Back in 2007, I was living in downtown Burlington, VT. My first year out of college, I was within walking distance to the waterfront, work and the bars. It was perfect. During most of my childhood, I was in love with the musician, Mary Chapin Carpenter. If you don’t know who she is, she is a country singer. Among her many hits are “Passionate Kisses”, “Come on Twist and Shout” and “He’ll Think He’ll Keep Her”.
Mary Chapin Carpenter happened to be playing at the Flynn Theatre one night. I knew this ahead of time but for some reason failed to buy a ticket. On the same night, I happened to be going out downtown with two of my good friends. They showed up at my apartment a little early and were well on their way to a great night by the time we decided to head to the bars. We have to walk by the side entrance to the Flynn on the way downtown… where the buses park… where her bus happened to be parked… where she happened to be sitting in the front seat eating a sandwich. SHE WAS IN THE FRONT SEAT EATING A SANDWICH! Here I was, back to being eight years old seeing Mary Chapin Carpenter eating a sandwich in the front of her tour bus and all that stood between us was a road and her tour bus door… and my two drunk friends. They were more than encouraging but I mean what do you say to someone you idolized as a child without sounding like a dork? And to be standing there with your two drunk friends. I drew a blank. I didn’t know what to do. Believe me, my friends were more than encouraging for me to go across the street and say hello but I chickened out. Whomp, Whomp.
Whenever I hear her name, I think back to that evening and say – I blew it. I think part of it was fear of my two drunk friends (even though I’m sure she would’ve just laughed at them) and that I envision her as this super nice person (which I’m sure she is) but I don’t ever want to be rejected that she was too busy with her sandwich to say hello. (I really don’t think she would do that, I’m just making excuses.) If I had a second chance, I wouldn’t let it get away again. It’s just something that you kind of have to laugh about it now.
So Mary Chapin Carpenter, if I ever happen to run into again, expect a complete stranger to come up to you and say that they loved you when they were eight. Thank you for making great music. Things that should’ve been said a few years ago.