Number One Fan
Here in the morning
things sure look different
You are still beautiful
I am all gone.
Bruce Robison, "Go to Your Heart"
This is a photograph of Bruce Robison, one of the greatest country songwriters alive, taken last night at a local nightclub. I am actually in the photo, to the right of Bruce, but if I show it to you, you will know what a blithering dork I can be.
Oh wait, you're reading my blog. You already know about that.
Remember last summer when I bumped into Mary Steenbergen, and explained why I find it weird to talk to strangers I admire?
It must be so strange to be famous, to be on the receiving end of that sense of urgency people feel when they run into you. To meet people all the time whom you know nothing about, yet they feel connected to you, perhaps significantly. You might have been part of their first date, the naming of their child, their Mom's funeral, but the current doesn't flow both ways.
Okay, there's that, but I left out how weird those lopsided exchanges make me.
Someone that normal people might be starstruck bysay, Brad Pittcould have walked up to my table last night and asked for a light, and I probably would have told him to shush and wait for the break, because this song? Made my husband cry when I put it on a mix for him during a really rough time. And the one that has all the sweethearts slow dancing makes me ache with every unrequited love I never had. And this next one makes me think of my little band of brothers at home and imagine them out on the town together some night years and years from now.
Sit down, Brad. Go away.
But what happens when one of my girlfriends taps someone like Bruce Robison on his Levi's-clad back and sends him over to talk to me? My brain short circuits and trips over into free association mode, and random stuff starts coming out of my mouth. I try so hard to avoid all the fan cliches, that I just start grasping at things. "You write music!" I inform Bruce. "You have children!"
Locked in a supply closet in the back of my brain, my better self starts banging her head on the door.
"You live in Texas!" (Texas. Texas. Think. THINK. Kerrville is in Texas!)
"Ever play Kerrville?"
Here I prattle on about the Kerrville Folk Festival, to which I have never been, and know nearly nothing about, for several long minutes, during which time the real me looks for something to ram her way out.
"I'm not much of a folkie," Bruce says politely. "I'm more into Johnny Cash."
(EVER HEARD OF HIM?)
At this I panic, and attempt to restore my credibility as a person who knows something about country music.
"Have you ever been to Ireland?" I squeak.
My best hope now is that a beer bottle will come sailing through the air and knock me out cold.
I insist to Bruce that he must tour Ireland, where he will be bigger than Jesus. I promise him that the Irish government will open its treasury to him and hand him all its Euros, and I vaguely intimate that I "know people" and might be able to hook him up with, well, Ireland and its country music loving people.
I hand him a card with my blog on it. Passport to the world, baby.
Far down my winding & twisted neural pathways, I can still hear weeping.