Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

We spent Memorial Day weekend at a beautiful ranch in Texas’ Hill Country, far away from highways and civilization. When the clouds blew away, we could see the stars. We had long, leisurely talks with good friends, sitting on a porch or in front of the fire. No, it wasn’t officially cold enough for a fire, but like Richard Nixon, I am always up for a fire as long as somebody else makes it.

The only flaw in the weekend was my developing an overly intense relationship with a key lime pie. We’d bought the pie at the Pink Pig restaurant in Fredericksburg after I made sure the crust was made out of graham crackers.

It occurred to me that the pie would be a nice — even generous — contribution to the general welfare of the weekend. Nobody except my husband knew that key lime pie is my favorite dessert on the planet, but now that I’ve spent two days hovering around it and probably eating half of it (and I do not exaggerate when it comes to dessert), my cover is blown. Some contribution to the general welfare.

But what is a personal blog if not an opportunity to rat yourself out? If I commit a felony one of these days, my lips are cemented shut. But confessing idiotic misdemeanors is my life.

All of which brings me to Paul McCartney, obviously.

He came to Austin and performed for two nights right before the holiday weekend. As usual, I’d neglected to get tickets and the shows sold out. They were wonderful, electric shows. I know that, since every other one of my so-called friends on Facebook posted photos and rave reviews.

After a while, I started to get a little resentful. Why them and not me? It wasn’t fair. Paul had always been my favorite Beatle. And since I recently met the Beatles’ former secretary, Freda Kelly, I was kind of part of their inner circle and everything.

I was pondering the unfairness of the universe, when it occurred to me that Paul might possibly be staying nearby. After all, we live next door to a luxury hotel. Maybe Paul was there — staying just a few hundred feet away from our apartment. Paul! I couldn’t think of a celebrity bigger to a woman of my age. Who cared about popes and kings and Nobel laureates? This was a Beatle.

So I started skulking around, looking for information. You might call it snooping, but I call it journalism.

Yes, Paul was staying in the hotel, I learned quickly. In fact, one of my neighbors had come within a few feet of him the day before — a few feet! Paul! — as he exited a black Suburban. I milked our neighbor “Mark” (his real name) for as many details as possible (e.g., color and make of car, arrival time and place, etc.)

“Mark” was basking a little too much in the whole glory of the moment, if you asked me, recounting over and over how he’d waved at Paul and given him the thumbs-up. “And Paul waved back,” “Mark” reported 30 or 40 times for a small crowd in our lobby.

“God, ‘Mark’ is such a celebrity whore,” I complained to Colin, one of the men who works in our lobby. “Remember when he crashed his bicycle just so Lance Armstrong would notice him? He’s shameless.” Colin nodded with an air of studied neutrality.

But, really, the more important point was that “Mark” had seen Paul and I hadn’t and the universe was massively unfair. To rectify matters, my friend Pat and I agreed we’d set up a mini-stakeout for Paul, close to the area where “Mark” had seen him the day before. We’d meet at roughly the same time, 5 o’clock.

“I’ll bring my dog,” Pat said, “and we’ll pretend to be walking him.”

In the meantime, I hung around the hotel a little, trying to look nonchalant. After all, at my age, I didn’t want to develop a reputation as a stalker. But no Paul. I nodded to two policemen as I left, and ran back to my apartment since it was almost 5. The phone rang. “I have to go,” I told my daughter after we’d talked a few minutes. “Paul may be leaving soon. I don’t want to miss him. I can’t think of any celebrity I’d rather see than him.”

“I wonder how many millions of women your age feel the same way,” she said.

Outside, I sat down on a bench, pretending to be engrossed in my cell phone. I watched the drop-off area through my dark glasses and waited. And waited. Paul didn’t show up. Neither did Pat. Neither did her dog.

Two women and a dog might have lingered out there without looking desperate and sad. But one woman with a dying cell phone who’d been stood up by a friend, a dog, and a Beatle looked kind of pathetic. I thought about my daughter’s remark about the millions of women who  idolized Paul McCartney like they were still teenagers and the Beatles were still alive and together. It was kind of depressing, just like being 15 had been.

About that time, Colin rounded the corner. I was caught in flagrante. How mortifying.

“What are you doing?” Colin wanted to know.

“I am contemplating my total insignificance in the universe,” I said.

“Don’t do that,” he said. “You’ll just get upset.”

Later, I heard that Paul had left the hotel minutes after I did, escorted by the two policemen I’d seen. I’d missed him by just a few minutes. “I think he was in a white car this time,” someone told me.

It was disappointing and semi-heartbreaking for another five minutes, but then I got over it. That’s what it’s like to be 63, when confessing idiotic misdemeanors is your life. After three-day weekend in the country with good friends and half a key lime pie,  you can bounce back from just about anything. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

(Copyright 2013 by Ruth Pennebaker)

Read the tragic story about the local woman who refused to come out of fetal position

20 comments… add one
  • I think you should tell people you slept with Paul. I mean, you pretty much did since he was right next door. You were sleeping at the same time with just a couple of walls between you. You were breathing the same air. You were mere feet away (ok, yards). My husband tells people he spent the night with the Dave Matthews Band, when actually he spent the night in the same hotel, on the same floor.

  • Jeannie Winton

    If it will make you feel better, I went to see him last night. He was marvelous. Think I heard him say tell Ruth hello!

  • Love, love, love!

  • Sad. Pathetic even.
    I share your lust for Key Lime Pie. And don’t you just want to kill someone when it turns out it is the kind that was frozen in some big factory somewhere and shipped to the restaurant?
    As for Paul–we actually lived in the same town for quite a while–Tucson Arizona. And I never ran into him. Maybe he doesn’t really exist?

  • Christine

    Love this. Yes, the perk of getting older is you can act like a teenager and then bounce back. And, I too love key lime pie!

  • Nancy Scanlan

    I did exactly the same thing in 1955 – I was 14 – stalked out Elvis at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in LA … but one lone girl and I outlasted the throng and Elvis appeared to visit with us for half an hour on a bench in the lobby … memorable!!!

  • What kind of girlfriend wouldn’t show up for a Paul-stalking? She better have a good excuse, like she was hit by a meteorite or something!

  • Dan Frizzell

    Ruth, if it’s any consolation, Linda and I almost ran smack into Terry O’Quinn, the guy who played John Locke on “Lost,” while strolling through Central Park last fall. And you know us. So you’ve got that going for you.

  • One of the few advantages of getting old is that you can do whatever you want to do and don’t have to make excuses. And you can make stuff up. So you and Paul are now buddies!

  • I loved the comment by your daughter. What I like about Paul is that he is a survivor. He survived Yoko taking away John. He survived losing Linda. He survived Heather Mills. And, now he survived your stalking attempt. (You forgot to mention what you would have said had you actually seen him?)

  • Steve

    My son and his spouse went into Orlando to see McCartney on a Friday night. They parked in an area under the interstate that is open parking near the arena, walked to dinner, and then walked to the arena. There they discovered that their tickets were, in fact, for Saturday night. When they returned for the Saturday performance, what had been open parking the night before was now entirely handicapped parking. At the Friday peformance, the promoters apparently learned that the McCartney fan base requires a LOT of handicapped parking.

  • I’m so disappointed for you. Having a dog with you definitely would have helped.

  • Half a pie!? Thank goodness I am not the only one. As for Waiting for Paul…I love the fact you went for it. How any times do we wish we had done something and let the opportunity slip away from us? Next time and you know there will be a next time, it will happen.

  • This is the first post I’ve read on your site (just found you!) and this one made me laugh. I love key lime pie and Paul McCartney–but obviously not quite as much as you! I live in the Palm Springs area of southern California, and just like Austin, we have our share of celebrities and famous musicians to stalk if we are so inclined. I am sort of obsessed with self learning though…so I think I will just learn from your experience and avoid it in the future. Looking forward to many of your posts to come…. ~Kathy

  • merr

    You can bounce back – and did!

  • Jenny Meadows

    I found myself laughing and nodding a lot on this one. Key lime pie and Paul — delish!

  • I also love key lime pie. But have never stalked a celeb before. Maybe it’s time.

  • Nancy Hazen

    Love this! I would have been lurking right there with you- and I am referring to both Paul and the key lime pie.

  • That totally sounds like something I’d do. Stake out Paul McCartney’s whereabouts and wait.

  • If you adore the taste of key lime pie, but don’t want to spend hours slaving in a hot kitchen, try a key lime martini instead. A creamy key lime martini is a tart and refreshing alcoholic beverage perfect for those sweltering summer nights, and it’s sure to make the perfect dessert drink to curb a sweet tooth. This recipe fills one standard martini glass. Add this to my Recipe Box.

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