvis, it was Elvis Costello, jogging down the sidewalk, coat flapping. It was Elvis Costello, holding up a hand in a wave when I turned. I looked back in the direction I was walking, to see who he was waving to; I didn't see anyone. I turned back, stopping dead in my tracks, to watch him weave through curious pedestrians, he left conspiratorial whispers and pointed fingers in his wake. I watched Elvis Costello jog down the sidewalk towards me, I saw his eyes, as he came closer, I saw his eyes through yellow glasses, and they were looking at me.
There are no words.
He reached me and came to a stop, breathing a little heavily, but not too much. I had no words.
"Doll," he said. I was speechless. "Love . . . " Love, he was calling me Love, was he calling me Love? (He's British, though, British people are allowed to call strangers "Love".) I snapped out of it:
"Washu," I said. [You'd think he'd remember a name like that . . . ]
"Washu!" he exclaimed in an "of course" kind of way. "Washu. Come back with us?"
No words to describe the inside of my tummy at this moment, empty and fluttering and achey all at once. "Come back with you?"
"Come back with us, just to a pub, or the room, or something, just tonight, come back with us?"
I was speechless.
"I --" I had an exam the next day. Ha.
I looked at him, at him, he was looking right back with me, and he was smiling, and he wasn't pleading, per se, but he had gotten out of his bus, I looked past him and he had made the bus pull over and gotten out of the bus and run down the sidewalk because he wanted me to come with him, to a pub or the room or something, tonight.
"You think just because you're Elvis Costello, I'll come with you? Just like that?"
"Well, I was hoping, yes." He smiled at me. Man, he smiled at me. I smiled right back, I couldn't help it.
I pretended to think for a second, like I was giving it a LOT of thought.
He continued to smile at me, he cocked his head, as you do, when you want someone to do something, when you know that they want to do it.
I squinched up my mouth a little. "Well all right," I said. He grinned, and grabbed my hand, and led me back down the street, and up the steps of the bus.