As I began easing into this past weekend, my conceptual plan was gardening. Since FPL removed so much vegetation out back, it’s really quite sunny and I’ve been wanting to take advantage of the western exposure. I was going to move most of my potted plants, whack down the stickers and stretch out / repot some plants. Then I began reading some subscription e-mails I get, and one was from concert update.com. I”d had it several days or a week, and decided to read it instead of just delete. There it was: Mannheim Steamroller The Christmas Show Saturday November 15, 2008 8:00 PM Broward Performing Arts Center. I bought two tickets for will call, and went on hotwire.com and ordered up a room. Just as I was buying the tickets, Lauren, Kevin, Sarah, Brent and Kelly showed up here, and it was Brent’s birthday and we had tequilla and fun. Sarah has a new puppy, and so does Kelly! Both Labs - Sarah’s is yellow and Kelly’s is chocolate. So it was a puppy party. I had scheduled an appointment first thing Saturday morning in town to get the windows tinted on the CR-V, so I figured I’d figure out the logisitics later.
Saturday morning I went in to town along Metro Parkway. There’s a stretch along Metro that is as close to an industrial zone/park as Lee County has (imho). I walked into the shop that was to tint my windows, and it was obvious they did not have a waiting area. The shopkeeper mentioned a café just a few stores down, and I took him up on it.
These folks are smart. It’s called The American European Bakery. The Bakery is behind the café. The front showcase was full of baked goods, the coffee corner was to the left and there were several tables and booths and several diners. It was 10:00 AM and I grabbed a menu. I say these folks are smart because all the shops along this stretch of Metro are auto repair, tools supply, flooring, etc. So many folks like me need a place to wait while “stuff” is getting done. I ordered the smoked salmon bagel and a cappucino. It was absolutely delicious, more food than I could manage at a super fair price and the café was doing an excellent business. Smart.
Windows tinted, I got back to the Beach around noon thirty. Mind you in my mind I was asking myself what the efff.. did I do last night, buying two tickets and a hotel room… I proceeded with the plan, though, asking Lauren and Kevin to care for Gracie. I put some outfits in a bag, printed confirmations and google-mapped directions.
I love my car. I have to say that because I have not loved a motor vehicle in a very, very long time. I love my Honda CR-V. And now with its new shades, I’m ready for the TC striping… We cruised over the Alley as if we’d caught the tides just right, coasted into the self-park, checked in, and headed for the ice machine.
I showered and dressed, while the TV played the History channel with an episode on the antichrist. Most interesting, actually. I left the hotel 7:15-ish and with google maps in hand, headed to the concert. I followed the directions and found myself next to a driveway and a sign that said something like Event Self Park and pulled in. $12.00. (I read that online the night before). The funny thing is that part of my plan was to use valet parking (only $8 and a tip more) because of being a single female, a stranger in a strange land and in high heels… But I self-parked and merged in with the flow heading to the Performing Arts Center. It was a four or so block walk - no big deal, glad I wore the shoes I did. Will Call was clearly labeled, without any significant line, and I got my tickets within minutes. Inside it was really quite gay with the bar stations , the souvenier and food sales. I bought a small pack of warmed cashews, found my row number, and headed in to the auditorium.
If One was the most expensive and Five was the cheapest, the tickets I bought were a Three. Haha. I was surprised when I walked in, that I had an aisle seat, left of center. The Center was packed like sardines, yet the section in which I sat - had a dozen or so empty seats. I felt special - in an aisle seat, with a great view ,and no one to crowd me!!
Not only was I “by myself”, but I was clearly, “by myself!”. I sat in row LL and there were two people in row JJ, noone in KK,, me in LL… and later two people in MM…
As the music began, I sat through each song recalling how I know each song in my head, as I’ve listened to these tunes over and over again for 20 years. Each performance was so perfect that I found myself focusing on individual musicians/instruments/ performances to see if they were indeed playing, and it was not pre-recorded music. They were, indeed, playing and it was magnificent.
When I returned to the hotel,it was shortly passed 10:00. I went quickly to my room, although I would have loved a nightcap in the lounge. I watched stupid TV for a couple of hours and then called it a night.