Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tulsa, Pokey-Os and the Middle of Nowhere Drunk Driver

(Brilliant title courtesy of Laura.)

I met Charlotte and Laura in New York when Hanson did their "5 of 5" concert series. Five shows, five nights, a major album in its entirety every night. It brought together Hanson fans from around the world, and brought these two from Toronto to my doorstep. Charlotte crashed in my tiny NYC apartment for the week and I knew I had found two people that I was meant to find. There's something to be said for being immune to the teasing that comes with loving a band like this, and still being a normal person. No, more than normal. Charlotte and Laura are gorgeous, fun and interesting. I spent the following Thanksgiving in Toronto with them (a $10 bus ride worked where a $600 flight home didn't) and our friendship was sealed. When Hanson advertised a weekend-long "members only" event in Tulsa (Hanson's hometown), they booked their flights and the countdown began.

It's funny that I'm still on such a high from their visit (they left last week), because the Hanson part was actually quite a disappointment. The event was poorly run, the band was mostly MIA and the fans who came from all around the world (literally - Australia, Brazil, the Netherlands) were largely ignored and even treated poorly. It was very sad for us, as three people who have stuck by them and put up with a lot over the last 15 years. It's not really something I can explain in a way that most people will understand, and I'm glad that an explanation was unnecessary between the three of us. I guess that's what was so good about our little vacation. When you have a mutual understanding about something that's personal and important to you -- all of the intricacies of a particular fandom, the relevance of a song, the way you felt at a specific time in 1998 -- you begin every conversation and experience every moment at a deeper level than you otherwise would. Those moments when you are sitting in a coffee shop in Oklahoma City saying, "This is good, I'm exceptionally happy right now," though the experience from the outside is ordinary.

They flew to Dallas and together we drove to Tulsa, stopping in Oklahoma City to look at its perfect bungalow homes and pastel colored shops (who knew?) and to sit for a minute at a near-perfect coffee house covered with art and full of nooks and crannies. I drank a spicy drink with almond milk and we signed the guest book with Hanson's symbol -- the mark of our journey to the Motherland to perhaps understand what it is that propelled three smart, interesting women so hopelessly into a band we discovered as pre-teens.

In Tulsa we had breakfast every day at Blue Dome Diner. Downtown was mostly sleepy and rather empty, as most midwest downtown areas are, but once we found the right spot, we fell in love. The coffee and local handmade goods shop, the side-by-side patisserie and chocolaterie, the cool bowling alley and diner that shared the same babely waitress and played 50s and 60s music. So many eccentricities, so many fascinating, energetic, young people in one small, midwest town, all working together -- despite the odds, I would say -- to make it better.

An then, of course, 3CG -- the record label Hanson started when everyone was done laughing at Mmmbop and the band had faded to "Where Are They Now?" status. The struggle they went through and the integrity they showed, and what it meant to us as fans. Regardless of how this particular weekend went, one could easily see how this place reared that type of person (three of them, in fact).

Mother's Day was not ideal. As the title of this post suggests, we had some trouble getting home and I didn't get to see the one who made me a mother until the next day. But there was a moment of indulgence in that awesome Tulsa diner, sitting longer than I normally would and eating something sweeter than I should, with two good friends and the realization that all of this is about more than one bad show and that the weekend was not actually wasted at all, but gained.

Back in Dallas we vented our frustrations with the weekend to each other and the band, and then we ate pizza and walked around Uptown and posted pictures to Instagram and everything was almost perfect. 
In New York I started to take for granted the gift of having amazing female friends around all the time. My life is awesome now and I have no reason to complain, but if there's a deficiency, that's definitely it.  So, I reveled in drinking Birthday Cake tea and cooing over my cat and playing Scrabble while listening to Prince -- not to mention in driving to the Middle of Nowhere for a Hanson concert.

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