Cream Sodas, Pop Tarts and Idol Tunes

Trip Start Jul 08, 2006
Trip End Sep 03, 2006

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Sunday, September 3, 2006

So we wanted to eat at The Melting Pot. And they had been booked for two weeks. I hadn't even thought to make a dinner reservation. We figured it must be the American Idol Tour that had everybody busy. So, we hightailed it over to The Old Spaghetti Factory (close by) and got our name on the list. It was a mess! Jam packed at 4 PM on a Saturday afternoon. Finally seated at a tiny two-seater table, served by a very harried waiter. "I've never seen so many people at this time of day!" he lamented. He kept apologizing but Matt and I didn't mind. We still had hours before concert time. Matt ordered their tallest chocolate cream drink and a hunk of lasagne. I got the three-spaghetti sampler. We ate our salads and waited. Our waiter kept apologizing. "Please don't yell at me," he pleaded. We assured him we would never yell! "But, could I try the cherry cream soda now?" Matt inquired. It was brought to him in a store-brand souvenir glass. By the time we left, we had way overeaten our carb limit for the day.
Into the car, drive the few blocks to the Dome. Before dinner, we'd seen plenty of space available in the gigantic parking lots. Not so now. A jam, a mass of not-moving cars, a mess. Aaack! I didn't plan this well at all. Someone waved from the alley beside the Dome. $25! Here! Just a few spaces left! I made the turn without hesitation. "Twenty-five dollars!" Matt said. "At this point it doesn't matter," I replied. "Let's just get out of the car." I was directed into a slot against a building beside a telephone pole. Another car was parked beside as the traffic-director-person took my money. Sometimes you just have to go on faith. We headed down the alley, and up the hill to the Dome.
Pop Tarts! The sponsor of the Idol Tour, and Matt's favorite breakfast food. Freeze'em and eat'em like a Pop(tart)sicle said all the signs. Good marketing device on this hot summer day. The crowds were tickled with all the hype, I was eyeing the rush on the ramp. Hmmm, we had a long walk ahead. I was glad I'd forked out the $25 to park closeby. Inside, I hung onto the railing and ascended the steep narrow steps one at a time. Yep, two rows from the top. Would we get nosebleeds? No potty breaks for me, too far to the outhouse! We laughed and laughed, and watched the crowd file in. Down on the floor, two people in Pop-Tart costumes greeted those who'd ordered early and got tickets near the stage. Matt and I decided those folks were way too obsessed.
We studied the giant screen suspended over the stage. Guess that's what we'll be looking at, we surmised. We were correct! But the sound system was great, first we heard Mandisa, then Lisa and Bucky and Ace and Paris. Kellie Pickler gave us a little of the comedy we hoped for, looking every bit the "minx" as Simon had dubbed her during the competition. "Last year I was a roller-skatin' waitress at the Sonic drive-in" she said, with a shake of her pretty blond head. Rocker Chris Daughtry (sexy look and sexy voice) pleased us immensely (still surprised he didn't make it to the end) and then here's Elliott Yamin, looking more relaxed than ever in jeans and baseball cap. Ah Katherine, so beautiful. Then the big moment arrived. All eyes on the stage, but there was commotion at the back of the room. Yep, Taylor Hicks made his entrance in the middle of the crowd, belting out his bluesey Southern sound, and the house was on its feet. The 10-year-old boy and mom in front of us, who had been doing the hand-sway-wave throughout the concert, were swooning now. Matt and I stopped our cynical remarks and clicked pictures to the folks back home on our cell phones. As did everyone else, throughout the all-cast spectacular ending.
Okay, concert over now, swim like salmon out the building, can't get close to souvenirs, down the ramp, the hot evening air, will the car still be there?
It was. Now we're back on the street, traffic cops directing lines and lines of the outward bound. I've got the route perfectly memorized back to our hotel, since I don't see too well for after-dark street-sign searching. The cop is waving me left, but cars from the right are moving straight ahead. Which is where I need to go. So I proceed, straight ahead, I need to turn in one block, then over the hill to the hotel, three blocks that way.
WHISTLE! The cop runs at me, waves his arms, YOU HAVE TO GO LEFT he shouts. But my hotel is THERE, I point. We disagreed. He told me he had lived here 14 years and there was no such hotel! This street takes you right to the freeway, he kept insisting, despite my statement that I didn't want to wind up on the freeway. Finally, I made the left turn he insisted upon, went two blocks, found an alleyway to turn right, and got myself onto the correct street. There's the hotel. "Why didn't you just ignore him?" Matt inquired. "You knew what you needed to do and you weren't disrupting traffic in any way." Situational law-abiding, hmmm. Did Grandma set a good example, or not?
American Idol Tour behind us now, we slept like logs, maybe the cream sodas helped.
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