Meeting Tori

I logged on late Wednesday night to a Tori forum. One girl said she had talked to a Barnes & Noble clerk about the signing on Thursday, and not only were a lot of people planning on coming at 5AM, you had to have already purchased a book or CD from B & N. It was too late to go to a store anyway, but I questioned doing an instore that penalizes people buying something that day (since experience tells me they’ve got a high quota to shoot on the day of). I decided I’d set my alarm for 5AM anyway, since I doubted I’d be able to get up any earlier.

My doubt was shattered by the sound of Jill’s alarm going off at 4:30AM. It had gone off yesterday as well, but I had shut it off (or so I thought) and went back to sleep. I figured that was a sign to get up anyway, and made my way into a nice long hot shower. I stretched, too, figuring I might as well do the usual morning routine because if the line was too long at 5:30, it’d be that way at 7 or whenever I got there.

I got out the door at 5:45, to the Park And Ride by 6, and to Foggy Bottom by 6:40. A quick 4 block hike later, I was in line, only about 40 people strong then. It was cold and windy, but I had entertaining linemates to chat with, and we held each others places while we each hit Starbucks (though I’m not a regular caffeine drinker, and a latte on an empty stomach combined with a lack of sleep had me feeling funky for a while). I was disappointed upon learning we could only have the new CD or book signed , since I have a small poster that’d be perfect. As I thought, you had to purchase a book or CD to get a wristband, but you could do it then. They were efficient and I bought the book and CD and was out the door with my wristband by 9:10. I just missed an Orange Line train at Foggy Bottom, and also had to wait for a 950 bus, so I didn’t get to work until 10:30.

I left work around 3:30 and got back to B & N around 4:30. They had said they’d start lining people up at 4:30, and that it was ok to get there as late as 5. Nope – by 4:30 I was already around 130th in line, but at least I was guaranteed to meet her. They split the 200 of us with wristbands up into groups around the store. I was in a group on the first floor (the signing was on the second). I was with a different group than before, but also fun to talk to.

Tori showed up at 6:15 – we could tell by the shrieks and the reflections of the camera flashes. She started signing right away, but our group didn’t move for over an hour. When we got up to the second floor, we saw it was because she was taking time to talk to each person before she signed. Very cool, but it still took a long time; it was close to 8:30 by the time I finally got to the front.

They had laid out the rules: before you got to the front, they’d take your jacket, camera, phone, backpacks, anything besides you and your book and CD to be signed. Before we got up there, we could take pictures, but not while we were talking to her. I took some pictures from the sides, and tried to get around the restrictions by having someone behind me in line take pictures. Idiot that I am, I managed to block Tori out of the shot, so there’s a nice picture of my butt.

Tori’s bodyguard was nice, and she was wonderful. I had her sign the book and CD to me and Jill, and told her that Jill was upset she couldn’t be there. Then I had to explain why she couldn’t be there, and of course ended by telling her how Jill’s sister Robin really wants go to Montana to meet a cowboy. Tori gave me the strangest look over that one, then told me she had played in Montana and really liked it.

I also had to tell her how much I liked her new book. I had started reading on the way to and from work, and had finished all but 40 pages by the time I got to the front of the line. Frankly, it’s amazing – it’s not a typical biography, but a series of conversations with a journalist and her and those closest to her. You really get a sense of what drives her to create music, and a lot of insight into the songs (mostly of the new CD). It really makes you think.

After she signed my stuff, I went and got my jacket and backpack and waited downstairs for the guy with my camera. I sped off to the Metro, where I luckily caught a train right away and there was a bus waiting for me at West Falls Church – I was home by 9:45. It’d been a very long day, and I was wiped. I just stretched, ate some leftover ham and egg casserole, and watched the previous night’s Daily Show before going to bed.

I must have spent around 8 hours between traveling back and forth and waiting in lines. Still, it was worth the what – I must have had a huge grin on my face last night for a while. I think I’m going to try for the front row seats that RAINN are auctioning off for the Warner show.