|Evie is always down for adventure.|
I get a kick out of autographing things for people who dig Red Snapper. I'm always flattered because I'm just a small town girl who takes her clothes off in the big city. I've done some cool stuff, but I don't think of myself as any kind of big deal. If you ask me to autograph something, you'll get the same cheesy grin you see above because I'm tickled and amused that you want a memento of me.
Thursday I was a fan girl, and I wondered if the autographers think the same way I do. My best-good friend Evie joined me for the day of adventuring. (I love that I have a gal pal who is down for whatever random scheme I have cooked up.) We went to Long Beach at 6:30am to wait until 2pm for autographs from three of the LA Kings: Martin Jones, Jake Muzzin, and Anze Kopitar. Evie and her husband introduced us to hockey in 2011, so it was quite perfect that we went together.
This kind of signing is way different from someone buying a photo or t-shirt from me at a show and having me sign it. (I think I've signed a couple people over the years.) This is large scale stuff that wouldn't seem to give much opportunity for personal interaction or conversation. We plopped our chairs into position near the door around 7:15am, sixth and seventh in line. I brought sewing projects, she brought reading material. We had snacks, and we could trust the other folks in our chaired area in line to keep an eye on our stuff when we went to fast food places for more refreshments. (I highly recommend offering to bring something back for your seated line neighbors. It's polite and builds camaraderie.) I camped out for concert tickets back when I was a tween and teen, but never for more than three or four hours. This was a commitment, and we were prepared.
About thirty minutes before the signing was to begin, we put away our chairs and were ushered into Staples, winding our way around the entire store. Apparently the line had grown to 1000 people, and the city was getting complaints so they had to clear some of the sidewalk and alleyways. We were limited to one item per signature, so I had my jersey signed and Evie got a photo of the two of us without pants and with jerseys on signed. I had a few more personal items I was hoping to get signed (like a second copy of the photo, my nephew's birthday card, and a copy of Sports Illustrated), but I didn't push it. With 1000 people in line, they needed the line to move and their hands would've cramped horribly if they made exceptions for everyone.
I didn't anticipate having any opportunity for conversation. If I had expected it, I would have prepared myself better. I don't mean I would've had some grand speech prepared, but I would've had something intelligent to say. I try to be approachable for my fans so they don't have to go through this sort of thing.
We rounded the corner for autographs and I got my nephew's birthday card signed by Bailey. I've gotten a couple photos with Bailey, so I wasn't tongue-tied and stupid. I dig Bailey. No, my moment of stupidity came at the next stop: Martin Jones.
I should explain this a bit. Quick is the primary goaltender for the Kings, and Quick is amazing. It seems like he catches pucks with his nuts. Quick was out for a spell last season, and Jones was the backup goaltender for our backup goaltender. He won his first several games and had consecutive shutouts. He's cool as a cucumber on the ice, and he's just adorable. I think he's the same age as one of my suede coats. So I wasn't prepared to say how much I admire this kid and that I'm old enough to be his mom. (I also want to add that living in Los Angeles has a funny effect on being starstruck. You shop at the same supermarket as Uma Thurman, or get your coffee at the same gas station as Jason Alexander. I wound up starstruck by Richard Simmons, Richard Hatch from Battlestar Galactica TOS, and the guy who played Tony Dimera on "Days of Our Lives." All of these people were very much a part of my childhood as I watched TV in flyover country.)
So back to Jones. I pass over my jersey as planned and say hello, and it seems like time starts moving really slowly and I'm compelled to talk. I didn't have any planned mini-speeches, so why couldn't I keep my mouth shut? I blurt out, "I feel like such a nerd!" That was a pretty stupid thing to say because I'm making it all about my feelings and probably making it weird. It would've been weirder if I'd said, "Hey bro, I'm old enough to be your mom and I think you're great." That would be really weird. But nope, I describe myself as a nerd which actually makes me sound like a stalker and I'm so not a stalker. He looked up and said, "Why is that?" I've lost all conversational skills because I'm starstruck. How do I answer this question when I'm ill-prepared? I sound like an asshole if I say that I'm more excited to get his autograph than the two guys who've been in the NHL much longer who are next to him. (I was excited to get their autographs as well, but I wasn't tongue-tied and stupid about it.)
Somehow I manage to censor myself from saying something stupid like "I carried a watermelon." I confess that we've been there since 7am for this. I practically said I carried a watermelon. I also made it weird again because it was about me. At least I didn't say, "I'm a total fucking tool," which would've been accurate in that moment even if it was too honest. I collected my jersey and moved along to Muzzin and Kopi and was perfectly polite and didn't act like an idiot at all.
Evie and I headed back to the car, floating from autographs and feeling accomplished after investing a day in a couple lawn chairs in a Long Beach parking lot.
See, I'm more awkward than you, dear fans.