Jasmine's Place Issue No. 19 - September/October 2017 - Page 37

What is it about an autograph? It’s just a signature. I’ve written my signature hundreds of times. What’s so special about anyone else’s? These are questions the star struck side of me may never be able to answer - and the reason dozens of autographs are collecting dust in my room. The hours I’ve spent waiting for celebrities probably add up to days. I’ve waited for famous singers to emerge from backstage concert doors, waited to catch a glimpse of a senator walking out of his office on Capitol Hill. Just…waited. I’d classify myself as somewhere in between fan girl and paparazzi. I’d stand for hours in the elements with my camera, but I wouldn’t chase you down in my car. I just want your name in ink. The source of my autograph addiction can be traced to July 21, 2006 - the day of the Season Five American Idols Live concert in Rochester, New York. After the songs were sung and the final bows were made, my mom and I found ourselves at the back of the Blue Cross Arena, where we noticed a bus. People standing adjacent to it were huddled behind a metal barrier - waiting for something, it seemed. We then realized why. This wasn’t just any bus. It was the Idols tour bus! Suddenly, the thought of seeing Kellie Pickler and Chris Daughtry mere feet away from me created a flurry of belly butterflies. With a little persuasion, my mom agreed to stand with me in the crowd. Were we really going to see the Idols up close? They have to walk to their tour bus, don’t they? My answer came sooner than expected. There he was, the man of the hour: Taylor Hicks. Probably not a name many would recognize now, but in 2006 he was America’s reigning American Idol and therefore a rock star as far as I was concerned. I needed his autograph. Desperate for a piece of paper, I guilted a stranger into lending me her ticket. Now armed and dangerous, I could enjoy the thrill of being one with the crowd. Waving my arms and screaming, “Taylor!” with the other fans was an experience until then I didn’t know I was missing. He greeted fans at the opposite barricade, and then the American Idol finally strolled over to our side. I wasn’t in the front line, so I stretched my arm out as far as I could. My superhero flexibility paid off – he JASMINE'S PLACE 37