Thursday, September 02, 2010

Happy Holiday I Never Heard of Before

True Story: Sometime in the early nineties, when 90210 was in its heyday, and I was in the 7th grade, my best friend and I convinced my mom to take us to a local mall where Ian Zearing and Luke Perry were going to be appearing.

To this day, I have no idea why we did this: Because it was on the radio? Because some of our friends were totally rabid Luke Perry fans? Because it seemed like this huge deal at the time? I am honestly not sure - neither she nor I were huge fans of those particular actors, (although I did have a crush on Jason Priestly in his pre-90210, Teen Angel and later Sister Kate days) even though we liked them well enough, and neither one of us remembers being particularly enthusiastic about the show as a whole. We weren't super fans or mega fans, or anything more than "I know all about Brendan and Kelly, think Brenda should get back with Dylan, and don't care about Donna and David" followers. We watched the show, but in the pre-everybody has their own TV in their room days, weren't guaranteed to even catch it every week, and it wasn't that big of a deal because everybody in school would be talking about it the next day anyways. All I can come up with was that some of our friends were going, so we wanted to go too.

So we talked my mom into getting up at 7:30 on a Saturday morning (no easy feat) to drive us the 6 minutes to get to the mall. (I was not allowed to take the bus back then. You too can roll your eyes over the injustice of it all with my 12 year old self if you'd like.) When we got there, it was packed. Shockingly, worse than any Christmas shopping day ever, overly packed. There must have been hundreds teenage/tween girls there, and they didn't even let us inside the mall.

Instead they rounded us all up on the outside concourse, behind the mall, around a little lake - which up till then I hadn't even known existed - with a path that was cut directly from the Charles River. I remember standing there shivering, although I can't recall exactly what season we were in - Cold. That's about it. Covers everything from November to April in Cambridge, so I can't narrow it down. Just that it was cold and brittle, and that teenage girls who had taken all morning to get their hair just. right. in anticipation of meeting the dreamy Luke Perry had their hopes crumpled when the wind whipped around and gave everybody the same "I've just lived through a cyclone" hairdo.

My mom had her coffee, smoked her cigarettes and muttered under her breath about how she let herself get talked into these things. My friend and I, unable to find any of the other girls who'd sworn they would be there in the midst of the huge crowd, mostly shifted from one foot to the other trying to keep warm, talking about nothing in particular and dreaming of hot chocolate and donuts when this was all through. I don't even remember being excited. Just cold. And bored. And not particularly happy about this waiting outside nonsense.

And then there was an announcement, and the lady from the mall must have said something about them coming, because there was a huge cheer. We didn't hear what she said, but the excitement in the crowd amped up a lot, and I know my friend was starting to feel it, because she started to do this tense little hop. Other girls started to pop up a little bit too, trying to see over the crowd, and for some reason, this made me feel anxious as well. Something was coming. Somebody was coming, and it was somebody famous. And that started to get a little bit exciting.

We waited like that for a few minutes, things getting louder and more intense, until finally we heard a boat's engine coming in from the river. From where we were standing, I could see the water pretty clearly - everyone had assumed they'd be in the mall, so those of us in the back actually wound up having the best few when we all had to turn around.

And now girls were screaming, and there was a lot of noise, and the boat was zooming around the little waterway (pond? maybe.) and the two actors were on the boat waving grandly. Smiling, waving, on their parts; cheering, screaming and clapping from the crowd. I have to admit, the noise was slightly overwhelming. I do not remember contributing to the noise really, but I must have: I was big on fitting in, so I can't imagine I just stood there and made a "Why the hell are we all making so much noise?" face, even if that's what I was feeling. I probably cheered and clapped, and I do remember hugging my best friend back when she was so excited that she hugged me.

And then Luke Perry took a megaphone, thanked everyone for coming and said what great fans we were. And Ian Zearing had his turn and said something very similar. And then the boat went around the little waterway again, and it zipped back out on to the river, two actors waving as they left, hundreds of girls standing there cheering.

The entire experience had lasted ten minutes, tops.

Now, I had not really even been all that excited. I had not even particularly wanted to meet the actors. But I can remember being more than a little bit pissed that all they did was zoom around the water twice, say "Thanks for coming" and then zoom off again. I know I wondered what the hell I had gotten out of bed early for. And I definitely remember being more than a little upset that they never even let us in the mall (I wanted hot chocolate!) Other girls, girls who'd brought posters or hats or t-shirts for them to sign were probably more than a little upset, and I don't really blame them: I'm pretty sure we had all been told that there would be a signing, so I can imagine more than one tweenage girl left with a broken heart. (Probably through no fault of the actors themselves, but rather some bad public relations, but still.)

So that is my one and only "I've met a celebrity" story, and it contains no actual meeting, and makes me sound like one of the Twihards who pass out at the mall when a certain sparkly vampire (or rather, the actor playing him) shows up. In reality, my brush with celebrity was cold, disappointing (no hot chocolate!), short and rather unimpressive.

But still: It did give me a story to tell on 9-02-10 Day. :)


traceyclark said...

that is a hilarious story! perfect for 90210 day! : ) i do want you to know one thing. when you were a screaming 7th grader, I was a college student who had friends over on 90210 nite. yep! not that it makes me feel old or anything. : )

and did you see?? you won Kate's necklace at Shutter Sisters? so happy for you!

Sue Jackson said...

ha ha ha - I had no idea it was 9-02-10 day...that was sort of after my time.

Great story, though - you have a wonderful way of painting a picture with your words!