Because that's what I believe is the right thing to do. But, it was emotional and interesting, so I have to blog about it. It was the best birthday, it was the worst birthday.
For over three years now, I have been a fan of Mr. Harper's. His music resonates with me, both in style and in content. I have been excited about the possibility of seeing him in concert since August when I found out he was going to be in the Los Angeles area in November, near enough to my birthday for it to be in the realm of possibility that we might go.
Sure enough, Aaron bought us tickets. He booked us a room in San Diego so that we could truly enjoy the evening without having to endure a 2 hour drive home after the show. We got a later start on Sunday than was originally planned. Since we did not arrive in San Diego in time to go to dinner before the show, we opted to go after. We finally ate dinner around midnight, and as we drove back to our room (getting a bit turned around on the Gaslamp Quarter's one-way streets), we ended up passing by the theatre where the concert was held. And I noticed people outside waiting by the loading area, and there were trucks, and tour buses, and we decided to turn around in the hopes of getting to shake a few hands and take some pictures with my new cam (which, by the way, I love).
We weren't waiting very long when the first Innocent Criminal came out. He was jovial and kind, shaking hands, taking pictures with fans, signing cds, etc. When it was my turn, we informed him that it was my birthday and he asked how old I was, didn't believe me when I said 27, and happily smiled and hugged me for a picture.
Next was Leon. Also jovial, very talkative, gracious, he initiated conversation with us and gladly took a picture as well.
The third guy was interesting, we didn't get a picture with him, but it turns out he was a bit on the skeazy side anyway. As in, he tried to take a girl on the bus with him, a bit forcefully. It was very awkward to watch and he certainly didn't seem like he was used to being rejected on such an offer.
We waited about another 20 minutes. This was when my feet really started to hurt, as I was wearing cute boots that were not designed with comfort in mind. It was cold, it was almost 2am, and there was only one musician who had yet to emerge from the theatre.
Then he came out. Ben Harper. The man himself. A musician who came up with two songs that ended up in my wedding. Someone who I thought of as a sort of "kindred spirit" in some ways (politics, religion, etc).
First, the gaggle of Brazilian girls got to him and were snapping pictures and giggling excitedly, then the boy celebrating his 10th birthday with his parents got his shirt signed, his dad snapped a picture, and then it was our turn. We had befriended someone else who was waiting and asked her to take the picture, she had our camera in hand. Aaron spoke up, asking Mr. Harper for a birthday picture.
That is when Ben Harper looked me in the eye and proceeded to tell me about how he tries to say no to pictures, at first sounding somewhat apologetic. Then he started in on how after a show he's shiny, and then the flash of the camera makes his eyes red, and people post the pictures on their myspace, and then the press gets them and edits them and uses them to make him look bad, and on and on.
I just stood there, I think with my mouth hanging open, and he turned to Aaron, shook his hand, and said, "But I will say, Happy Birthday."
Aaron corrected him, that it was my birthday, and he turned and wished me a happy birthday (I think, I can't remember because I was stunned). And he walked away.
I turned to our new friend Heather, took my camera back with my tail tucked between my legs, and was ready to cry. Then Mr. Harper turned to me and said to hang out for a minute, and that he would get me one birthday picture. I was not really wanting the stupid picture at this point, I was feeling pretty sorry we had asked in the first place. But we had waited in the cold for all that time and I was not going to refuse it based on his rude behavior.
So Heather again took my camera and snapped the picture.
As we walked away, I looked at the one picture I got with Mr. Ben Harper, and it was blurry. I had to laugh, after all of that, I just had to. It really does add something to the story. In hindsight, I am rather impressed that Ben consented to the picture after verbally vomitting on me. Because honestly, I can't say I would have done the same in his shoes. My pride would not have allowed it. So for the moment, I do have a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to Ben Harper. I was excited because I thought he was going to be my new "favorite." I just can't be as excited about him after that exchange. It was hurtful. And although I do forgive it, it still stings.