On Friday, I got out of work later than I’d planned. Picking up Pearl took longer than I’d anticipated. Even the drive/flight home was longer than usual. Only because I was in a hurry. Fate was rearing its ugly head already.
The mother had things well in hand at home so I had plenty of time to change. We even made it out of the house on time. (Rarely happens with the mother.) Traffic was every bit as bad as I’d thought and as we battled through rush hour, we joked about how this would be the way we’d miss meeting him this time.
Instead, we made it to Channel 9 by around 5:45 p.m. There was already a small group in the lobby and the mother and I snagged the last two available chairs. They told us we could go in soon but they weren’t quite ready for the meet and greet. Hurry up and wait mode began. We would be there for the next nearly 90 minutes.
They let us into the studio around 6:20 p.m. (For those in St. Louis – if you’ve ever seen their pledge drives on TV, it’s the same room where they do those.) The mother and I got a table (one of several spread throughout the room) about 25 feet from a director’s chair set up front. We were among the lucky. Eventually, they would tell people that they had “run out” of chairs.
People were strung oddly about the room.
We shared our table with a couple. About 15 minutes of idle chit chat followed. The wife eventually asked me, “Where did you two meet?” I had to stifle a chuckle. “Um, in the delivery room, 40 some years ago. I really don’t remember much about it.”
The woman stared at me quizzically until I finally said, “She’s my mother.” Much to the mother’s delight, the woman then said, “You two could be sisters!” Aw. Nice. (Feeling like the AARP is now breathing down my neck.)
Ultimately, I got us a place in the “greet line.” It was kind of unfair that people who had arrived 10 minutes earlier were at the front of this line, but it wasn’t actually a very well organized affair. (Even though the people at Channel 9 were accommodating, apologetic and incredibly nice.)
When they ushered some VIPs behind curtains, I knew he was in the building. By this time, it was close to 7 and the meet line snaked around the room. We, luckily, were in the front half. Minutes later, after a brief introduction, out came Chris Botti! The room erupted.
The rote was to have camera ready and hand it to Chris’s manager who apparently takes all the photos. (In fairness to the mother, she did get caught mid-blink.)The guy is really cute (especially for a blond guy which normally don’t grab me), incredibly nice and has a penchant for black clothing. And after almost three years, we finally got to meet him.
And the show hadn't even started yet!