What I really want to do is just lay my body down across the keyboard and post whatever comes of it; only then would you understand what it was like to be inside my head as Henry and I followed Jason down the hall and through the door to the Alternative Press offices.
I know a lot of people don’t really get it; maybe you feel underwhelmed about it at best, because really—why get so excited over a magazine? But if you really knew me, you would know that this was my Make-A-Wish-Kid moment. Because in a world of car payments, rent, student loans and chaperoning preschool field trips, this is the one connection I have left to my youth. This is something to get excited about every month when I get the mail and find it amongst all the bills and political propaganda. (And Henry’s issues of Better Homes & Gardens.) And when you devour a magazine from front to back like I do, the names you read every month become as familiar as family; you start to value their opinions and it maybe makes you feel slightly less alone in a community of grown-up friends.
So maybe it makes sense to you now, and you can understand why I was practically riding Henry’s back through the doorway.
“I’m too nervous to walk in first,” I whispered to Henry. “I’m just going to stand behind you the whole time.” But Friday’s definition of “stand” had clearly changed to “to meld one’s body against the backside of another.”
The first thing I saw was the wall of framed AP covers. I had heard about this wall, how it will literally stop bands in their tracks when they walk into the office, but I had no idea it would make my breath catch in my throat. The first issues were there as well, the ones that (AP creator) Mike Shea put together by hand and for the first time in awhile, I felt that I could use the word “awesome” in its appropriate sense. It was better than a museum. (For me, anyway. I’m sure Henry thought it was cool, but he’d probably have rather gone to a strip club or some Air Force memorial.) There was so much history on the walls, so many signatures and memorabilia, it was all I could do not to act like some jejune farm girl plucked straight from the corn fields of Iowa. I just wanted to touch everything and squeal like a rosy-cheeked girl who’s never watched porn.
Jason took us around and introduced us to people, all while making me sound way cooler than I actually am; there were times when I wanted to say, “Dude, I know who this is” but opted to smile politely in lieu of desecrating the office with my overt creepiness.
I remembered standing in line outside of the Grog Shop in 2009, waiting for the doors to open for Craig Owens’ solo show. I used to get Craig’s tweets sent to my phone back then, like a good little hyper-fangirl, and while I was standing out there, shivering, he sent a tweet saying that he was hanging out at the AP offices before the show.
I was with Alisha that night, and I remember turning to her and saying all bitterly, “He’s so lucky.”
Almost exactly two years later, my Facebook status said something like, “Just sitting in Jason Pettigrew’s office, listening to The Cure. No biggie.”
When Jason told me a few weeks ago that he’d like to give me a tour of “where the magic happens,” my first thought was to wonder if I’d get to meet Mike Shea.
“I’ll cry,” I told Henry. “And then probably puke.” At the risk of sounding like a syncophatic psychopath, his is a name that I’ve known for a long time.
I did get to meet him, but I didn’t puke on his shoes or cry in his face. I felt I did a good job keeping it together even though what I really wanted to do was squeeze Henry’s hand harder than your typical woman in labor. I have so much respect for him. (Mike Shea, not Henry. Bitch, please.) Especially after the Oral History of AP was printed over the course of several issues and I saw how much adversity he overcame to keep the magazine alive. Because music is that important.
That’s the kind of person I want to know still exists in this world.
There were moments where I legitimately cried while reading the oral history, and I don’t care if the whole Internet knows.
I think “appreciation” is the best word to describe it.
Jason told him how long I’ve been subscribing, and Mike thanked me. But really what I wanted to do was thank him. I’m not even sure if I did, it was all such a blur. All I remember now is petting his dog and asking him if he wanted me to shut his door on the way out, then feeling my eyes burn a little with tears when we went back to Jason’s office.
I also remember Mike asking me, “So what are you listening to these days?” Without hesitation I blurted out, “Dance Gavin Dance,” much to Henry’s chagrin. Well, I’m not going to lie to the man.
I texted Barb and Andrea a bunch of over-capitalized jibberish to express my sheer mania. I suspect they were able to translate it appropriately. Seriously one of the coolest moments of my life; the whole afternoon was perfect. I didn’t even care that I got made fun of for liking the band Xiu Xiu, because I was in a building full of people who actually know who Xiu Xiu is.
As we walked out of the office a few hours later, my arms full of AP swag, Jason asked me if I was happy. How do you effectively convey that you feel like the happiest girl alive, without the aid of a confetti gun?