As you guys know I've been diligently working on my bucket list, not because I'm planning on dying anytime soon but because I am too uptight to have any fun without a checklist. It's pathetic, but you know like Popeye, I am what I am. Live it and love it. I've had some serious fun eating, dancing and trying scary things but recently I checked off something so monumentally impossible that I never even bothered to put it on my list: I got up close and personal, with my first love and childhood dream Mr. Jordan Knight.
Women of a certain age know exactly how exciting this was and I would imagine young girls who are currently kissing pictures of Justin Bieber might have an inkling as well. Back in 1989 I was obsessed, OBSESSED with the New Kids on the Block and Jordan was my favorite, because, well, duh? Why wouldn't he be? In my imagination he is perfect! It never really occurred to me that I could actually ever arrive within 10 feet of him though because, well uh, at the time I was 10 years old. I couldn't even get myself to the mall without whining at my Mom for a minimum of 2-3 days.
I'm not 10 anymore though and after Renee's triumphant run-in with Joey McIntyre at the Concord Pavilion a few years ago I was emboldened. At the concert last week I started in on some seriously deranged magical thinking when I realized how close our seats were to the stage. "Today he'll come see me" I thought calmly (as all 31 going on 13 year olds do.) Then I turned to Renee and spit out the following, totally rational reasonable plan "If he walks by just throw me over the ledge and I'll just wrap myself around him Koala style"
Here's a picture of what I was imagining for your visual reference.
Note: Like the Koala it's important to close your eyes to enjoy the moment before security pries you away. In this scenario I would be the big koala smothering Jordan with my psychotic sized fandom.
In response to this madness Renee nodded very seriously and sincerely said "You got it girl".
This is exactly why I love her.
Halfway through the concert we noticed them setting up a table about 5 feet away from our seats. For those who don't obsessively attend New Kids concerts: Table=New Kid will come out in the crowd and be standing right next to you. Lisa turned to me and said "OH MY GOD, WHAT IF WE GET JORDAN?"
I am all about managing expectations so I played it all cool "You know whatever, whichever one will be cool" while inside I thought "MY MOMENT HAS COME. I HAVE WILLED IT TO BE!!!"
Apparently I don't just have magical thinking, I have magical powers because as they started the first chorus of "Tonight" Jordan walked off the stage directly toward us and settled in approximately 10 feet away from us. It was at that moment that Lisa, my most controlled, introverted, not-lunatic friend totally started losing it, "EMILY HE'S RIGHT THERE" she shrieked while shaking me excitedly "HE IS SOOOOO PRETTY!"
I can testify that indeed he was. No airbrushing on that one, he looked exactly the same as in my childhood dreams, never mind that it's been 20 years. Renee grabbed my back excitedly and hugged me dramatically in a "Your time has come" gesture of solidarity. In response I threw my camera at her and commanded severely "You will record this moment."
I must have to say for the record that I cannot imagine what it is like to be a pop star. Even in my increasingly frenzied state I realized this situation was truely bizarre. I can only think it must be scary to face a sea of 30-something lunatics. If I were to stare into a crowd of 12,000 screaming maniacs my instinct would not be to get close to the teeming masses but Jordan was a pro, despite being knocked to the ground getting off the stage by some overzealous fans he was all up in our faces, working the crowd and shaking hands which is exactly how this happens.
It's not against the rules to put things on the list after they happen, right?
"Hold hand of childhood love. Check!"