Facebook enjoys reminding me of how I’ve aged right before the social network’s eyes.
Every day it flashes “Memories” of comments, tags, and photos of what I did in years past.
Sometimes it’s entertaining.
Usually, it’s eye-rolling.
But the other day, as I scrolled through a collection of memories past, I came on a photograph I had long forgotten, yet have many times recounted a connected story.
A photographic reminder of the day Lady Gaga met me.
It All Started As a Gift
My girlfriend at the time was a huge Gaga fan. I’m pretty sure she logged onto Perez Hilton’s blog every day just to find out the happenings of Mrs. G.
I managed to score meet-and-greet passes for her show in Detroit at the Joe (Louis Arena).
It also came with front row tickets. Of course, now most venues have done away with that and replaced it with the GA pit.
After snagging the tickets I had planned on presenting her with the tickets for Christmas (the show was in early January). So I had to sit on having the passes for a good five months.
Thankfully that gave me time to listen to her albums (she had two at the time unless you only count the Fame Monster as a partial release) on repeat for months.
If I was going to be front row there’d be no way in hell I’d be the guy who didn’t know the lyrics. No, I’d know every word and sing my head off.
However, her work required at least a full month advance notice for any days off. So I had to just give her a random surprise of “oh, hey, by the way…we’ve got meet-and-greets for Lady Gaga…so yeah” (realistically I didn’t say anything and just handed her the folded ticket notice).
Needless to say, my girlfriend was pumped. She bought probably a half-dozen different outfits until she decided on which one would be best. Because when you’re meeting someone who wears mosaic tile glass and meat you’ve got to rock your best getup.
Traveling To the Show
The meet-and-greet was to take place before the show. So we’d need to get there early.
So we hopped into the car and started the 90-minute drive to downtown Detroit.
We made it to about Southfield, around 20 minutes out of town or so, when I felt a weird rumble on my side of the car.
Figured I better pull over and take a look.
I changed lanes and the car swerved violently.
The rumble grew louder.
Had to be a flat.
A bad flat.
No problem. I’d changed a million tires before. Once when I was dressed as Duffman from The Simpsons. This wouldn’t be an issue.
Thankfully there was an exit right there. I took it and pulled off into an open lot. I then got out to check the problem.
“How’s the tire?”
“There is no tire!”
“There’s No Tire!”
The tire had completely unraveled. The car was parked on the metal rim.
Okay, not great, but I figured I’d deal with it later.
Just need to change the tire.
Pull out the spare, tire iron, and all that good stuff.
Put the iron to the lug nuts to loosen them up…no dice.
Needed the wheel lock key.
Because after all who doesn’t have fancy rims on a 2004 Toyota Corolla?
I go to the glove compartment.
No wheel lock key.
Check the other compartments.
Where in the hell is the — And that’s when I remembered. I took the car in to have new tires put on a few days prior.
They never put the lock key back.
Now that’s a problem.
But I had AAA. Just give them a call. As long as they can come in about 30 minutes or so we should still be good to go.
Expected wait time 2 hours!?
I hung up the phone.
I threw my wallet at the car.
My girlfriend grabbed my wallet.
Mind you this was before a time of Uber or Lyft. This was January 2010.
Yet out of nowhere, a yellow cab drives by.
We were not in an area where any cab should ever be located if they want to make money.
If you told me it had just dropped off a dead body I wouldn’t argue.
But I flagged it down, got my girlfriend in the car and tossed her all the cash I had in my wallet. I also gave her my credit card and my driver’s license. They needed that information when checking in.
I figured at least she could enjoy the show. She was the one in love with Gaga and it was for her.
There was a gas station about a mile down the road. So I ran to the gas station and bought every tool I could with my other credit card.
Tool selection at the gas station was a bit scarce. Screwdriver, pliers, Tylenol.
I ran back to the car and tried to go to work on my lug nuts.
The only thing a screwdriver and pair of pliers does on lug nuts is damage the hell out of the lug nuts.
Thank god for the Tylenol.
The phone rang.
It was my girlfriend.
No. Nothing. But thankfully she was dropped off at the Joe and they let her in without a problem. She had also explained what was happening with me so they would let her come out and get me if I arrived in time.
Well…I had nothing else to do but wait.
I wondered if the gas station had pints of anything.
Then I remembered I didn’t have my ID, so that wouldn’t matter anyway.
Got another phone call.
I didn’t know the number.
“Your tow truck driver will arrive in 10 minutes.”
Sweet tap dancing Christ!
I might make it!
My Own Savior Arrives
The tow truck driver arrived. He had a key that worked on my rims.
I opened my trunk to toss the rim in.
“That’s a lot of dog food,” he said.
It was a lot of dog food. In the process of moving things, I had ripped a 30-pound bag of dog food in the trunk.
Figured I’d just push that aside with the rim onto the “I’ll deal with that later” pile.
I wanted to tip the guy.
But I gave all my money to my girlfriend.
So all I could do was thank him profusely and speed off.
The phone rang.
“Where are you!? You need to hurry!”
“Well I’m driving 90 in a 55 on a doughnut tire, so if I don’t blow this one out I’ll get there as fast as possible.”
I made it into downtown Detroit.
I pulled up to the parking garage.
“That’ll be $20, sir.”
“…uhh…do you take credit?”
“No. Cash only.”
“But there’s an ATM at the gas station around the corner.”
So I drove off to the gas station around the corner. Got inside, pulled my debit card out of my wallet, and it fell apart.
Wait, what just happened?
Apparently, when I threw my wallet my debit card split in two.
I managed to hold my card together and slide it into the slot and pull it out correctly after about the 8th try. I grabbed my cash, sped to the garage, parked, ran the wrong way (because the tunnel from the parking garage to the Joe wasn’t on the first floor and every floor looked exactly the same!).
I get to the door.
My girlfriend is waiting.
They let me inside!
We had two “complimentary” drink tickets.
My girlfriend thankfully let me have hers. Because I sure needed it. I’ve never pounded two gin and tonics as fast in my life.
About three minutes later we were ushered into a back room. There were maybe 10 other people.
In walked Lady Gaga. She was quiet and very chill. I’m sure the last thing she wanted to do was talk with us before her show.
My girlfriend suddenly couldn’t talk.
Each person went up. Smiled for a picture. Maybe said a few words, or they, like my girlfriend, were star struck and couldn’t talk.
When it was my girlfriend’s turn words escaped her. Oxygen escaped her. Looking back I’m surprised her arms and legs functioned.
Gaga said she liked her dress.
That was the greatest compliment she could have ever received. Nobody will ever top it. And I’d bet a million dollars she still tells people about it (heck, even I’m telling you about it).
Anyway, so it was my turn to go up to Lady Gaga.
“Oh, Stefani,” one of her assistants said, “this was the guy we were telling you about. The one who did all of that so his girlfriend could make the show.”
“Wow, I can’t believe you did all of that! I’m glad you were able to make it…what’s your name?”
“Greyson, I’m glad you were able to make it.”
And that was the day Lady Gaga met me.