Coolness. Absolute coolness. I couldn't believe how lucky I was. As of the moment, I'm still reeling from the mere adrenaline of it all. Like most stories, this has a beginning and I'll try to tell it without so many oohs and ahhs and ohmygods.
The date: January 21. The time: around 2:30. My sister and I were on our way to NBC tent to see Jason Mraz in concert. We decided to come early for the parking. We made a quick stop first in Park Square for my sister's dermatologist appointment. She said she wasn't even supposed to go, she just had this feeling that she needed to go to the derma. She asked me if I wanted a facial and being totally unconcerned for my skin, I declined. Armed with my wallet and my phone, I decided to kill time in one of Makati's busiest places.
From Park Square, I somehow made my way to Glorietta, Landmark, and then finally Greenbelt 3. The stones beside the marblish tiles rustled as I walked on them, haplessly avoiding a speeding elderly couple. I took a quick glance at my phone, wiping the oily display. It was two o'clock. My sister said she'd be done by 3:30 so I bought a can of soda and wondered what would make the time pass more quickly.
Sitting on the park's green bench, I took small sips from the can of soda. The lukewarm liquid touching my lips did nothing to speed the passing hours but I did what I could. I imagined what that night would be like: the lights, the stage. I wondered if he would sing Absolutely Zero or Mr. Curiosity (no, yes).
I sat up from the bench, stirred up by my own conjured thoughts. I walked to the Greenbelt's escalator and I noticed a woman with a gigantic Louis Vuitton shopping bag. I've often wondered if people would even bother to enter that store and I guess she proved me wrong.
Seeing Music One, I realized it was a great way to kill time. I wanted to look for the old Missy Higgins album when I saw a small print-out poster on the store's glass display. Jason Mraz was to have an autograph signing. I remember thinking why do I never get to see these things in time until I realized that the date was for that day and the time (2-3) was just right. It was 2:20 and I walked in, intending to see Jason Mraz up close.
Glancing at this man who made me relive all these memories, I wondered what kind of heartache he had to go through to be able to pull such somber and depressing songs. I made my way through the crowd to go outside, content of seeing him at such a close distance.
Suddenly, it occurred to me that this opportunity would never come again. Like a cheesy teen flick, I reached into my pocket and realized I still had money from Christmas. The hardest decision to make should've been the easiest. I picked up the first Mraz record I could find and spent what should've been the last of the Ninoys.
Before you think I'm crazy, here are two clarifications: I only have feelings of singer-fan admiration towards Jason and I am not the autograph-signing kind of fan. I've often said that an autograph means absolutely nothing. I enjoy the music for the lyrical genius and the melodic ease of it all. I used to say a singer's handwriting mean nothing. That all changed yesterday. A signature proves that I've met Jason and that alone gave me a chance to tell him something in person.
What should I say? You're a genius. You look small and pale in person. The last album was better than the one you're promoting. I think Lindsay Lohan's hot, too. Everything sounded so stupid. My hands were icy and shaking as I opened the CD to bring out the booklet.
First roadblock: It was about a half an hour to three. Would he finish in time? I don't wanna buy a record that I already have if he's not going to sign it. This guy comes up the counter with a CD in one hand and asks if he'll finish signing everyone's record. The woman in the counter nods her head in agreement. It had become even clearer. This would be my lucky day.
Second roadblock: my fears come to life. Arriving on the scene of the crime, the woman in front of me informs me that the person in front of her was to be the last person Jason would get to meet (and sign!). The two of us stood there, in dire hopes that the managers would have some streak of humanity left. I looked at the line in front of me, trying my best not to regret buying a second Mr. A-Z (which in my opinion at that time wasn't even that good). The guy in the counter comes to my rescue yet again.
He looks at the Caucasian looking woman with the Jason Mraz ID and pleads our case. I even contributed a little saying that it's just four more people she has to let in and it's probably not even going to take five minutes. She stands there, looking crushed, perhaps from the sorrowful delivery of our plight and agrees to allow us, if he's done before three. The five of us stood there, wondering if the line was about to zoom by as quickly as it should.
Divine Intervention: All non-CD holders must leave the line. Yipee!!! Suddenly, it was obvious we were about to meet him. I was back to thinking of a good line. I read all your blog posts. I think you're interesting. I shuddered in my cargo pants, not wanting to sound stupid in front of him.
The guy behind me was suddenly in front of me but I didn't mind. He was after all integral to eliminating the roadblocks. As he chatted with the girl who was in front of me, I looked at the people around me and was amazed at how his mere presence seemed to make the room different. We were in the midst of a star. I couldn't believe how close he was. So much so that I didn't even realize it was my turn.
A dark tall man in dreadlocks shook my hand and nervousness crept up my ear. I couldn't hear him for the life of me. He introduced himself. He was Toca. Toca! TOCA!!! If you've ever read Jason's blogs, you'd know that Toca is a much cherished member of the band. I've always imagine him as a small man with tons of facial hair but he looked like someone from The Matrix (the white twins). He signed my poster and my CD, something not many people let him do.
Jason was up and he shook my hand. He was wearing a pink shirt and didn't look an ounce queer in it. (He wore it in the concert, too) He said "Hi, I'm Jason" and in my mind, I fought the urge to say "Uh huh, I know". Instead I said "I'm Nyl" and he said "As in N-E-I-L?". I said "Nope. As in N-Y-L". Jason Mraz was signing my CD and he was writing my name down in the right spelling! Starbucks couldn't even do that and yet here he was. Toca said "He's Kneel as opposed to Stand" and I finally understood what I was too nervous to hear the first time. I told Jason I'm a fan of his blogs and he said it's been a while since he's updated them but rest assured he's working on a groovy post now and it'll be at the site in a while.
I know what you're thinking. What a queer googley-eyed fan. So what? Jason Mraz signed my CD and I got to have a very short conversation. It's a shame my phone doesn't have a camera since he's been posing left and right with everyone else. I pity the fool with the non-camera phone! I PITY THE FOOL!
The rest of the day seemed so much better. Even Mr. A-Z sounded better. The songs I used to skip now seem smart and quirky. Everything was so much better. I absolutely love Mr. Curiosity. I hope you all listen to it.
The concert was a blast. He sang so many cool songs (acoustic) and I screamed like an appendage was suddenly blown to pieces. Everything was so cool. He sang Clockwatching acoustically for the first time here so that's something to be proud of. I left that concert feeling so content and I remember thinking it's been a while since I've been this happy. Even the rehearsed jokes were funny Even Paolo Santos seemed cool. He even did a few songs on stage with Jason Mraz and Toca. Everything was perfect. Super thanks to Kris from a befuddled wenk for this cool concert picture. Click it to see her account of the concert.
I think what made it even more fun was that everything was so spontaneous. I didn't plan on seeing him at Music One. I didn't plan on even going to the concert, let alone get such cool seats. I've forgotten how fun things are when unplanned.
In a few months, I probably won't be as big a fan as I am now. But right now, I'm still looking at the poster he signed, reading the CD booklet he signed and thinking how cool it is that I met and shook hands with Jason Mraz.