Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Tornadoes, Security Breeches & Hal Sparks

By hook or by crook.

I made this determination a few weeks ago - that I wouldn't let anything stop me from meeting Hal Sparks.

I've let a lot of things hold me back in life doing the things I wanted to do, and I just decided I was tired of living life on the fringes.  I wanted to jump in the pool for once.

And as empowering as this may seem, Fate decided to really test my tenacity.

There was the battle over the money for one.  It should have come in a month ago, giving me a significant cushion to prepare for a trip.  I am the Queen of Planning after all. 

May 30th came and went without a check - and I started to really freak out that I couldn't do this thing I've been planning on doing pretty much all year.  Pretty soon, NYC was out of the question.  It was just too costly for me to go, unless I went by myself.  Which was a little too daunting.

Finally I decided to go to San Francisco instead, the price was much more reasonable than NYC.  Steven and I could both go to SF for the price it would have taken for me to go by myself to NYC.  So Steven arranged time off and we waited on the check to come in.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

As time marched on and the prices for SF reached outrageous levels.  We called to see where the check was and they told us it would come in at the end of June.  This was heartbreaking - I decided that there was no way I could fly out there, even by myself.

But I wanted to.  I really, really wanted to.

Steven, bless his heart, was going to take me on a trip anyway - somewhere I wanted to go, to get my mind off things.

Problem was, there was only one place I wanted to go.

And I couldn't go.

IF I flew.

Last week I decided that Steven had four days off in a row and we'd have the money for a trip - instead of driving to Houston, why not just drive to California?

And that's what we did.

You'd think, after all that, Fate would say, "Well Ginger... it appears you really want to do this.  I support you in your endeavors."

I know I thought that.

We both were wrong.

As we were heading out of Texas on Friday, there was a storm brewing to the south of Lubbock.  It was actually really pretty to watch, and so I thought nothing of it.  Timothy says that he thought he saw a tornado, but my son has his teenage drama king moments and I kinda laughed it off.

UNTIL...

I turned my head and saw a tornado forming.  I don't know if you're aware but tornadoes form from the ground up, that funnel you see is basically debris swirling upward in the wind vortex.  So what I saw was the bottom part of the tornado trying to reach the top part of the tornado.

At one part, it look liked three were trying to form.

It was actually pretty awe inspiring to see it.  We were far enough away so we were safe, and we sat there on the side of the road just watching Mother Nature do her thing.

One thing that crossed my mind was if tornadoes form from the ground like that, what if it happened right over someone?  This tornado was in the forming stages only, and stayed that way for a long time.  How would someone on the ground known that's what it was?

We finally realized that the storm had progressed north enough to be over our heads as well.  We looked up and saw a bubbling effect, which my sister said was bad news.  We decided it was high time to get back on the road... and quickly.

We finally reach Clovis, New Mexico, which is where we stop for a bite to eat.  By the time we exit the restaurant, another storm had begun to move into the area.  We see one patch of beautiful thunderheads, that were pink from the setting sun.  Then we turned the corner to our car and see nothing but ickiness, grey/brown clouds that hung overhead.

As we get into the car I look up and I realize the clouds above us are rotating.  Flashback to my concern about the people on the ground when a tornado forms.  All of a sudden it gets really cold and debris begins to kick up on the ground, spinning upward.  We haul tail to get out of there, this is bad news.

I get around the restaurant and head back onto the street and the wind starts to blow massive amounts of sand and dirt down the street, reducing my visability to zero.  It's marching down the road I'm on in shafts of dense dust, like curtains.  My sister suggests we wait it out, but I just wanted to get us the heck outta there, and I did.

Once onto the street I was dodging things like trash can lids, and the wind was so strong it nearly mowed down a biker couple on their Hog next to us.  It lifted up our car, scaring everyone who had enough estrogen (and sense) to be scared.  Needless to say, I made tracks. 

We finally made it through to clear skies, where a beautiful sunset waited.  That's when the radio chimed in an alert that a tornado was due east of Clovis.

We were due west.

Those people on the ground?

We were them.

It was scary, but we kinda laughed it off that we had a great story now.

We pulled into Las Vegas early Saturday morning.  I had slept probably about four hours at that point.  I did most of the driving because I was bound and determined to make this thing happen.

We had a 2:00pm plane out of Vegas to San Francisco.  I realized during the week that I couldn't drive all the way to SF but I could stop somewhere closer and fly in, and that's what I did.  My sister, God love her, went with me.  Not because she's a Hal fan but because she didn't want me to go by myself.  Plus she's always wanted to see San Francisco.

So we made it in time to change and freshen up for the flight in.  We make it to the airport.  We make it through all the usual airport stuff, including a special security screen we were randomly chosen for.  I had never been screened before and I joked with the guy that it was a good thing I only had my purse.  Up to the gate we go, where we have a couple of drinks, play a couple of slots ("Wheel!  of!  Fortune!!").

Then we board. 

Not so fast, Mrs. Voight.

Turns out the screener forgot to stamp my boarding pass and they couldn't clear me to board the plane.  I had to race from the Southwest gates back to the security checkpoint (which, if you're familiar with McCarron, involves a tram).  No, they cannot hold the plane... so hurry.

We race back to the security checkpoint where they wanted me to go in behind everyone else to get re-checked.  I raise enough ruckus because to my knowledge the next plane to SF is at 6pm, which would make me miss Hal's first show.

I didn't come all this way to miss Hal's first show.

So finally they just stamp it and send us back, but by the time we get there the doors have been closed.  No, they can't open them.

So we get bumped to the next flight which, to my relief, was only 45 mins away.

We get to Oakland, we cab to San Franscisco.  We make it to the theater where I'm figuring, the only thing that can go wrong at this point is that the show is sold out.  Fortunately it wasn't.  We buy tickets for both shows.  The dude says, "You're just buying them today?  Where have you been?"  And I say, "Texas."  He was surprised I'd come all that way.

Then we go walking through the neighborhood where the theater sits, to sightsee and to grab a bite to eat.  I love San Francisco, it's got great personality, and my sister felt it too.  By the time 7:15pm rolled around I was starting to get nervous.  We headed back to the club.  We take our seats about midway back.  There's a two drink minimum, and by this time I needed one. 

The show started.  There were three comedians, and Hal was the last one to perform.  I laughed, the other two were pretty funny.  But I was wigging out that soon I'd see this guy I started crushing on three years ago thanks to I Love the 80s.  At last... it was time.

Hal ran out onto the stage and I grabbed my sister's arm like a squealy schoolgirl.  He then proceeded to make me laugh harder than I think I've ever laughed at a comedian, and I enjoy comedians immensely.  The show ran long (no complaints here) so there wasn't time for a meet and greet in between.

Fine by me.

I go back out, stand in line, get new seats and enjoy a rerun of the same show. 

When it was over, Hal came into the audience to meet with everyone and have pictures taken.

So I get in line...

It's do or die.

And I finally decided I didn't come all that way to be scared.

I stood in line watching him interact with his fans.  A more gracious, generous celebrity you'd be hard pressed to find.  He looks as though he really enjoys meeting people.

Finally I'm second in line to a group of ladies.  They chat and laugh with him, and he talks about a movie that they had all seen, makes a joke that I found funny so I laugh.

Our eyes meet.

My heart stops.

Finally they're gone and I'm up.

I stick out my hand and say, "Hi.  I'm Ginger from Myspace." (which is code for, you know.. that weird chick who always loads down your comment page with movie quotes and jokes and weird funny messages."

He enthusiastically responds, "Yeah, hi!"

I told him that I had braved a tornado driving all the way from Texas, he gets this "ohhhh" look on his face, and I tell him I get a hug.  So I lean in, we pose for our photo and then break away.

Then, spontaneously, Hal reaches for another hug and tells me to be careful driving home.  I burst out how much I love him, like the dork I promised myself I wouldn't be.

Then my sister gets a hug, some more things were said but I couldn't tell you what they were.

Finally I leave, and I ask him if I bug him by sending him those messages.  He assures me that I don't.  So I promise I'll keep bugging him then. We both laugh.

I walk out of that theater walking on air.  It was completely worth EVERYTHING.

Where even non celebrity men treat me as though I have the plague... Hal was warm and receptive and loving.

I can't even tell you what it means to me. 

We ended up staying the night in the airport rather than get a room, but other than that the trip back was uneventful.  We spent some time in LA with Steven's family, which was very nice.  Poor Steven hadn't been to visit his grandma since his grandpa passed away, so it was tough on him.

Speaking of Steven I realized something.

I was just as happy to see him when I stepped off the plane in LA as I was to see Hal in San Francisco.  I still get a rush of excitement when I know I'm going to see him.

And I love that is still there in our relationship.

So there you have it- my Holy Grail.

B is definitely for Brave.
B is also for Bold, because I was shaking like a leaf when I reached for Hal's hand, but my sister said I didn't act like a goofball at all.
T is definitely for Tenacious.

The only thing bad, was realizing how fat I still look in the photo with Hal, but I'm just going to have to get over it.  If he didn't look at me like there was anything wrong, why do I need to fixate on it?  Why ruin such a great memory?

But it does strenghten my resolve that the next time I see him (and there will be a next time) that there will be less of me to hug.

The only thing is my weight is no longer a deterrant to keep me from doing anything anymore.

I have just as much right as anyone to do, see, go, live - being thin is not a qualifyer.

Being me is enough.

And God bless Hal for thinking the same.

 

1 comment:

cranmohr said...

Hi Ginger
Yay!  I am so happy for you that you were able to achieve your goal in the face of all of that opposition.  The picture of the two of you is lovely!!  You look wonderful in it.  It is the face of victory.  Keep knowing in your heart that you can reach your goals......every one of them!  (I finally got this to work)   Chris