You see: these are the types of crazy things that happen when Megan and I are faced with a long car ride home – and an even longer wait to see SNC. We have silly “what-if” conversations and then, suddenly, before we know it we’re hopping on the next flight to Gulfport, MS.
We chose to keep this trip to ourselves as to lessen the judgment we had to face. Very limited people knew about our trip until basically right before we left (Megan’s parents included.) With the craziness of the end of the school year, tutoring, and quite possibly one of the best distractions in the world (Hyannis Sound), the trip seemed to sneak up on us. If we did tell anyone our plans, it was unlikely we said it with a straight face. “I’m going to Mississippi” is just the most absurd sentence to ever be uttered by either one of us.
We thought we would do ourselves a favor and book a flight later in the afternoon on Thursday and just spend the money for an extra night at the hotel. We booked a 1:00pm flight out of T.F. Green Airport in Providence, RI (Notice how I did NOT say Logan Airport in Boston) Basically, Logan Airport laughed at our request for a flight to MS and we were given very inconvenient flight times. I guess in the long run the flight time wouldn’t have mattered because we were up and ready to go by 9:00am. It was only a 30-minute drive from Megan’s apartment to the airport. We didn’t care, what else did we have to do, right? We were speedy through the security lines and were pleased to see a Dunkin Donuts waiting for us on the other side. As speedy as the security line had been, the line at Dunkin Donuts was quite the opposite. We found a nice area of the airport to claim as our own (we weren’t the only people to arrive super early for this flight.) We became silly and I lost track of how many times the phrases “What are we doing?!” & “This is crazy!” were uttered. At 12:30pm, we finally boarded the plane to begin our journey to Mississi- oh wait, that’s right, first we had to make a quick stop in Charlotte, NC. Not much happened on the flight but the small child sitting in front of us kept us entertained. He was adorable.
Before we touched down in North Carolina, I had been warned that the Charlotte Airport is on the large side and that there was the potential that we would need to hustle from one flight to the next. We needn’t worry though because when we got off one plane we had plenty of time to get from one place to the next. What waited for us at the next terminal was surprising. When we first arrived to the boarding area, it was calm and there weren’t many people there. Suddenly, a flight full of people who were supposed to already have departed came strolling back through the door. Mass confusion ensued as they tried to announce what flights were changing gates, when planes would be boarded, and why they had to get off the plane. There were now multiple flights leaving from the same gates at the same time and all the announcers were literally talking over each other on the PA system. It was chaos like I had never seen before (at least in an airport.) Just herds of people standing around trying to hear what was happening and figure out where they needed to be. When it was finally our turn to board the almost microscopic plane, in comparison to the one we had just gotten off of, the woman at the podium scanned our tickets and we walked outside. Apparently we would be boarding this plane while it sat out on the runway. It was disgustingly hot as we tried to find where we were going. The only reassurance we had that we were getting on the right plane was a little flip chart that said “GPT” as we approached the plane.
This flight had one flight attendant who was watching the lady sitting in front of us like a hawk. He had to ask her multiple times to put her stuff away where it needed to be for take off. Every time he asked she put her bag under the seat but when he walked away she would take it out again and try to hide it in between the wall and her seat. Umm hello! We’re on the smallest airplane ever! He can see you! I laughed every time he walked by because he would stop and look at her with an interrogative look.
When we finally touched down in Gulfport, MS we were able to navigate out of the airport to find the rental car counter with relative ease. We were given the keys to the cars and we headed outside. Upon walking out, we were hit by a wall of heat, to which I exclaimed, “WHERE ARE WE?!” We got a bit lost trying to exit airport property. At one point, we were pretty positive we were driving on a runway. That ended up being false and we were able to navigate our way out of the maze. It was a fairly easy drive to the hotel we were staying, which was a pleasant surprise. Everyone was super friendly to us but we noticed on several occasions we needed to repeat ourselves (often with the aid of hand gestures.) I’m not sure if it was the speed at which we talk, our Boston accents, or the combination of the two that hindered our abilities to communicate with the people around us but the looks on their faces were always priceless, and always funny. After resting for what seemed like a nanosecond, it was obvious to the both of us that we needed to venture out for food, as we hadn’t really eaten anything since we left. We decided to investigate the streets of MS (well, at least the main street that our hotel was on.) During our journeys, after a successful attempt at finding food, we also stumbled upon the Hard Rock Casino. We made a brief stop to snap a picture of the screen outside the casino. As we were leaving, an assassination attempt on our lives was made. I was pulling out of a parking spot and the people coming IN to the parking lot had a yield sign. I made the incorrect assumption that the car pulling in would stop when it saw me. Instead I was given an evil stare, and a beep from the horn. After our eventful escapades concluded, we made our selves comfy in our hotel for the night and eagerly awaited the next day’s arrival.
The next day started out as any other. We no longer concern ourselves with the fact that there is a strong possibility we’ll be waking up in random hotels. Upon actually getting out the bed there was a strong necessity for coffee. I took to my phone (which is supposed to be smart, but lets be honest, sometimes, not so much) and did a search for the nearest Dunkin Donuts. The ONLY one that popped up was about 6 miles away. Time to fire up the GPS once again. In our ventures to find what seemed to be the only Dunkin Donuts in all of MS, we did encounter several Starbucks but we had chosen our path and we would not stray from it. I, of course, had to repeat my order several times before the woman could understand me. Once back at the hotel, we knew that it was far to early to even think about getting ready so instead we watched some I Love Lucy (which coincidentally, was hilarious.)
When it was finally time for us to get ready, I went into the bathroom to turn on the shower and was quickly exasperated when I couldn’t figure out how to do it. What’s usually such a trivial task quickly turned into a fiasco. I opened the bathroom door and just casually said to Megan, “umm I can’t figure out how to turn the shower on?” she laughed and came over, probably thinking “What a ridiculous thing to say.” Cut to several minutes later, both of us still in the bathroom searching for a way to turn it on. At this point, we had pulled, pushed, and turned anything in the shower that would move and while I stayed in the bathroom feeling around the walls for any secret buttons or bricks to be pushed (pretty positive, I would get either a shower or a booby trap out of the deal) Megan set out to call the front desk and ask. Conveniently, our telephone didn’t work either. We decided that everything in our hotel room was merely meant for show and that none of it actually worked. We resorted to getting ready as if we were five years old (like using cups to rinse out our hair.) Despite the fact it took us so long to get the shower situation under control we were still ready at 1:30. We decided not to wait around the hotel anymore, instead we would set out and explore. Instead of exploring, of course we went straight to the casino.
We took to perusing the casino; seeing what it had to offer us, which to be honest wasn’t a whole lot considering neither one of us actually gamble. It was however enough to keep us entertained for at least a little while. Shortly after our self-guided tour of the casino ended we decided partake in the best activity when trying to kill time: People watching, of course. There were some interesting folk to be seen, but my favorite times were when the guys (and several crew members included) nonchalantly passed by us and had no idea. We were in fact, hiding in plain sight. First it was Jerome, followed by Richard, and then Trist. All while we were sitting on the couches of the main lobby of the hotel. Natural instinct told us to run over and say hello. We suppressed those urges because what good is a surprise if you’re just going to give it away right in the beginning? We decided to go for another walk around the casino. We ended planting ourselves right in front of the venue doors. Why? Because we like to live life on the edge, that’s why. That is until Randy popped out of nowhere and we were forced to dive behind a cardboard cut out. (That, by the way, was not an exaggeration) When it was safe to return to our spots in the open we did so with caution. Apparently not well enough though because Ryan and Seggie breezed right by us, so close I probably could have tripped them as they walked by. I thought for sure our cover was blown. Luckily, their minds must have been preoccupied with other things and they didn’t notice us. That was when we decided we needed to head back to the main lobby. We made ourselves comfy on the couches and our conversation commenced as if the situation we were in was completely normal. Before we knew it, the tally of SNC sightings began to rapidly rise. First Mike, followed by Walt, then Trist & Seggie for the second times, and Charlie. Most of them were making their way to the elevators and would take a sharp right turn before they got to the area we were sitting in. The only time that was not true was when we saw Don. He was venturing into the Hard Rock Café and he was in a rather pleasant mood. He had a bit of pep in his step and he was whistling. For some reason Megan and I found this quite comical. As quickly as he came he was gone again, still whistling I might add. After Don left the Hard Rock, Megan and I decided he was a brilliant man and that maybe we should follow in his footsteps and grab something to eat. I mean we were sitting right outside of the restaurant and that was bound to kill an hour, right?
It didn’t, but we made it through our long wait and at 6:00 we headed back over to the venue. There was a line of people already there and natural instinct told us that if there is a line, we should get in it. So we did. At some point, an ‘interesting’ woman came up to us and asked us “Do you have tickets to the show?” After we assured her that we did, we found ourselves discussing “Could you imagine if we travelled all the way to Mississippi and DIDN’T have tickets?!” Another pack of people approached us while we waited in line and one of the woman in the group asked, “What show is this tonight?” Megan told her it was Straight No Chaser and for the first time this trip, the response she got was “WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?” The guy standing behind us in line then chimed in, apparently recognizing that we were laughing too hard to repeat what we had said. Finally, the doors open and we were let in. The ushers were seating people but when we walked in we showed our tickets and assured them that we knew exactly where our seats were. Red chairs filled the area with many in our sections having “SNC Fan Club” tags on them. Ours did not fall into that category. We had recognized that by using artist arena, we were at the mercy of their chosen seats but if we waited just a few days we could use Ticketmaster and their “choose your seats” feature. It worked out well for us. After settling into our seats we remembered that we had a mission to accomplish. This mission was simple: Find Blake. He can be an elusive guy, which makes this seemingly simple task a bit on the complex side. We found where is post would be but every time we looked up to see if he was there the only person we saw was Trist.
Finally, we saw Blake walk by, headed in the direction of his command post in the balcony. We knew it was time to make our move. I didn’t know what the protocol was for us trying to get to him so I asked one of the usher/security guys, “If I know someone who is in the balcony, can we run up there and see them really quickly? Our seats are down here.” (I didn’t want to have to explain that I had a baby gift that I needed to give to their groups lighting guy because who would believe THAT story?) He gave me a funny look and told me I could go up but I’d have to ask the guys up there. We made our way up to the balcony and gave the guys up there the same speech only this time I was able to be more direct, point at Blake and say (Without giving the security guy a chance to respond), “We just need to give this gift to that guy. Here are our tickets, which are actually on the floor. We’ll be quick.”
We made our way over to Trist and Blake. We got hugs from Trist and Blake simply said, “I didn’t know you’d be here!” our response was, “Why would you?” We chatted for a bit about how we had seen Trist perform in MA, with the Swingle Singers and how no one can understand what we were saying to which Blake so kindly replied with, “I’ll be honest, I don’t understand half of what you say.” We still aren’t sure if he was joking or being serious. Despite our hurt feelings after that comment, we gave him the gift. It was a book, just like we had written for Charlie and Don, but of course Blake didn’t know this because he didn’t open right away. Instead he played twenty questions: (ok, so there were only two)
“Is it fragile?” No, not really.
“Can it go on a plane?” Well, it got here didn’t it? Yes, it can go on a plane.
|Concerts of Color|
|By Amanda Abate & Megan Dumais|
(When the link opens the next website click the picture of the cover and it will allow you to flip through the book.)
After Blake’s interrogation ended, we were subjected to a line of questioning from Trist.
“So, when are you going to come and sit somewhere you can hear a good show?” (Trist, are you trying to tell us what we’ve been hearing all this time has been poor quality? Because THAT is just NOT possible.) Blake chimed in with, “They don’t come to hear them sing.” (We caught that inappropriate innuendo but chose to ignore the unwanted behavior. Blake – You might want to learn that trick. It works on all children and most adults)
We took a look at the time and realized the show would be starting soon and it was probably a terrible idea to distract the sound guy and the lighting guy from their jobs, so we said our goodbyes and headed back to our seats. When walking by the security guys again I noted out loud to them, “See, I told you we’d be quick. We’re leaving now.” One of them laughed and then said to the other, “I thought they were just trying to be smart.” Trust me sir, if I wanted to “be smart” and sneak by you there are million ways for me to make that happen. My career is working with children meaning deception is my specialty.
Not too long after we made our way back to our seats and waved hello the other chasers in the area the show started. I’m pretty positive that in Biloxi, Mississippi, when the guys looked out into the audience they definitely weren’t expecting to see our glowing lights. We also had some fun signs: “Where are we?” (A common question during this trip), “Ryan’s Shoes are glorious” (He said so himself. It’s because he shines them every night) and “Hyannis Sound says ‘HI!’” (Which they did, well Colin told us to tell Tyler that they said hello and we always do as we’re told) We got to witness the always humorous heckling of people arriving late and also those leaving for drinks and there was a new song. (Well, new to the extent that Megan and I had never heard it performed live before only watched it on YouTube) At the end of the show, I went to grab a set list but I couldn’t get anyone’s attention and the set list was just out of my reach. Thankfully, Mary was kind enough to swoop in and grab it for me. Thanks, Mary!!
The meet and greet was very crazy. It was inside the very dimly lit venue and as we were going through the meet and greet the casino workers were busy turning the venue into a nightclub. It was super annoying. We ran into Trist again who asked us:
“How was the show?" Silly question, it was amazing
“How’d it sound” See above.
Richard made the rounds telling people that we needed to make it fast because we needed to skedaddle (I’m pretty positive he did not use the word skedaddle.) The casino was not very happy about having to wait to open their club.
When we approached the table, Tyler was first and naturally an overwhelming urge came over both to talk about Hyannis Sound with him. We told him that he needed to somehow find the time when they were in MA to see them because they were amazing. After that, I decided I would have my boarding pass from our flight down signed, as well as the set list.
The boarding pass was a big hit and most of our conversation with the guys revolved around them trying to figure out which one of us had a window seat and which one had the aisle seat. They were not always happy with us when we told them that we actually didn’t even sit in our assigned seats. Charlie told us that it was the first time they had ever signed a boarding pass to which I replied, “Yeah, I hope they let me on the plane tomorrow.” The look of concern that washed over his face was priceless and he immediately checked the date on the boarding pass he was signing. Don’t worry, I was just kidding.
Ryan expressed that our sign, albeit true, had caught him off guard. I gave it to him so he could sign it but Jerome then distracted me and Ryan was left unattended with the sign. The notes included with his signature are evidence of this. (This is not the first time one of our signs has been vandalized by him even though if you ask, he’ll deny it.)
|"Yes, they are. No scuffs. Ever. Well, OK, sometimes."|
After that, we chatted with Mike for a bit. He asked if we got sick of hearing the same songs and when we told him no he told us it was perfectly acceptable for us to tell him “Yes! Get some new stuff!” Rest assured friends, if we didn’t want to keep hearing those songs, we wouldn’t keep coming and we certainly wouldn’t travel like we do.
When we were waiting for group pictures we sort of hopped back into the line but it was unintentional. We were just waiting off to the side because we felt like we were in everyone’s way and we realized that Randy was sitting right next to us. Then the guys started coming out from behind the table so that we could take one big group photo. The casino REALLY wanted us out of there. Don was standing by us and we began to discuss the features the nightclub appeared to have. It had what looked like stripper poles and the elevated dance floor in the middle looked more like a ring that would be used for wrestling. Our topic of conversation some how landed on Jell-O. It was clear this club was destined to be classy.
After we gathered for a picture, we chatted with Ryan about our return plans home. He asked if we were flying out of the Gulfport airport and when we said yes, he said that he would be as well. He asked what time our flight was because there was a chance we might bump into him there. Unfortunately, his flight was much earlier than ours and there was no chance of us seeing him. He did inform us that several other guys would be flying out around the same time as us and to keep our eyes peeled for them. (Which, in the teeny tiny Gulfport Airport, wouldn’t be much of a challenge) When we exited the venue, Mike had somehow managed to appear out there. We chatted for a bit with him and other chasers, we snapped some pictures and then he headed off on his way. The rest of us tried to decide what we wanted to do. Some just headed off to bed but a few of us headed to the Hard Rock for more conversation and some drinks. After the Hard Rock, we contemplated going into one of the other venues in the casino that had music and a bar but when we got there, we all decided that maybe we’d just go to bed instead. A wise choice for all involved, especially Megan and I who had a long day of travel ahead of us.
Waking up the next day, we were anxious to start our journey. We knew it was going to be a long day and we just wanted to get it done and over with. We both showered (normally this time. Mary also helped us solve that problem. Thank goodness she was there to rescue us twice) and instead of waiting around the hotel, we decided we mind as well just go to the airport. We both have kindles, iPods, and plenty of things to keep us entertained. Aside from the bird that Megan murdered on the way to airport, we returned our rental car and went through security with relative ease. It was then my brain decided it would think about nothing else except coffee. Trist walked by us and instead of saying hello to him right away; I went straight to the coffee counter. After taking a few sips of coffee all was right in the world and we went to go say hello to Trist. As we were walking over we noticed a figure slumped over in his seat, with his headphones on. It was Jerome. We decided it might be a good time to seek revenge on the time he scared us on the streets of Boston. So we walked over and I sat uncomfortably close to him. At first, he wasn’t thrilled then he did a double take and realized it was just us. Trist sat behind him and he joined in our conversations as well. After a while, Jerome boarded his plane and Trist (involving a big long explanation) ended up needing to grab a cab and go to a different airport. We were alone and not at the right gate but we still had a while before it would be our turn to leave. We ended up sitting a few rows away from Seggie and Mike in the airport waiting area. We didn’t approach them though to chat. I’m not sure they even actually saw us. It was finally our turn to board the plane and retrace our steps back home. First we went to North Carolina then on to Providence. Our adventure home was pretty uneventful, which, I think is exactly how you want your plane rides to be.
Until next time…Goodbye!