The Dixie Chicks are in the news again. No matter what your politics are, you have to admit they have a fairly exciting lifestyle. I’m going to tell you about the night I had their lifestyle for just a bit. No matter how small the resemblance, it was still one of the most exciting times of my life.
In the summer of 2000 one of my friends got tickets for our little group to see the Dixie Chicks. This was “pre-Bush embarrassment” and they were one of the hottest tickets in town. Nancy was able to get us tickets through a friend of a friend who knows someone who knows someone with the Dixie Chicks. I've never known anyone famous but now I have someone who is a friend of a friend of someone famous. Maybe that counts. We numbered four and each of us had something to contribute for the evening. Nancy got the tickets and handled the money. I cooked a tailgate dinner-mostly salads and cold stuff. I was deep into my Martha Stewart phase so it was very elaborate and tasty. Janet was in charge of the ice and drinks, including Champagne. And Lori said she would drive.
We all met at Lori's office to switch to her car. Lori owns a website design company and she had just moved into a fancy new office. Business was booming and she was tired. So she did what I understand the overworked, wealthy and generous do on occasion: she hired a limo for us that evening. Lori was ready to kick butt and enjoy herself. And we were only too glad to go along for the ride. She introduced us to Carlos, our chauffer for the evening.
Carlos was driving a long black stretch limo with darkened windows, not the wimpy kind they use as funerals. It had a bar with crystal wine glasses. Janet uncorked the champagne and we popped in the latest Dixie Chicks CD then sat in total luxury while Carlos, our newest best friend, worried about traffic and parking. When we got to the concert Carlos set up our table with our red and white checked tablecloth and began acting as our personal maitre’d. I guess there’s not much for a driver to do once he’s finished driving. Hanging around us must have beat sitting in a hot car by himself. We got out all the food I had been cooking for two days and it was delicious from the Gazpacho right down to the Lemon Poppyseed cake.
The parking lot was great people watching territory. We could see right off the bat that we were a good 20 or 30 years older than most of the audience. They were going to be mostly teenaged girls, some with their families and some alone. Sitting there in our small circle of lawn chairs, half of us could see teenagers coming toward us and maintained a running report on the tightness of their jeans and the boots. The other half of us watched them as they walked away from us and observed that there's a style of shirt now that's almost totally backless. "You sure couldn't wear one of those if you had any boobs," said Janet, who has plenty enough for the rest of us. We were starting to feel pretty old and motherly.
After a drive totally without hassle, after our leisurely and tasty meal and an assortment of great girlfriend talk; we just left Carlos to clean everything up and strolled into the concert and our reserved seats. It turned out that Nancy’s friend of the friend wasn’t that great of a friend or maybe our tickets were at the bottom of the friend’s priorities because our seats were in the nosebleed section. Just getting to our seats was an aerobic exercise. This turned out to be not such a bad thing; the concert was for their “Fly” album and there was a huge helium fake fly buzzing around the ceiling. We had a better view of the fly than most people. I think the fly’s main function was to dispense t-shirts and assorted gimmees to warm up the crowd. I realize having a huge fly buzzing around you at a concert throwing things at you may not sound very classy but, trust me, it was cool.
It was a great concert. Especially considering that I knew very little about the Chicks and had bought my first CD only the day before. I enjoyed the music and the crowd. I was glad to have gone to so many church youth events because I realized how much youth gatherings, at least in the Presbyterian Church, are like rock concerts. And since I’ve gone to so many youth events, I knew all the moves and attitudes. And I learned them at church, of all places. It was fun to let my hair down and boogie down with the kids. My own daughters would have been mortified to see me act that way but I had a blast
We had five teenaged girls in front of us who had no visible family but somehow kept bringing back beer from the concession stand. At first I assumed they were of age but as it gradually sank in I turned to Nancy for an estimate of their age and she confirmed what I thought: "17, tops." At least they had shirts with backs to them. But little else. They wore almost identical short tight dresses with spaghetti straps. They must have put their money in the bodice of these almost nonexistent dresses because they kept digging around inside and patting their tiny chests. After their third beer I wanted to call their mothers and rat on them. But by that time we had also made friends with them. They would turn around to see Lori and Nancy dancing as wildly as they were and they would all high-five each other in sister-like glee. I half-expected Lori to offer to buy them a beer.
For some reason there were five girls but only three seats. Fortunately for them there were very few times in the night anybody sat down, but they managed to do it when they needed to. And they kept pulling out their cell phones to call people. Given the noise level inside Reunion Arena, this was a real curiosity. There's absolutely no way they could have completed a call nor heard a sound through the phone. It was a real mystery to me.
It was a really well done concert and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Knowing we had our own private driver waiting to drive us home, we weren't in a big hurry after the concert. So we let the crowd die out before we left. But we had a hard time locating Carlos, who wasn't where he said he would be. Moderate grumbling was made all around and once we connected, we ended up being just about the last car to leave. However, Carlos managed to weave his way through the traffic and we found ourselves passing other cars on the road around the arena.
I explain all this because eventually we noticed that people were waving at our car. Carloads of teenage girls were leaning out of their cars shouting and waving at us, hanging out the window on their tiny bare stomachs. They were shouting and waving with an almost hysterical delight. I'm thinking "Haven't these people seen a limo before?" But they kept up. It felt sort of like being in a parade as every car of teenagers waved hysterically at us with glee. Finally it hit us all that people thought WE were the Dixie Chicks inside this stretch limo with its blackened windows.
NOW we're talking about an ego rush. There’s no other word. A real Ego Rush. I'm positive that's who they thought we were. Most people, including teenagers, don't wave at other cars, even limos, the way they were waving at us. We finally talked Lori, the only blonde among us, into raising her blonde little head just a few inches out of the sun roof and wave an arm just to give them a thrill.
Or maybe it was to give us one, I'm not sure which.
An evening to remember with a smile--
Your friend Jane, a real Chick now