Me And A Boy And Bono
Friday, September 2, 2011
And now for the Part II of my Open Heart post. 

So, here I was in Nashville in a bit of a funk. 

You see, U2—as in Bono—as in my rock and roll boyfriend for a couple of decades now, was staying at my hotel, one tantalizing floor above me. And after too many mortifying attempts to meet him, including standing outside his suite in the middle of the night until the U2 bouncer gave me the heave-ho,

I had, with a sad heart, given up. 

I'd decided this wasn't my fateful moment which was kind of a big bummer since I don't know if I'll find myself sleeping under Bono ever again. 

So my number one bucket list dream had been dashed and there I was, on a scorching day in July in the touristy part of this fair city, wading through the sweaty crowds, listlessly following my daughters around as they souvenir shopped. 

And to top it all off, I had no tickets for the U2 concert that night. With the way my luck was going, I wouldn't even be seeing Bono on the jumbotron screen. 

One store bled into another with their etched shot glasses and cowboy key chains, jam-packed with hot and sweaty mobs of tourists, all in the collective pursuit of cheap trinkets. 

I don't like crowds and I don't like crappy souvenirs and I certainly don't like sweating AND to top all of it off, I was having a very bad hair day. And the toxic combination of all these downers led to one crabby girl. I hated the world. Because that's how I roll when I'm crabby. Everyone and everything is an asshole in my eyes, when I'm down in the dumps.

I suddenly realized my hubs was nowhere to be found. 

This is nothing new. He is a wanderer like no other. 

I pulled out my phone to text him with a nasty, "Where the hell are you? Souvenir pain needs to be shared." 

And that's when I saw the text from him. "I'm at Tootsies. Great band. Leave the girls and come join me."

Since my oldest is 20, here she is with her dad,

I did not hesitate to flee the sardine-packed gift shops teeming with rebel flag tshirts and endless Elvis paraphernalia. 

Although, I really was in no mood to sit in a honky tonk listening to a band, no matter how great. 

I wanted to wallow. It was steaming hot. My hair was being an asshole. And I'd missed my big chance to meet my boyfriend who'd slept right on top of me the night before, just a few feet of ceiling separating us. No band in the world could make that better. Except, of course, U2. And that probably wasn't going to happen. 

I worked my way through the Saturday pre-Fourth of July holiday crowds and found Tootsies. There, at the door stood my hubs, waving me in. 

I followed him in halfheartedly. 

Tootsies has been around for 50 years. It's a landmark with a long history of big names that have sung in this saloon. Names like Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline and Waylon Jennings. 

The place was wall to wall revelers all stomping their feet and raising a ruckus for the fabulous band with a blue eyed cowboy singing the lead and a cute little girl with a fiddle chiming in and some other dudes playing their geetars. But I didn't care. My glumness had enveloped me.

And to top it all off, there was no place to sit. Every seat in the house was taken including the solitary table perched up high in the front window where a man sat listening to the music. It was by far, the best seat in the house. 

My hubs was leaning against the wall right next to that table and I scooted in beside him, trying to forget about my hair and my missed Bono moment. 

I noticed the handsome guy sitting alone at the table and I figured him to be the next singer on the bill. He had the looks of a cowboy singer and he was sitting at that great table.  

We stood there for a little while listening to the band while everything and everybody got on my nerves. 

At one point, my hubs asked the handsome dude if we could share his booth. He motioned generously for us to have a seat and so I slid in, unenthused about having to make conversation with a stranger, no matter how hot. 

See, that's the thing about me. I can chat up roadkill and keep the conversation lively, but when I'm in a foul mood, I'm inclined to be a mite, shall we say, sulky. 

I was polite, but distant to the hot stranger as we shared his table. 

After a few minutes of silence, sulky silence on my part, he said, "Where are you guys from?"

And so we told him and asked him in return. 

He said, "I'm originally from Tennessee, but I've lived most of my life in California. I'm here for the U2 concert."

At that my ears perked up. 

I told him we were going too, or, at least we were going to try our damnedest. 

He told us he'd shared his table with another couple just before us. The wife was a big U2 fan and they were going to the concert. The husband said he wasn't excited about going because...are you ready for this one? HE DIDN'T KNOW ANY U2 SONGS!

Not a one.

I looked at the handsome dude with the blue eyes and said, "I would have shoved him off his chair."

And that's when the blue eyed dude said, "It took everything I had not to ask him to leave. U2, they're my religion."

Internet, meet Josiah, my new best friend.

My sulkiness melted away instantly as I told Josiah my sad story about sleeping under Bono without even a hug. 

And over the ruckus of the boot stompin' country music, sailing all around us, we talked and talked and talked and talked. 

Time melted away as the three of us sat there becoming fast friends.

Josiah was supposed to see U2 with his brother. He'd bought plane tickets, made hotel reservations and bought two of the best seats in the house. But at the last moment, his brother was unable to go, leaving Josiah alone at a table in Tootsies on a broiling summer day in Tennessee. 

Of course, the thought did cross our minds to ask Josiah if we could purchase his other ticket, but the problem was, it was only one ticket. 

After the girls were done buying up all the kitsch Nashville had to offer, they joined us since honky tonks in Tennessee are kid friendly during the day. 

And just like my girls tend to do, they charmed Josiah.

And Josiah charmed them right back. 

I won't give you too many details about Josiah except to say he is hot, he has a fabulous name, we got along splendidly, he is almost as fanatical as I am about U2, (I say almost because I don't think he cares about Bono's leather pants the way I do), and he is a single father who knows a thing or two about daughters. He had my girls cracking up. We all had a blast together. (And for the record, I am not huge. I don't know why, I look enormous in this picture.)

It was like we had been friends an entire lifetime before this.

And finally after many hours of way too much fun, we regretfully said our goodbyes, but not before we all friended each other on Facebook over our phones. 

Josiah had to get ready for the concert and his A+ seating and we had to get ready for the concert and well . . . hope for the best. So Josiah left us. 

We stayed for a few more songs. As were getting up from our table, the bartender walked over with four fabulous Tootsie shirts. She handed them to our family of ladies and said, "From Josiah."

Such a lovely gesture. Josiah, I wear mine all the time. Thank you. 

When we got back to the hotel, my phone rang. It was Josiah saying, "Hey, I've got an idea..."

You see, without going into detail, he had a possible connection into the U2 pit. 

For those of you, not versed in U2 concerts, (I can't even imagine), U2 has a pit directly in front of their stage. And the lucky, lucky folks who are able to get into the inner circle are right there. Right in up close frontal view of Bono and his leather pants. 

And as much as I love Bono and that's as much as I love freedom and my family and my dogs and my fire engine red heels and Jesus, I just simply don't have it in me to work for an inner circle ticket. It means lining up outside the stadium for hours, which could entail rain...on my hair and getting sweaty and then even if you've been in line for days which would involve a tent and you know how gross I find that, you still have to run to the pit to get a good spot. And I don't like to run, because once again, sweatiness is involved. And then you're in this pit with hot, sweaty people. And all of these things add up to one big thing for me—discomfort.

I don't do discomfort very well. 

And so back to my story:

Josiah's great idea was that we would buy ourselves a cheap seat from a scalper. The three of us (my girls were ordering room service and entertaining themselves with movies) would then use Josiah's tickets and our scalped ticket to get in. We would take Josiah's awesome seats and Josiah would try with his connection to get into the Pit. If this didn't work out, one of us, being the Hubs or I, would take the cheap seat. 

It sounded like a fabulous plan to us. 

And so off we went to the Vanderbilt stadium to meet up with a man we didn't know before this day, to share a night with our beloved U2. 

Josiah texted me as we taxied down there, telling me he'd already bought us a scalped ticket. 

This guy was unbelievably awesome. 

We met Josiah who gave us all a ticket and then we went to the gate. 

My hubs got scanned and entered. Josiah got scanned and entered.

And then I got scanned. 

And was promptly denied entrance.

Of course. Only in my world. 

The ticket lady was very nice, but she said I had to go to the Non Special People entrance since my ticket was a lowly one. She didn't actually say those words, but that's what she implied. Only the people who paid an exorbitant amount of money for their ticket were getting in her entrance, the Lives Of The Rich And Famous entrance. 

My hubs piped up and said, "I don't want her by herself. I'll take the ticket. You two get this one."

And Josiah grabbed my ticket and said, "No, you two take the good tickets. I'll catch up with you."

It is a wonderful thing to be surrounded by gentlemen. 

So, we made our way to our seats and they were indeed, besides the pit, the best seats in the house.

As soon as we sat down in our wonderful seats, I pulled out my phone to see if Josiah had gotten into the pit with his connection. 

I texted him, hit the send button and . . . 

Got the message that my text couldn't go through. 

I texted him again and again and again. 

And got the same message every time. 

Frantic, I showed my hubs my phone and he whipped out his cell. 

He got the same message.

We started borrowing people's phones around us.

It didn't matter the network, not a single phone was going through.

I was panicked.

I waited and tried to focus on the amazing Florence and the Machine. Florence looked like a goddess in her green tunic and red hair.

But I couldn't stop thinking about Josiah, hoping and praying he'd made it into the pit.

Suddenly a flurry of texts popped up.

Each of them from Josiah.

Telling me he hadn't made it into the pit.

Telling me they wouldn't let him up to the good seats.

The seats he had paid hundreds of dollars for.

Asking me where I was.

Asking me why I wouldn't text him back.

Telling me he was now ensconced in his awful seat, while we sat there fat, well not really fat, maybe just a little bloated from vacation, but bloated and happy in his A+, very expensive seats.

Oh, Internet, I wanted to die.

Die, I tell you.

I knew Josiah, by this point, figured us for some assbag con artists.

I turned to my hubs and said, "I won't be able to enjoy a minute of this concert knowing Josiah is out there in the lame seats."

My hubs went to go look for him and to see if his phone would work in a different part of the stadium.

No such luck.

And in that moment, I knew God hated me. Was it my ridiculously profane mouth? Was it my over the top and perhaps inappropriate love for Bono? Was it the way I joke about the elders in my life right in front of them because they never have their hearing aids turned on? Was it the fact that most of my outfits are probably too low- cut for God's eyes?

I don't know what it was, but it was like God was putting up Bob's barricades all over my Bono highway.

I was so upset. There was no way I could enjoy this concert.

I frantically texted over and over again, telling Josiah where were were, telling him my hubs would swap seats with him, telling him we were not assbag con artists.

The boys came on the stage and I could not even find it in me to scream at Bono's leather pants.

They started playing. Everyone was standing, us included. But I had no joy, just desperation.

And as we stood there in the crowd, suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man jump in right next to me.

I turned to the sky blue eyes of Josiah.

It turns out, he'd gotten all my texts, all at once too, and he'd found his way to us.

I haven't been that happy to see someone since my Aunt Flo that one time, long ago, when it would have meant a HUGE oops moment in my life.

And yes, I just copped to that. Every girl has one of those Thank You Jesus moments in her life. Except, of course, for Mrs. JimBob Duggar.

Oh, Internet, I was so excited and I offered up one of us to go sit in the crap seat.

But Josiah said, "Let's just see what happens."

And here's the thing about Vanderbilt stadium. It was the smallest venue on their tour and we were already packed in like sardines. I was fine, sandwiched in between my two handsome men, but I wasn't sure about the folks on either side of us.

I did notice the girl next to me, giving us a nasty look when Josiah jumped in to the mix.

But I didn't care.

Josiah was there. My hubs was next to me. Bono was on the jumbotron in his leather pants. All was well.

This was my 4th concert on this tour and it ranked as one of the best. The crowd was jubilant and I don't think a single person in that stadium sat down for those incredible two hours.

After a few songs as we all stood there, crammed in together, singing along, the girl who'd shot us a dirty look turned to Josiah and I was all, "Oh, here we go."

She leaned into him and said, "My girlfriend and I are so impressed you know every word to every song."

And at the end of the concert, she again turned to him and gave him a giant hug.

Let's just see what happens, indeed.

What happened was, on a steamy July day in Nashville, total strangers became fast friends in a honky tonk. What happened was, I remembered my Aunt Lorrie's words and kept my heart open to an adventure, to a stranger at a table, to a life filled with detours, to serendipity.

As we stood there, on this magical night, the air filled with thousands of voices singing the gospel according to U2, Josiah leaned over, kissed the top of my head and said, "And to think we all didn't even know each other a few hours ago."

Open hearts, what a wondrous thing to believe in.

We walked back to our respective hotels, just a few blocks from each other. My hubs settled up with Josiah and we promised to keep in touch always.

I couldn't help be a little wistful as we walked away, thinking perhaps this would be just another tale in my book, "Remember the guy we shared a concert with in Nashville?"

But I'm happy to say that has not been the case.

We are texting, Facebooking friends. And when I say "we" I mean the whole family. My girls will say every once and awhile, "I texted Josiah today."

When one of my girls had a little fender bender and announced it on Facebook, Josiah was the first one to express his concern.

And one of these days, either here or there or somewhere in between, we will meet again.

Keep your heart open. It's a beautiful thing.

Today's Definite Download: Okay, one more and I promise, I'll lay off the U2 for awhile.

I'm sure you've already heard about this, since it made all the news channels the next day. But I was there when it happened and it was the most amazing thing.

At the end of the concert, after the band had already pulled their earpieces off, Bono announced to the boys that they had a guest performer. Out of the pit, he pulled a man onto the stage. None of us knew what was going on. Later, we found out, neither did Bono's band. Bono handed the man his guitar and asked him his wife's name. And for his wife, Bono sang, "All I Want Is You" the U2 song that makes me swoon the most.

It was very sweet and we figured Bono was just giving a fan a moment of glory. But at the end of the song, when the man gave Bono his guitar and went to leave the stage, Bono handed him back his guitar, his very rare guitar, telling him he could keep it.

We went crazy. It was an amazing way to end the show. But what we didn't know was, there was more to the story.

The next day we discovered the man was holding a piece of notebook paper, proclaiming "Blind Guitar Player. Bring Me Up."

Take a look yourself.

The great thing about this video is is was made by the blind man's brother. You can hear him, deliriously happy for his brother. And you can probably hear me whooping, me and Josiah. 


LisaPie said...

Awesome story! And I mean awe-some as in full of awe reading it. Just lovely.

Much like yourself!

twelvedaysold said...

Such a good post. First, you are adorable in that shirt, second, Josiah is totally hot, and third, I love you so much that you don't like camping or being uncomfortable.

duffylou said...

At a time when it's really needed you have reaffirmed by belief there is good in everyone. Whether they choose to express it is another post.

Josiah? Hot. Like three alarm fire, hot. Goodness and hotness? Whew. That's a rare combination. Glad you all found each other.

Mrs. Frogster said...

awesomeness. and now I am sitting here with the littles, watching the same kids' show over and over, and wishing my life were as exciting as yours. :)
thanks for the exciting read, and the chance to live vicariously through you!

Unknown said...

Amazing story!

Noelle said...

This was such a great story...I even have tears in my eyes...but wait, that might be hormones. :)

I've missed your stories!

Cheryl said...

Josiah? HOT!

Also, I was in the pit for the U2 concert. As you might know, And my cell didn't work. SO I feel your pain,

However, I don't care about that any of that.

YOUR BOOK??? WOOOHOOO!!!! SO very proud of you, my friend! xoxoxoxo

Hulk (That blows my singing with ? And The Mysterians story right out of the water...) said...

That is quite the cool video.

Congrats on the book. Can't wait to read it. Can I get a signed copy next March?

JoAnna said...

Ok, first of all, I didn't realize that concert was AT VANDY!! I thoguht it was in the new stadium down by the river. It was soooooo neat to see the gym in the background!

Second, I this story is just tooooooo surreal. I was so sure he was a con artist the whole time and that you were going to get arrested somehow. OR I thought that he was some famous celebrity that you didn't know and could now say you spent hours with.

This is really such a great read! It's one of those posts, like yours always are, where I wish someone else was "watching this episode" with me because I want to talk to someone about it as I read!!

Joann Mannix said...

Dear Hulk,

From your lips to God's ears. Yes.

Tracie Nall said...

I cheered. I cried.

I'm so excited for you, and Josiah, and your family. That y'all found each other.

Best concert story ever.

The book is DONE!! Woot!! One step closer to buying it in a bookstore.

MrsJenB said...

First, YAY BOOK! I'm so excited for you!!!!! And proud of you.

Second, Josiah = hot, hot, hot! Whew! What a great story, isn't it amazing how random things like that can happen?

Third, that video made me cry. Magical.

Judie said...

For a woman who can sometimes get herself into the biggest jams the world has to offer, when you score, you really score BIG!!!


Lisa said...

CONGRATULATIONS on finishing the novel! WHOO!!! You rock....and so forth and so on....

That is such a cool story. Josiah is hot and awesome and how wonderful is it that y'all found each other?

And by the way, CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

Joann, you are the absolute best storyteller of all time! I am so happy you have finished writing your baby. I think the next tale will be a reality book on all the things that happen to you on vacation!

XO, Happy long weekend!

Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal said...

That gave me the chills! What a great story. I want to live in your shoes for a few days okay?

Josiah has the most amazing blue eyes! I thought at first you were going to tell us that it was Bono sitting there at that table!

Livin' In Duckville said...

Amazing.... can't even put it into words.... just wow...

karen said...

That is without a doubt one of the best stories I've ever heard. I made my husband listen to me while I recounted it to him (your version was way better but I knew he wouldn't read it) and even he was impressed. He is a U2 fan too. But it's true - every time I've opened myself up to something a little different it's been awesome, and you've just proved my theory. The guy at the end was the icing on the cake.
Congrats on your book. I'm a little late to the party so I don't know anything about it, but I will definitely want to buy it. I'm excited to hear the progress - I'm sure it's a roller coaster, but I guess you wouldn't expect anything else, would you? And yes, signed copies all around, please.

Unknown said...



I mean, really really awesome.

Alison said...

What an incredible story. I think everyone needs a Josiah in their lives.

And that video, OMG!

My Inner Chick said...

---------Ahhhhhh, Bono.
Bono. Bono. The name flows so beauifully off the tongue.
Loved this story. Love that you met Josiah because your heart was "open." Love that you Love Bono sooooooooo much. He is worth loooooooving. FAB :) x

My Inner Chick said...

---------Ahhhhhh, Bono.
Bono. Bono. The name flows so beauifully off the tongue.
Loved this story. Love that you met Josiah because your heart was "open." Love that you Love Bono sooooooooo much. He is worth loooooooving. FAB :) x

Unknown said...

I cannot wait for your book. And that's saying a lot because I don't really have time for much reading these days.
This story is all sorts of awesome and proof that everything happens for a reason. Even bad hair days.

Rebecca Grace said...

YAY! I'm so happy for you! What an incredible story. When you wrote that they denied you entrance to the concert through the Special Door, my first thought was that you were blacklisted for stalking or something... Glad that was not the case! :-)

Cari said...


A-MAZ-ING! You are such a good storyteller, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. And Josiah, lawd, easy on the eyes!

I have fantastic concert karma too, why I do not know; but no concern. When Garth Brooks was having his farwell concert, he did 12 nights in my city. I went to 3. On the 3rd concert, a friend and I scalped tickets, crappy tickets. We were chatting up the peeps in the beer line and talking about how great the concert was going to be. One of the guys we were talking to handed us front row center tickets, and turned out to be in the band!

I touched my Garth, my life is complete, and I looked fat and drunk on the jumbo-tron. Life is good.

Yay book! Can't wait!

mdgtjulie said...

What an amazing experience. It just goes to show you, there are still good people in the world. Wonderful!!!!

Heather H said...

Great story, Joann! I'm so glad you got to go to the concert - and enjoy it instead of worrying about Josiah.

If I was a single lady, I might have noticed that Josiah is hawt. But alas, I am just an old, married woman who no longer notices anyone other than her husband. (or at least that's what I tell him)

Don't hate me for this, but I've never been a huge U2 or Bono fan (don't hit me!), but what an awesome story at the end. That alone might change my fan-status.

Kimberly said...

This all happened despite your hair being a total asshole???? I am in awe.
This is the best story ever.
And I want Josiah to be my boyfriend.

Mrs. Tuna said...

Hey you hussy, step away from MY boyfriend. Bono is all mine

TesoriTrovati said...

Ooh! I love serendipity! That was this moment, this day for you. And ol' blue eyes Josiah is H-O-T-T (he gets two Ts for being a gentleman too!). It is incredible when you leave your heart open wide and dwell in possibility. I know that it would have been the bomb to meet Bono in the hotel, but this, this is so much more of a great story.
Aunt slay me!
Thanks for this awesome story, Miss Joann!

Enjoy the day!

Julie said...

I am in love with every single thing about this post.

And your hair is not an asshole; you are gorgeous.

But I'm glad to know NOT to send you a cowboy key chain as a "hooray your novel is published!" gift when (naturally) your novel is published.

Plus I kind of want to have another child now just to name him Josiah.

Finally, I've had a crappy crappy crappy couple of weeks and have been feeling sorry for myself (for shame)but really and truly (no bullshit) this post has made me smile.

And remember to open my heart.

That's why I love you, lady; and would even be willing to share Bono. Probably. You are phenomenal.

p.s. I have no idea what you mean about a Thank You, Jesus moment. Probably.

Shell said...

What an amazing story.

To have something like this happen just because you talked to someone in a bar... awesome.

I was freaking out for you when the texts weren't going through.

And the video- what an incredible experience!

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Erin said...

I thought Josiah was going to be one of those angels who manifests in human form to do good concert-related deeds.

Love the photos of you all.

Just A Normal Mom said...

Dammit. You made me cry. That was SO awesome! The whole story. All of it.

Heather said...

Sersiously you must have made this up. This is the best story ever and I don't even like U2. My husband on the other hand worships the ground they walk on.
And he has converted my two oldest.

I love the stories about people being good.

Stopping by from Shell's

Emmy said...

Oh phew! Glad it worked out. I would have felt awful for him too if he didn't make it. So glad you were able to go. I love U2!

Judy said...

What an adventure you had! It is hard to have a good hair day in Nashville with all the heat and humidity and Tootsies is always crowded. I have yet to covet that front window seat, so lucky you!

Baby Sister said...

I'm so glad it worked out!! And he got your texts and found you and you got to enjoy the concert together. And how sweet is that of Bono?? That was just awesome!! It made me cry. :) Good story for future generations. :)

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