It wasn’t bad as far as summer jobs were concerned.
It was rock and roll, kind of.
By day, I babysat, and by night, I looked after famous people, or looked after the people who were there to see famous people.
There weren’t many women on the security detail at the summer concert venue where I worked. The uniform was pretty awful, a short sleeve pinstripe oxford and ill-fitting blue khakis, but I managed to make it mine by wearing a tank top as an exposed undershirt, a wide leather belt, and my ever present Doc Martens.
It was a party, at least when our shift ended. There was either a keg or a bar or the occasional bonfire on the beach. It was college. It was summer.
It was a coveted job. There were perks. Most nights, I was assigned a station in vantage point of the stage and got to watch a show while making sure the patrons didn’t block the aisles, or I was assigned a position back stage, and had the perverse pleasure of observing how certain celebrities behaved off the clock. There was the female singer who ran into the wings in between songs to take drags of a cigarette held by her assistant. There was the mega talented musician whose contract stated that no one was allowed to make eye contact with him between the green room and the stage. There were the drunk wives of rock stars and there were groupies and sometimes, there were both.
It was 1993. Soundgarden was the opening band for Neil Young. Someone set the mosh pit on fire during the Metallica concert. Ten Thousand Maniacs performed one of their last shows there together, before announcing the band would split up.
I chatted with rock stars before they went on stage. And while I was way too cool on the exterior to ever admit how much this excited me, it was all pretty trippy to a kid who had spent most of her formative years as a star struck fan to one band or another.
I started young, with musician love. The early 80’s brought on an explosion of bands branded for the teeny boppers like me.
But there was never a band that hit me as fast or as furiously as Duran Duran.
Before U2 and Before Nirvana, there were the boys from Birmingham.
I knew their middle names. I knew their birthdays and their favorite foods. I spent my allowance money on Tiger Beat magazine and stayed up hours into the night to catch the Rio or Hungry Like the Wolf video on MTV.
I had a favorite band member, and like most of the world, it was John Taylor who had won my undying devotion. I can’t tell you the number of fights I had with fellow JT worshippers over which one of us he’d marry.
While my infatuation with all things DD had simmered years before my 1993 summer job, somewhere inside me, the flame still burned for Simon, John, Nick, Roger, and Andy.
The Arts Center was packed and so was the stage. The Duran Duran crew arrived with an elaborate set that took most of the day to assemble. It was a hot late July evening and due to the sold out crowd, security was in full force.
I spent most of the concert that I most wanted to see at the rear stage door, close enough to hear the band, but unable to see them.
On my ten minute break, I ran out into the audience to catch a few minutes of the show, and greeted them while they were in the chorus of this song.
They were glorious.
My supervisor moved me to another post, this time to back stage right. It would be a long evening at this post, since typically whoever was assigned to back stage had to stay until the stagehands cleared the sets after the show. I imagined they would be tearing down that set until two o’clock in the morning.
Surprisingly, at 11:30, my supervisor told me to go home. While I was relieved to not have to stay through the striking of the set, there was a disappointment, to be leaving the venue without as much of a close up glance of the band that defined my childhood.
While heading for the side stage exit, the door to the nearby green room opened. I was in such a hurry to sign out from my shift that I almost didn’t notice the tall, square jawed man who had emerged. I almost didn’t look up to see him as he approached and almost passed me.
As I walked, I glanced up startled, to find him a mere three feet away.
I was gawking. I didn’t care.
I’m sure he didn’t care either. I imagine he was used to it.
“Great set,” I said to him, finally able to speak.
“Thanks,” he said, with a gracious smile, and then continued walking.
There he was, and there he went.
That night stands out to me two decades later for many reasons, for meeting a childhood idol for sure, but it was more than that. That night was a reminder to me that life is full of surprises, great surprises, and that we should always expect the unexpected, in the best way possible.
Unlike the lyrics of one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands, there is no ordinary world, except for the one that exists in our minds. Life is extraordinary. Every minute of it. There is no such thing as mundane, except for what we make mundane. For, there is beauty and miracles and wonder and surprises and opportunity all around us, when we’re looking.
Life is a miracle waiting to happen…and with a tiny shift in perspective, the miracle that’s waiting for you can happen right now.