In case I haven't said it enough, I am a singer. It is one of the very few things in my life that I claim with pride and don't hide under a bushel. I don't walk up to people and say, "Hi, I'm MW and I like to SING!!!" But if you know me for very long you soon learn that I can carry a tune and that I once toured with a rock opera, sang with a Motown revue group and even sang once with Chaka Kahn's back up band. I got me some chops.
I love other female singers. Right now I really like Patti Griffin and Cyndi Lauper (now Cyndi, not then Cyndi) but I have always loved the one and only original Carole King. I know Carole is not the greatest singer in the world but there is just something about the way she sings and the songs she writes. She is the queen of angst and the tone of her voice has always just resonated with me. There are, maybe, 3 people in this world I want to meet, and she is at the top of the list.
Many years ago Hubby surprised me with tickets to see Mary Chapin-Carpenter, another great story teller singer. It was in a basketball auditorium (our town is too small for a music hall) and we were on the side, fairly close to the stage and a door leading to the backstage area. For some reason Hubby had to run back out to the car before the start of the show and I was sitting there, people watching, waiting for him to return, twiddling my thumbs. I was just sitting there when a woman walked up and stopped RIGHT NEXT TO ME!
This woman looked so familiar. She had kinky curly blond hair, a hawk shaped nose and she was shorter than me. But it was her laugh. It was smoky and infectious. I kept staring at her, sure that I knew her, wondering who she was. She was so close I could have stretched out my pinky and touched her coat. She turned her head towards me and smiled at me, having caught me staring at her, and my eyes got wide and my knees got weak. I felt the earth move under my feet. No, that went too far. But still. I realized at that moment that Carole King was standing right next to me. But I was speechless. I was struck dumb. I argued silently with myself. Surely that wasn't Carole King. Why would Carole King be standing next to me in this town? People like Carole King don't stand next to me. Is that really her? I saw Hubby walking toward me and I gestured to him to hurry up but it was too late, the woman walked offf towards the backstage doors and disappeared from view.
I kept babbling at Hubby that Carole King was standing there and I had been too afraid to say anything to her. It was her, I knew it. Everyone else around me was staring at me like I was a freak. No one else thought it was her. And yet...halfway through the concert...Mary Chapin-Carpenter introduced her friend....CAROLE KING! And do you know what the first thing Carole King said was? She said, "I've been in __________ all day and every one keeps saying 'You look just like Carole King.'"
So there you have it, my one big regret in my life. I had the opportunity to meet Carole King and I blew it because I didn't trust myself that it was her. I don't even know why it was important to me to say hello. Her life wouldn't have changed or been bettered one iota by me saying, "Hi, I'm MW and I just want to thank you for breaking all those barriers for woman singers and I love you." But mine would have. To this day, whenever I am afraid to do something, I think to myself, well, remember how you missed your opportunity to meet Carole King? Sometimes it moves me forward to not be so afraid, sometimes it doesn't.
But I'll tell you what, if I EVER find myself standing next to a kinky blond haired short smoky voiced woman with an infectious laugh, you better believe I am going to reach out with more than a pinky. She'd probably have to have me arrested for stalking!
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a lunch date with my wonderful, loving Hubby who makes the earth really move under my feet, and that's NOT going too far.