|I was so pumped. We went to Carl's Jr. Their french fries were the best in the west, until they changed them and
got those same flimsy fries like McDonald's has. You'd order at the counter, they'd give you a plastic number for
the edge of the table and bring the order out to you. I grabbed a booth seat on the far side of the table -- don't
like chairs (which were on the front side of the table) because I usually sit on my feet (or one foot) and hard
restaurant chairs aren't comfortable for that. My order came out third. This woman brought the tray over. "Large
Coke, fries, plain cheeseburger." "That's mine," I said, reaching out to take the tray since I was
sorta wedged on the other side of the table and she would've had to lean way over to put it down. But she leaned
between Kristi and Theresa who were sitting in the chairs. She totally ignored my outstretched arm and shoved the
tray past it and, holding the tray about a foot from the top of the table, dropped it. Like -- on purpose! She
just opened her hand and clunk! My drink fell over, but I grabbed it before it could spill -- luckily it had a
lid. The fries were all over the tray. We were stunned. She walked off. The first thing out of my mouth was, "What
a bitch!" I know she heard me, but didn't even turn around. "What's up her butt?" Theresa pondered.
I started laughing. "Man. Fresno totally sucks!" We all started laughing. The Bitch returned a minute
later with the last tray (someone else had brought out the first two). I don't remember whose it was, but when
she got close I yelled, "Watch out! She might throw it at you!" We all ducked under the table at the
same time, laughing. She didn't really drop this one (just mine, lucky me), but did shove it down onto the table,
a scowl on her face. "Boy," I said as we all popped up from under the table, "she sure gave her
a dirty look." I indicated the server. Theresa knew this bit well, she'd seen me pull it often. "Who?"
she asked innocently. "Mother Nature!" That mean old sloth glared at me, but I was protected by the great
shield of my friends' laughter. What could she do to me? When we left, a limo was at the drive-thru, ordering.
It was their driver -- he waved. "Quick trip," I quipped, waving back.
Theresa and I knew each other so well, we could have an entire conversation with our eyes. Theresa and I have amazed
people for years with how well we can play off each other. I go into a bit and she follows with no hesitation.
It's like we've rehearsed hundreds of times, but it's spontaneous, we just go with it. Folks are really surprised
by it, but it's no big deal. I mean, after all, some nights we used to both have the same dreams.
Jennifer and I got in one car, Theresa and Kristi in the other. We headed for home. At some point, Theresa pulled
up next to us, "I'm taking the next exit to get something to drink." We were thirsty too, but Jennifer
was afraid if she pulled off, the car would decide it was too hot and refuse to go anywhere else. It was OK as
long as she kept the same speed. I explained this, yelling out the window. "I'll bring you something,"
Theresa said. We split up at the next exit, but soon enough the little purple car caught up with us. Kristi, hanging
out the sunroof on Theresa's car, handed cold drinks to me, sitting on the door, holding onto the edge of the roof,
leaning backwards. The two ace drivers pulled close enough for the exchange. "Thanks!" I hollered, slipping
back into the car.
Arrived home. Kristi said she didn't think she'd be able to go to Costa Mesa since she'd missed a lot of time at
work already. "Then quit," I suggested. "Get another job when you get back." "Can't. I
have to pay rent and stuff." I cringed. (Christine Hynde, you were so right. I can't thank you enough for
saying it, for calling my attention to it. I'd have figured it out eventually, but would it have been too late?
I guess it's never too late. But you were so right -- one thing leads to another and you're trapped. You've been
taken and you never even saw it coming. I think maybe she was pondering my fate, another one here that's gonna
rent themselves out, giving all their youthful energy and creativity to someone else until they're too old to move,
assuming you live long enough to not be able to move. Everyone loses but the guy on the top who fucks everyone.
Hynde, you got at least one off the beaten path and into their own forest. You saved me, gave me my life back before
anyone got the chance to take it away. How do you thank someone for that? This is starting to sound like "To
Sir With Love.") "C'mon, Chrissie is giving us tickets -- you've got no excuse." "I'll see."
She still had to drive for a few more hours to get home. I went running into the house. "DAD! DAAA-AAD!"
"What?!" Located Dad, ran through what happened. And... and... "Can we use your car?"
"I guess." He was happy that we were going, he just wished it didn't involve his car. "Do you have
money?" he asked. "Where would I get money?" I no longer had a job. "Uh-huh." Then, "How
are you going to do this, exactly?" "I don't know yet," I smiled, "but I will." Dad left
the house. Jennifer was going to go home to sleep and would come back later.
I threw laundry into the washer. Made Theresa stay there with me ("I'll just wash these clothes... you don't
need to go home and get more.") Tired of driving, she stayed, fell asleep in my room. Who could sleep?! Oh
man oh man oh man oh man. I hadn't planned on this show -- it was a total bonus. A "graduation" present
from Chrissie! I was so overwhelmed that she was giving us tickets. She didn't have to, she could have just said,
"Oh" when I said we didn't have tickets. This was far beyond anything I'd ever imagined. She'd caught
me off guard on that. Didn't I have any cash? I'd spent all of it at the shows, hadn't I? Yep. Decided to
search my room just in case. The good thing about being a slob is that you always surprise yourself with what you
find. "Hey! I thought this was gone forever!" or "Wow, five bucks!" I found some change.
Coinage works for me, it's money, isn't it? Found an abandoned Pretenders wallet, I'd located a new one and switched
as I didn't want any of them worn out -- hey! Two dollars! And yuck! A bowl that had--what?--pudding in it, under
the bed. Lots of torn pages of poetry, spiders, more change, dirty pair of jeans, please, please, please, please
-- do I really want to stick my hands in these pockets? Another dollar and more change! We were really movin' now,
and what treasures to behold under my bed! You know all those socks that vanish in the washer? I'd always thought
that, out of each pair, one is water soluble. Now I know -- check under the bed.
Dad called me. Theresa and I hated being called when we were in our rooms -- all you'd hear was ".....SA!"
Both doors would open -- "Who?" Dad usually called me by my middle name, or the nickname he'd given me
the day I was born, but you never knew for sure. "Huh?" "C'mere." "Where's Theresa?"
"Sleeping." He took out his wallet and handed me a stack of bills. "Here's a hundred dollars. You
can work it off when you get back." "Are you sure? I mean, it's OK?" "Sure! If Chrissie gives
you tickets, you have to go, right?" "Yeah. Thanks." It wasn't OK. I knew this money had to come
out of his business account, which meant either something wasn't going to get paid, or there wouldn't be enough
cash up front for supplies. "I mean, are you sure?" He nodded. "I'll give back what we don't
use." "Keep it. I'll work you for it." (When we got back from LA I went to work with him every day
for three weeks -- you figure out how much that is per week. And don't you think just because I'm his daughter,
I didn't have to do anything but stand there. The only thing I didn't do was electrical work. He'd go take care
of that and I'd install sprinklers, dig trenches, load the truck with 80-pound bags of cement, unload the
truck (and the 80-pound bags of cement), repair fences, paint, replace doors, lug 40-pound bags of salt up ladders.
And Dad didn't work eight hours a day with breaks, Dad worked from 6:30 am until 9:30 pm., with lunchtime the only
break) "Rene." (Now he uses the middle name!) "What?" "Don't tell your sister."
"OK." Yeah, right -- "Wow, Theresa, look -- while you were asleep I found a hundred dollars under
my bed, can you believe it?" I guess he thought that was funny -- don't tell your sister. Gee, I wish he would've
said something before I dug out all those spiders -- they were probably dancing all over Theresa right now...
Got Theresa up later. Jennifer came back. Dad left, filled the gas tank and brought dinner home. We ate. I studied
the map of California. We had to travel approximately 380 miles tonight. We'd damn well better get started. We
left the house close to 8:00 pm. California is a whole lot of nothing most times. Once you get on Highway 5, it's
a struggle to stay awake. Didn't feel any relief as we came level with Fresno on the map. I'd already been down
here once today. Jennifer was asleep in the back seat. I gave Theresa a twenty for gas. "How much did you
find, anyhow?" "Enough." Once we'd been on the road for awhile, I said slowly, not sure how she'd
react, "Dad gave me a hundred dollars." "Me too!" We laughed. "He said I had to pay him
back, though," said Theresa. "Oh man," I responded sympathetically, "bummer -- you have to
pay it back?" "YOU MEAN YOU DON'T?! GOD I HATE YOU! YOU ALWAYS GET STUFF! YOU'RE SUCH A SPOILED BRAT!!!"
I laughed again. "Nah. I have to work it off." "Oh. Well, you still always get what you want."
"That's cuz I don't ask for much." She rolled her eyes. Hey Chrissie, havin' fun with those two girls?
Sisters -- geez! I exist only to torment her. "Yes, I do know why I'm alive, to tease and torment you, day
by day by day..." Isn't that what Chrissie sings in that Moodswings song, "State of Two Dependents"?
Jennifer switched with me as I hadn't actually slept well in Fresno. Or after the Berkeley shows. Or before that.
Or even on the train trip back for the East Coast, which took three days. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure
Chrissie has ever seen me when I was fully awake. And she probably wouldn't recognize me during the day now because
the only time I do see her is after the shows, in a dark alley. 'Course I don't know that she'd recognize me in
the dark either... Anyhow, I slept a little bit, thought we stopped a couple times. Opened my eyes -- the sun was
coming up, rising into a very cloudy (or smoggy) sky. I sat up, and started the following conversation with Theresa:
"Where are we?"
"So what? Where are we?"
"We're in LA -- we got on this stupid freeway and ended up in Bel Air and we couldn't get out."
"You are such a fuckin' retard -- I can't leave you alone for a minute, you get lost! Where in LA are we?"
"I don't know."
"That helps. Pull into that gas station--"
"We need gas anyway."
"--and go get a map of Los Angeles."
Theresa headed for the door to the station. "And make sure it's LA and not Bel Air!" "Shut up!"
They didn't have a map of LA. Plenty of Mexico, but we weren't going that far. Drove around and actually found
the band's hotel. Looked for a place to stay nearby. Where was Costa Mesa? Finally found a motel. Threw our stuff
in the room (and I brushed my teeth -- hygiene is important to me) and went in search of breakfast. Didn't get
my meal thrown at me (Hey, what kind of a shit hole is this, anyway? Can't even get my food thrown at me!). Returned
to our room around 10:00 am. Theresa and Jennifer slept. I took a shower. What was on TV? Reruns of the Munsters.
Ugh! Click. Two o'clock, we'd better go see if anyone knows where Costa Mesa is. It's not easy being in California
-- nobody speaks English.
Went to their hotel. Tracy came through. Sat down to chat with us. I guess it must be boring being on tour with
your spouse? I'd love it... then again, I'm not normal. So she said, "Oh, you made it." "Well, yeah,
I mean, you know, since we got tickets, um, that Chrissie was going to give us..." I was uneasy now. Why was
she surprised that we were there? "Oh yeah! But a lot of people say they want to go, but never show up."
"You mean I wasn't really supposed to come here?" Horrified now. "Oh no. It's fine. I'm glad you
did get to come all the way down here." She leaned over and put her hand on me. "But since it was Chrissie,
you might want to stay here until you see her, just to make sure." Make sure of what? Do you know how long
it took to drive here? I'm gonna be bustin' my balls for weeks to repay my father. Do you know what we've been
through? MAKE SURE OF WHAT? The guys came in. And went out. We didn't want to bother anyone, but I was nervous
now. We sat there. Boring. We were on the right side of the lobby (as you came in) in a sitting area. There was
another sitting area on the left and a walkway between them. It was pretty small.
Dave Hill gathered the guys up and sat them in the other area. He left and returned with a large stack of copies
of Learning to Crawl. They had to be opened as they were to be autographed. I remembered what I'd said to Jim:
"Don't make her do anything she doesn't want to." I guess if you are Chrissie, you don't have to sit
there and peel plastic off albums. They were miserable. I couldn't stand it. I walked over. "If you guys need
some help, we'd be happy to lend a hand." Mr. Hill said, "That'd be great!" The other two came over,
took copies, sat down. Peel, pull, rip. Peel, pull, rip. Tedious. After a couple minutes, Martin got up and walked
off like he had an appointment with the Pope. I thought, don't think I didn't notice that, Martin, you punk. Robbie
was next. Then Malcolm. Dave said, "I'll be right back." "No you won't," I laughed. He smiled
and ran off. "Boy, are we dumb." Then, "What a bright idea. See if I'm ever nice to them again."
When I was sure Dave Hill was gone, I said, "All right, fuck this, how many copies are here? If we sold these
for five bucks each, how much could we make?" How many paper cuts did I get from that? Anyone get an autographed
copy of Learning to Crawl with bloodstains on it? If you did, it was probably my blood. "This sucks. I don't
like them anymore. Let's go home." There were stickers on the plastic that said, "Featuring the Hit Singles
Middle of the Road, Back on the Chain Gang, My City was Gone, 2000 Miles." Theresa and Jennifer pulled them
off the shrink wrap and stuck them all over me. It made me mad at first, but after awhile I didn't notice. I still
find one every so often... Eventually we finished and retreated to the other side of the lobby. I took a couch.
Dave Hill must've been watching, because a few minutes after we relocated, he came out to get the albums. "Oh,
thank you. Sorry, I had a phone call, then I got side-tracked..." "Uh-huh." I may be dumb enough
to sit there and open that many copies of the album, but I'm not so dumb that I believe that line for a second.
Really, though? I didn't mind. What else did I have to do? It wasn't like my schedule was booked solid. The lobby
was empty again except for us.
A woman came in with a load of dry-cleaned Chrissie shirts. I'd seen her in Berkeley. Flooomp! She dumped Chrissie's
shirts next to me -- right next to me. I had to pull my arm out from under them. We all looked at each other.
The woman walked off. Just like that. Went into this mysterious hallway everyone seemed to vanish into. Was this
for real? I had every shirt she'd worn on this tour next to me. "Can you believe this?!" I whispered,
pointing at them. "Wouldn't you die to have just one of these?" "No, but you would." "Oh
MAN." I leaned back and turned my head towards the laundry. "Oh man." It was painful. I'm not kidding.
I hurt, I ached. Sigh. I didn't know the trip would be this rough. Leaning back looking at them, I was glad it
was clean laundry.
About fifteen minutes later, laundry lady returned. She had an envelope of cash. It was the most money I've ever
seen in my life. It was an absurd amount of dough. She pulled some out and gave it to the desk clerk... presidents
I'd never even seen before. Then she threw the envelope-de-wampum down next to the shirts and vaporized around
the corner. What the hell was going on here?! Jennifer had fallen asleep. Theresa and I stared at each other.
"Where do you wanna go? Hee hee hee..." Theresa looked at the envelope -- it was like those deposit envelopes
retailers have, only it was so stuffed with cash that it was ready to burst. "Where did all that come from?"
She was amazed. Theresa loves money. "It was mine -- it's all the bucks I've spent on the Pretenders."
I don't even think she heard me, but I continued anyway. "You know, that's beau coup bucks, it's scads-o-cash,
multitudes of dollars, but... I'd still rather have just one of these shirts." I looked at them fondly. "You're
out of your mind!" "Hee hee. You take the money, I'll take the shirts, we'll leave Jennifer here."
"My God." She was in awe. "I've never seen that much money before. That's disgusting."
I looked at the envelope too. "Yeah, it kinda is, huh? You'd better look at it now, because you'll probably
never see that much at once again." Put my head back down next to Hynde's shirts. How many more chances would
I ever get to be that close to them again? The best thing was, no one could even yell at me. "Hey! Get away
from that stuff!" I hadn't moved, they'd been placed next to me. These people didn't know me -- what the hell
made them think I wouldn't take anything?
Jennifer woke up. An adult female came in pushing a child in a stroller with the "If found, please return
to..." tag. It was Natalie and who? Her nanny? She'd been in the limousine in Fresno. Adult female in charge
parked small child in stroller and evaporated into the Hall of Mystery. Once again we three looked at each other.
Rock star's clothes and money my ass -- you can't leave a kid here alone! I got up and went
to look down the hallway. Looked both ways -- no one was there. Went and sat back down. You can't leave a toddler
sitting here! Do you know how long it takes to abduct a child? Less than one minute. Especially in a city like
Los Angeles. And the idea that this wouldn't happen in a nice hotel is ludicrous. It happens everywhere.
Natalie had one of those little books for tiny hands, "Chunky Books" they're called. She was kind of
looking at it. Then she dropped it, not on purpose, it just happened. Know how little ones always look around when
they drop something? Someone big usually has to get it for them. She looked at me. Oh God. Oh no. Oh nooooooo.
Sorry, small lass, you're on your own. She reached for it, but was held back by her confines. Looked at me again,
pointing at her book. Theresa said quietly, "Just go give it to her." "What if someone comes out?
No way! I'm a-scared." I noticed no one else moved. The desk clerk had his back to us. I glanced at Natalie
again, still looking at me, still pointing. She hadn't made a sound. No whiny noises because she couldn't reach
her book. No tantrum, could this really be Chrissie's child? Didn't cry, didn't get mad. She just wanted her book,
dammit. And why wouldn't I just give it to her? I got up and checked the hall again. She turned to watch me. Still
no one there. Went back and picked up the book -- baby animals (surprise) -- and gave it to her. "OK, little
one, here's your book." Finally got that smile she wouldn't give up in Fresno. Went and sat back down. Natalie
didn't want to look at her book anymore, she stared at me, like she'd done in Fresno. All children do -- they just
love me cuz I look so weird. Must be the hair -- on a good day it looks like a sunburst, on a bad day I look like
a dip cone. She was no exception. I looked at my feet, but she was still watching me. Know what's so neat about
children? Their minds have absolutely no boundaries. They believe anything you tell them because why wouldn't they?
Anything is possible. And I've never had one tell me not to colour the sky magenta. Looked around, still no one
around so I looked at her and raised an eyebrow, which she thought was pretty funny.
Laundry lady returned. She scooped up everything and left. We had a bored Benton and a bored Hynde-ette. Adult
female in charge returned, took the kiddle out of her cell-on-wheels and put her down on the floor. And left! What
if she'd have wandered off (she wouldn't have gotten far, since we were there) or gotten hurt? I am going to close
my eyes, when I open them, this will all be gone... I can't close my eyes, there is an unattended child here. She
was only a year and a half old. Come on, even most men know you can't leave a kid that age alone. She watched us.
Never came over. Stayed next to a chair on her own side. We were still alone. We had this peek-a-boo thing going,
me slouched on the couch peeking over the armrest, the little one peeking out from behind a chair, when adult female
in charge returned. In less that one-tenth of a millisecond I was sitting upright, staring at my feet again. She
Soon after, Simple Minds gathered in the lobby -- minus a vocalist. Then they left.
Look, my original plan (always subject to change) was to go to the hotel and ask for directions to Costa Mesa and
find out the name of the venue. Then Tracy changed Plan #1. I hadn't wanted to hang around. I'd also just wanted
to thank Chrissie for the tickets, had a feeling this would be my very last chance. OK, so you're wondering why
I didn't ask Dave Hill, right? It's not that I didn't think of it. It just didn't feel right. In conversations,
I try to wait until something feels right. It never happened. Didn't know where Costa Mesa was. Didn't know the
venue (or where in Costa Mesa it was located). Now, I didn't know if we had tickets. This was starting to be not
The guys started to gather. Shit. I guess whether it felt right or not, I'd better ask someone something. Tried
to get Jennifer to ask, but she wouldn't "No! It's your favourite band -- you go ask." People respond
to her very well. We could ask one person the same question and get totally different answers from them, especially
men, who wish to keep her there as long as possible. I get one-word answers, usually. Like it or not, people respond
to how you look. If you are a toad, they'd appreciate it if you'd please go away. Quickly. But Jennifer could get
information faster because, it's like people want to please you if you're attractive -- they'd offer up anything.
I gave it one last try. "Come on, just go ask, it'll only take a minute -- guys like you." She looked
at me. "Well, I guess someone likes you, or she wouldn't have given you tickets." Damn.
That didn't help me any. Chrissie wasn't here anyhow. I sat there as long as I could, dreading this task (until
I was kicked). Martin was nice, I'd try him -- but it didn't feel right. I went over to him. "Martin?"
"Yeah?" He turned towards me. "Do you know the name of the place you guys are playing?" "No,
er, it's the..." He looked off somewhere, searching that distant expanse of lost information. "I don't
know. Dave would know. He should be through in a bit. "OK, thanks." That was the last time I talked to
Martin for many years.
The guys left. Dave Hill came through. Oh shit, were they all leaving now? Having no choice, I approached. "Excuse
me, but do you know the name of the venue?" "It's the Pacific Amphitheatre." I nodded. "Er,
you wouldn't happen to know where that is, would you?" "Uh... no." OK, not too bad. Maybe the desk
clerk could tell us how to get to Costa Mesa. We at least knew the name of the venue. But I had to ask one more
thing. "Um... Chrissie said she'd, uh, give us, uh, tickets." Was he there for that in Fresno? Did he
know anything about this or was it a ridiculous question to ask? "You'd have to ask her." "OK."
I don't wish to appear witless, but HOW AT THIS LATE HOUR MIGHT I ACCOMPLISH THIS? TELL ME HOW MAY I BRING THIS
EVASIVE TASK TO FRUITION? I started back. "She's around here somewhere." He left. Had she? How much more
lost could I be? Not very. Sometimes you have to go find someone. Sometimes you have to get out there and search.
This was not one of those times. I didn't want to go looking for her. I will not hunt her down. Would you want
someone doing that to you? No. Just stay here and think for a minute. Maybe we could just leave and try to find
the place. I mean, she said she'd do it, right? Maybe... "Chrissie just walked by." Theresa indicated
the front doors. "WHAT?!" I stood up immediately. "Where?" I was looking at the doors, then
at her and back again. "Outside? Which way?" "She just walked up that way..." I was gone. I'd
be closer to the doors and would then look to see where she was pointing to get the direction I needed to go in.
There were no valuable seconds to waste. To the right. I had to catch her now! She might be gone! What if she climbed
into a car and left?! Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit. Erupted through the doors. Running so hard I nearly went
off the sidewalk and into the street. It must've looked like I was shot out of a cannon. Chrissie was standing
there with Jim, just out of sight if you were inside looking out. I was out of breath from shooting through the
lobby at top speed, anticipating a run up the hill and completely filled with adrenaline. I stopped just a step
away from the street on one foot. I'd been ready to hit the street, turn, run and cut back to the sidewalk. I was
going way too fast to make that turn at full speed. I hadn't seen her, hadn't looked. I was thinking she'd be up
the street. But I caught a glimpse of a familiar shape and I hit the brakes. I faced her, out of breath. Why does
this always happen to me? It's not that I mind being a dolt, I'm used to that. I just don't want other people to
know. She looked at the door, looked at me, door, me. She laughed. "Hi! You made it!" Made what?
History, for being the biggest blockhead? "Yeah." Theresa and Jennifer appeared. "Um." That
is a statement from me. Um. I looked at the other two. What was I supposed to say? I am NOT diplomatic. I'm awful
at that. What could I say? It would've come out so dreadfully wrong. "Ah, um. We wanted to thank you for the
tickets." "Oh, you're welcome." Well, hell, I guess that's it, huh? Everything was already taken
care of. "Well, have a safe trip and we'll see you next time, huh?" "Yeah." Relieved, I turned
to walk to our car. Heard "Uh." Turned back.
Chrissie, wearing bright pink sweats, was searching pockets she didn't have. Jim had a soccer ball, but I'm guessing
she wasn't the one who'd been playing. "Do you have some paper?" Paper? For what? I had a piece (I always
did, remember?). "I need your names again. He's leaving now. He'll take care of it." She indicated Jim,
the only "he" among us. Did I have a pen? Someone did. Theresa looked at me. No one ever heard her when
she spoke. I pointed to her "Theresa Benton." I was going to say "with an H", but I was watching
her write and she'd put it in. "Are you guys related to Barbie?" Theresa and I hated that line. "No.
We're related to Brook." I caught Chrissie off guard with that one -- she burst out laughing. "Lisa Benton."
She wrote my name. Jennifer said, "Jennifer Pons." "Like the cold cream?" She'd written "Ponds."
"No, there's no D." She crossed it out. "OK." "Thanks." "Sure." I guess
we weren't really supposed to show up? There are the facts, maybe someone can figure it out. I sure as hell can't.
We walked off and got into the car. "Where are we going?" I looked back down the hill. They were gone.
"Follow that limo!" It shot past us and we tore out after it. It wove in and out of traffic, finally
got on the freeway. We were right on them. Once on the freeway, it sped up. So did Theresa. "What the hell
is this guy doing?" We went faster and faster, switching lanes, switching back. Faster, faster. "I guess
Jim is late?" Theresa said, "Look at this, we're going a hundred -- I don't believe it. If we get a ticket,
it's your fault!" I didn't know she'd already gotten one on the way down. She didn't tell me until a few weeks
later. "You tell Dad, he won't yell at you. "Yeah, probably because I wasn't the one who was driving."
We stayed with it. "What is this? One final test?" A sign said COSTA MESA. What a relief! Another, later,
said PACIFIC AMPHITHEATRE RIGHT LANE. Theresa asked, "Should we lose the limo and get over?" "No.
Stay with 'em -- they're going right to it." Then, instantly, the limo pulled across four lanes and exited.
"You fucker!" I yelled, sure we wouldn't make the exit. There was a lot of traffic, and no one driving
under 65 mph (I feel so old, this was back in the days when LA traffic actually moved). I don't know how she did
it, but Theresa made the exit without slowing down, and we stayed on their tail. Were they trying to kill us?
Arrived at the Pacific Amphitheatre. Stuck my arm out the window to wave to the limo. The limo window went down,
Jim's arm came out and waved back. We went to the regular parking area. Finally parked. Located the entrance. The
woman checked a list. Checked another list. And another. "I don't see these names on here. Who put you on
the list?" Well, was it Chrissie or Jim? Was there a list for each band? Unsure of what to say, I said, "Chrissie
Hynde." Would she even know which band that was? "Oh?" She reached back and got another list. "Oh,
here we go, we got it."
Simple Minds' first song started. Got the tickets. Got searched. Jim watched us come in -- he waved. We waved back.
Before the Pretenders started, some guy next to us set up a stand. It went way over our heads, held three microphones.
The security grabbed him fast. The show was good. We were much, much more fatigued than any of us knew. When we
came out, we couldn't find the car. This was a huge parking lot. I couldn't stand up anymore. I remember saying
I couldn't walk. "Let's sit down for awhile." Sat, leaning against a wall, unable to move, while the
crowd left. "There's the car." I stumbled the whole way to it, climbed into the front seat, and... we
were driving off the road. I woke up, fast. "AHHHHH!" I hit Theresa. "GET ON THE ROAD!" Theresa
started screaming, "I can't stay awake! The freeway ended back there and the whole thing is under construction.
I've been trying to read the map and I can't, it's too small and my eyes hurt!" Now for Theresa to lose it,
it's bad. I stayed awake and let her sleep for twenty minutes. I studied the map (I couldn't read it either, my
eyes hurt too). Woke her up. "OK, I feel better." Twenty minutes does wonders. Navigated us back to the
hotel. It was almost 4:00 am. Got up at 8:00 am. By the time we left, it was after 10:00. We were dragging our
asses. I thought the band would've been gone by that time. My brain was not functioning (not that it ever is).
We left. Headed for home. Jennifer said she'd drive once we were out of Los Angeles. She drove for about twenty
minutes, said she was tired. Theresa took over. We'd stopped earlier at a store and found cans of Tahitian Treat,
which we hadn't seen in years. They were hot. I held them in front of the air conditioning vents as long as I could,
just so they weren't hot. We were dying from the heat. Even with the air on, the sunlight poured through the glass
and baked us. Theresa explained how scary it was the night before. "There were these big tomatoes crossing
the road. And I kept seeing giant penguins. And those signs above the road, the green ones? I kept thinking they
were the backs of trucks and I was going to crash into them." I stayed awake for the entire trip home. I had
to keep Theresa awake.
When we made it back to the house, Theresa was so tired she fell asleep on the couch instead of going home. She
couldn't have stayed awake for the fifteen minutes it would have taken her to get there. I passed out too, blissful!