I wannabe a Rock Star
I was zipping up my bags as my parents dispersed the plan tickets to the appropriate persons. My parents got the job of giving out the tickets while my aunt and uncle went to grab the tags for the bags. Those appropriate persons happen to be my younger brother Paul, who by the way is always getting in trouble for one thing or another, and my three cousins, two of which are older than me. I notice my cousin Marcus listening to his headphones and doing a slight head banging motion as he my parents try to get his attention. My younger cousin Danny is standing modestly next to his older brother Charles who is never happy to be anywhere, while they both wait patiently for my parents to give them their tickets.
Finally after the grunge rock looking cousin with his black Metallica, backwards Etnies hat, and earring wearing kid got his ticket I quickly moved towards my parents to get mine. I’ve always looked up to my cousin Marcus. He’s the closest in age of the three cousins, he was thirteen and I rapidly approaching the age of ten. Living in San Francisco at the time, Marcus was able to experience a much different type of life opposed to me who lived in the small suburban town of Castro Valley. I guess being around all types of people, Marcus was exposed to different things, one of those being rock music which he seemed to be his life. He even went as far as bringing his small guitar on the trip so he could play, I never really listened to music that much but I adored my cousin and wanted to be just like him as did ever other younger cousin looking up to their older cousin. I mean he did everything like date girls and all that older kid stuff.
At this time I wasn’t really into music but since my cousin was into it I thought it would be a good idea to get into it. After I got my ticket from my parents I approached Marcus and said in what can only be described as almost ten year old jubilance, “Hey Marcus, what ya listening to? I see you brought your guitar, do you think you could teach me some time on the trip? I bet you’re a really good teacher.”
Since I could hear the music blasting out of his headphones, which I thought sounded like a bunch of clatter, I guess he didn’t hear me. So I shook his arm and he slightly lowered his headphones and said, “What’s up?”
“Hey…hey Marcus, do you think I can listen and later this trip you can teach me to play guitar?” I excitingly questioned. Girls always loved musicians and I thought that I should learn to play.
“Uh…ya…I’ll show you when we get to the hotel in Toronto” He said in a very nonchalant manner. After that we checked our bags at the counter with the American Airlines people and then headed over to our gate for the flight. Marcus being the cool older cousin sat by the window of our gate as he stared aimlessly into the sky mouthing the words of whatever song he was listening to. I always wanted to be like Marcus, he was such a cool older cousin and he did everything I wanted to like go to concerts and do teenager things.
“This is the first call for flight 785, non-stop flight from San Francisco to Chicago, then transferring flyers will fly Chicago to Toronto. Rows twenty to thirty-five are now boarding” the loud speaker rang out into the airport. I looked down at my ticket and saw that it read 20-A. That’s us I thought to myself as I ran over to my cousin to grab him who held the ticket that read 20-B. I was excited to sit next to him. After I shook his arm again and he lowered his head phones that blasted out rock music I told him, “We’re boarding now, let’s go.” He gave me the nod and we got on the plan.
Sitting in our assigned seats I asked him to tell me what bands he listened to and what different types of rock. I mean, if I’m going to be a musician then I need to know the basic rock facts. I don’t want to make a fool of myself when I’m talking to any girls or anything. “Well, my favorite bands are Metallica, Sublime, and Nirvana is cool.”
I responded back by saying, “Ya, those are my favorites to.” Sensing that I might have been stretching the truth he said, “You see them on MTV and stuff.” Knowing that I wasn’t allowed to watch MTV he asked this but I still responded by with a simple response, “Yep.” We talked about baseball, music and slept for most flight till we arrived in Toronto after a transfer in Chicago. When we got off the plan I rushed over to the baggage claim while my cousin lagged behind. I made sure I found a good spot on the outer part of the baggage claim. I always wanted to ride the turnaround of the baggage claim but my parents would be angry but sometimes girls like the rebel boys that show no regards for the law.
As I was about to grab my I noticed that my cousins small guitar was coming down the turnaround. I decided to let my bag go by and grab the small guitar instead because I wanted to impress one of the girls next to me. I always saw on movies and television shows that girls liked musicians so I decided that I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. She was a cute girl with brunette hair, probably brown or hazel eyes, and a smile I couldn’t forget. It was one of those smiles from ear to ear with perfectly white teeth, one of those that made you weak at the knees. As I grabbed the guitar case, she innocently said, “Is that a guitar? Do you play? Could you play for me?”
Knowing that she would say this I responded in a suave manner, “Yep, this is a guitar, but it’s not in tune.” Thinking quickly that she would ask me to tune it and play it, I decided to cover myself even better. “And it’s, it’s, it’s missing a string. But maybe I’ll play for you another time.” I said this even though I have no idea how to string a guitar let alone play one for a lick. I thought I sounded pretty good and I didn’t really stutter so I thought she would believe me.
In a somewhat disappointed but still very much interested manner she said, “That’s okay, maybe another time. Well anyway, my name’s Jessica, but all my friends call me Jess, you can call me Jess. What’s your name? Are you here with your family?”
I really wanted to impress her, looking back I guess that’s what every man wants to do, impress the girl. So I wanted to tell her something that is not too farfetched so I responded modestly, “My name is Joe. I’m here with my cousin and our band. We’re playing tomorrow night, we’re out of San Francisco.” I thought about how ridiculous I sounded because I was a dorky kid from the small suburban town of Castro Valley as opposed to a rock star from the city.
In a state of awe, Jess had a delayed response and then said, “…Wow, that’s so cool, what’s it like being a musician on the road? I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like. You know, being a rock star and all.” I’m not exactly sure why she believed me, I guess it was the way I conveyed myself. I guess she was a naďve Canadian that would eat up anything that a confident fast talking Californian says.
With all her attention fixated on me and knowing she was truly impressed I felt even more comfortable and responded once again in a suave manner, “It’s great, I mean you get to play in front of big crowds and they all love you. You get to go around the US and the world. You can play with famous musicians in music studios and stay in really nice hotels. But life on the road can be tough because you’re away from family and friends and stuff.” I somewhat knew that my story could use some bolstering so I decided to tell her some more stuff, like my knowledge of rock. “Ya, my favorite band early in my career was Nirvana, they’re great. I got to work with them not too long ago, it was so exciting, and Steve James their drummer is really talented. Who the hell is Steve James?
What the hell did I know about being a rock star? Everything I knew was from watching ten minutes of MTV before my parents got and made me turn off the T.V. and the brief two minutes that my cousin talked about bands. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my cousin approaching with the rest of my family closely following him. I knew if they came over here while I was talking to Jess, they would not only give me a hard time about talking to a girl but even worse ruin everything by taking away the guitar, utterly embarrassing me in front of the girl. They would also of been really mad that I lied and reprimanded me in front of the whole airport. “I just got paged, I have to meet up with my cousin and the rest of the band, if you’re ever in San Francisco look up my band.” But before she could ask what the name of our band was, I was out of sight. I walked away like a rock star, kind of.