I took Austin to see Rob Thomas at the Borgata in Atlantic City last night. This was his Christmas present from us this year. He is a huge fan and this was his first time going to a concert, so it was a pretty big deal for him. I wasn't sure whether he would be overwhelmed by everything, but he was just fine and loved it--singing along to every song and bouncing in his seat. We were really close to the stage, which afforded us the unexpected opportunity for Austin to meet his idol at the end of the show. Rob was so nice--he shook Austin's hand, looked right into his eyes, and thanked him for coming. It was a great moment and one of those times you live for as a mom of a special needs child, when you feel that deep down sense that you are succeeding in providing truly happy experiences for your child. Well, I'm sure every mom lives for those moments, but I think special needs moms are just a smidge more blown away by them because they are so hard-won.
As I said, we had really good seats, which put us in the midst of all the superfans. Ten years ago, I'm not sure I really knew or appreciated that these people even existed or just how organized and intense they can be. But then, through a funny little twist of odd circumstances, I found myself smack in the middle of that scene. I will admit to having a long history of obsessive adoration when it comes to my favorite musicians, but it was always primarily a solitary thing for me. And yet, there I was, part of a fully fleshed out subculture of fandom that is very hard to explain to anyone who's never been inside such a group. My life was full of cross-country concert trips, ticket buying/scalping/upgrading, secret concert videotaping, concert webcasting, backstage passes, meet-and-greets, rumor mills, behind-the-scenes catfights, and the relentless pursuit of every piece of minutiae that could be associated with one minor celebrity. But it was also full of friendship and adventure, which is what I miss, having discovered that I do not have the single-mindedness, time, or energy to keep pace with the pseudo-cult that is superfandom. Watching the women all around me last night brought back a lot of memories, though, seeing them all lined up with their zoom lens cameras and their cellphones, comparing notes with each other before and after the show. To those of you reading this who became my friends through message boards and middle-of-the-night hotel rendezvous, I just want to say thank you for the crazy madness and yes, I still have that wonderfully embarrassing quilt.