Scene 6: Like A Rhinestone Cowboy
by Memoirs of a Seatfiller
Press Release: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Country Music Association (CMA) Board of Directors President and half of multi-platinum duo Brooks & Dunn, Kix Brooks, and NYC Big Events President Maureen J. Reidy today announced that for the first time in its almost 40-year history, the Country Music Association will celebrate its biggest night outside of Nashville when “The 39th Annual Country Music Association Awards” will be held on the world’s biggest stage, New York City. The 2005 CMA Awards will air live from Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, November 15 (8:00 – 11:00 p.m. et), on the CBS Television Network.
Me: (Phone rings) Hey Lor.
Loren: Hey! So I just read something exciting. Guess what’s coming to New York City this year?
Me: I have no idea… the Skort is back?
Loren: No. The Country Music Awards!!!
Me: Oh god. And I’m supposed to care because?? Oh wait… shit. You wanna go, don’t you. I forgot you love that crap.
Loren: Yes! I would die to go. Did you hear anything about it through your Seatfillers thing?
Me: Funny thing I did. I really had no intention of going – but if you want to…
Loren: Yes please!!! You know how much that would mean to me!
Me: Of course, no prob. Let me see if I can still get a spot. But seriously I don’t think I could stomach all the big hair, ridiculous accents and head-to-toe sequins.
Loren: Nicole. What are you talking about? You should be used to it…you’re from Jersey.
Me: Well played.
Here we go again…Madison Square Garden… my home away from home. Oh crap I’m late. Loren is gonna kill me. I know she’s been waiting weeks for this. I think she even went shopping. And when Loren goes shopping…. Girl. Goes. Shopping. I think personal assistants from Neiman Marcus may have been involved. Oh there she is… I hope she doesn’t kill me.
“Hey, don’t worry I know you by now and figured you’d be late. I don’t care. I’m wearing Prada and this is going to be one of the best nights of my life. I had my hair blown out – I am so excited you have no idea” I reply, “Wow you look nice! That gown is gorgeous. I think my dress is from 1998 and I’m pretty sure I didn’t brush my hair. Seriously Loren who listens to country music and who even knows one country singer. If I walked up to any New Yorker I bet they wouldn’t know one… Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks don’t count.” Loren quips, “Shut up, you are going to have a great time. I bet by the end you will love country music.” My eyes rolling… “ugh I doubt it.”
So we walk up to the table as usual. “Name please.” I take out my ID and say, “Nicole Psomas plus one.” The woman flips through her papers, flips again, flips some more. She pauses and turns to the person next to her, “Can I see your list?” Oh no this looks like a problem. I think I can hear Loren sweating. After several minutes of flipping papers she says, “I’m sorry sweetie, your name is not on the list.” Loren gasps in horror. I quickly interject, “but I received a confirmation last week…but… I’m the idiot who forgot to bring it.” She then says, “I’m sorry without it I can’t let you in.” Loren starts to shake and then she just screams out in hysteria “But I’m wearing Prada!” The woman just looks at her confused. I interrupt “Let me explain. This means the world to her. I personally could care less. But she went out and bought a new dress, had her hair done all day, and would absolutely die if you didn’t let us in. She bought a Prada gown for God’s sake.” Loren continues to shake and mumbles “die, just die.” She stares at Loren for a minute. I think she’s cracking. Come on, look more pathetic!!! “Ok only this one time. Next time you HAVE to bring your confirmation!” “Thank you!! Yes I promise!”
As we run through the gated area (well… Girl in heels run…That’s when we look like the mini pony being chased by the poacher while running on hot coals) we find the line and jump on it. Before we catch our breath a commotion breaks out. I turn to Loren “Whats going on?” Loren pants “I have no idea – looks like something is going on up front.” What’s up there? Ohhhh someone is up there. Ugh I hate being in the back! That’s it – if I have to be here – I am getting shit done! I turn to Loren and grab her hand “Come on! Follow me. I’ve done this before.” Loren gasps “What are you doing? We can’t go up there, these people are gonna be pissed.” I retort “Do you see the amount of Aqua Net and cowboy hats in this place. I’m a pissed off New Yorker – let them try and say one word.” As we get to the front area, amongst the crowd signing autographs, is a guy I actually recognize. “Loren! That’s the dude who dates Nicole Kidman! He sings?” She nearly falls off her stilettos “Yea! Keith Urban!” So before anyone has the chance to throw me out, I snap a quick pic. Then another one I recognize: “Ooo it’s the guy from Big Top Pee Wee!!!” Loren rolls her eyes, “His name is Kris Kristofferson.” Whatevs . He’s Mace Montana from the Cabrini Circus to me.
So before we have time to catch a glimpse of any other celebs they start to herd us in. We are brought to a hallway and there are hundreds of seatfillers lined up. Now we are instructed to just wait. The sequence of events are like usual… but this time something’s a little off….
“Howdy!!” I jump. As I turn around I am enveloped by the overwhelming scent of Liz Claiborne. I respond without even thinking, “excuse me?” Before me stands an older woman in full length blue sequin gown, fur stole and matching shoes with large bows. As many sequins as there are on her dress – equals the amount of jewelry she’s wearing. “I said howdy! Where ya all from? Aren’ youu juss darlin’. This is my first time in the big city. This is just magical. It’s so big with such hustle and bustle. Where ya’all in a rush to all the time? Hahahaha. I never understand it. And y’ all talk as fast as you walk – I can’t even hardly understand you half the time. But it’s just so precious. Just amazing….. (she keeps goin)… ” I just smile back. Hmm maybe if I keep smiling and nodding, I won’t have to respond. She’s so sweet. But I wasn’t expecting this. It’s usually a room full of disgruntled New Yorkers, way too self-involved to bother with anyone. And she’s so….chipper! As I look around I notice not even a hint of a fellow Manhattanite. Hair…sequins…more hair…is that a hand-gun embossed in rhinestones????
I don’t think I’m in Kansas anymore Toto… I need a drink.
Speaking of drink…. ***I’m going to break the 4th wall here and speak to you the reader. For years I have told the story of this night, many times. One thing, Loren nor I, could ever remember… where we got the drinks we consume at this point. As seatfillers you are not supposed to drink and they won’t serve you. So where did we get them? Ohh well. We may never know. Back to the story…*** Now we are pretty tipsy. It’s a little crazy down here on the main floor of MSG. People are kind of just wandering around – on their own time – totally disregarding that a show is being filmed.
So with drinks in hand, we mosey down to the front. Loren points, “Oh I see two seats!” She goes first. Me, being a 2 drink lightweight (always have been and always will be) takes a little longer to get through the row. I’m wearing my 4 inch stilettos, long black gown and double fisting two Pabst Blue Ribbon. Class act. “Scuse me, scuse me.” I am just about to sit in my seat when I feel a tug. Shit! I’m stuck on something. With my reflexes a little dulled it takes me a few seconds to process what I’m stuck on. Then I hear in the screechiest high pitched twang “Seat-filler mooove!” Oh crap. My heel is caught in this chicks sequin monstrosity of a dress. (I was later informed it was the Playboy Playmate girlfriend of a Rascall Flatts band member, in which I was entangled). She looks at me horrified and starts tugging. “Ok let me get it…” Before I could finish my sentence, my heel jerks free, and my beer flies out of my hand and dumps all over the Playmate. She gasps and then silently looks at me in horror. I’m frozen like one of her frown lines. Before I could think… I feel my body being pulled backwards down the aisle and thrown into a seat. “Oh my God, Loren, thank you for saving me.” The death stares I then got could win a gunfight at the O.K Corral.
At this point I have caused enough commotion and try to blend and just take in the performances. Some people present/perform and I have no idea who the hell they are: Brooks and Dunn, Big & Rich, Montgomery Gentry, Toby Keith. I turn to Loren “Who that hell is that chick?” She replies “Taylor Swift.” I reply “that’s a ridiculous name, I’m sure she won’t be very popular.” (insert pause) Then there are some people I kind of know: Brad Paisley, Lee Ann Womack, Lee Ann Rimes and Martina McBride. Miranda Lambert gets on stage and actually mesmerizes me with her performance of “Kerosene.” Holy crap – the stage is actually on fire! Martina McBride then renders me speechless with an acoustic version of “Help Me Through the Night.” Wow what a voice. Woah. This isn’t like Britney Spears doing Hit Me Baby. That performance as well as several more throughout the night, actually moved me to tears. The beauty of their voices, the detailed lyrics, the emotion behind the music… Ok I guess I see what these people are getting their stirrups in a bunch about.
So the night draws to an end. As we saunter out, feet killing us, we hear a scream. I turn… walking out next to us is Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. Loren “Get a picture!!!” Done and done.
We then retreat to the local diner, still tipsy off a couple Tall-boys, we slide into the booth. “Wow, I can’t believe this night” says Loren, “it was just unbelievable.” I agree, “Seriously, I never would have thought I would have enjoyed the show as much as I did. I am so glad I was able to experience tonight. I may now start listening to country music. But I can’t believe I spilled my beer all over that girl. I’m surprised she didn’t kill me. That was a catastrophe avoided…” Wackkk!!!!!!! Before I can finish my sentence… Diet coke down… all over Loren and her Prada gown.