Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Always Get in the Limo

In 2002 I was working as a lighting designer with Lightswitch at the Concert for World Children's Day sponsored by the Ronald McDonald House Charity. I was 23, engaged (to not-Stephan), and working my way steadily up the design food chain. During production it was my job to adjust the lighting for backstage interviews. I got to stand shoulder to shoulder with Celine Dion, Enrique Iglesias, Nick Carter, and Michael Bublé. It was a cool job. I wore glasses at the time.

I watched all of the interviews with the artists with an artistic eye toward the lighting. And then Michael sat in my chair. This is what I remember of the interview (which never made it on-air or onto the DVD):

Interviewer: Michael, why did you agree to do this concert for charity?

Michael (totally paraphrased): Hey. I'm just a guy who likes to sing. I'd be singing no matter what job I was doing. But God gave me the skill to sing well, and if I didn't use my gifts to give back, then why have them?

There might have been more to the interview. But I didn't hear it. It was the most honest, humble thing I'd heard all day. I was brought to tears. Later that day I saw him walking down the hallway by himself.  It was totally against the rules, but here is what happened:

Me: Um, Michael? I know I'm not supposed to talk to the talent...

Michael: Hey, no problem. What's up?

Me: I, uh, I heard that interview you just did backstage. I was the lighting person. And I just wanted to tell you that what you said was really touching. I heard a lot of interviews, but none of them were as personal and honest as yours. 

Michael: Well, I meant it. I'm so lucky that this is my job. I LOVE my job!

Me: Me to! Doesn't it make it so much fun to go to work when you love what you do?

Michael: Yeah. [Shakes my hand] It's nice to meet you. 

Me: ......

Michael: Wow. You have beautiful eyes. 

Me: .....

Michael: And your hands are freezing. My limo is right outside. I can warm them up for you out there. 

Me: .....

Me: .....

Me: ..... I'm working. I mean, I'm on the clock. I'm... I'm at work. I can't. But, um, thanks?

Michael: No problem [walks away].


Annie Crow said...

I think I would pull that memory out of storage every now and again when I wanted to torture myself.

Good thing you've got a great husband and kid now, huh? That's whatever I remind myself whenever I have regrets about my past. "Without X happening in my life, I would not have my amazing family right now."

... said...

This is so true Annie. But it's one of the cherished stories of my life. I use it to remind me that sometimes the risky option is okay. I have moments when I'm trying to decide between two options (i.e. take kid to awesome museum or stay home and fold laundry) and I remember: Get in the Limo. And we go, and we have a blast.