People, I have a situation. It's not a pretty one. I am typing at the moment from a chair in my front yard, not because I enjoy putting myself on display for my neighborhood, all, "Hey, look at me! I am a single woman with nothing better to do on a Friday night than sit outside with a glass of wine and a laptop!" but because I am too horrified to tuck myself away unnoticed in my backyard.
It seems having a squirrel give up the ghost in my backyard wasn't a one-time thing. There must be some sort of anti-squirrel predator or force field in the area between my neighbor's fence and my back walkway, because another dead squirrel is now lying only about five feet away from where the previous one went belly up. This one is on my property, so I don't feel particularly right asking my neighbor to remove it for me. Unfortunately, it's also much more vile than the previous one. Suddenly I'm not sure why I was so terrified to deal with that first squirrel, because I realize now that I would have rather touched that one with my bare hands than scoop the scattered remains of this one up even with a ten-foot-long shovel. I'm really trying to spare you the graphic details. I'm failing, so I'd better just move on.
And oh, look at that. I left my post for five minutes to duck back in my house, and now there is a bug in my wine glass. Fantastic. Bugs in my wine, crows circling overhead, flies swarming in on a revolting target a mere 30 feet away... Perhaps outdoor blogging isn't as appealing as I thought it might be. Think I'll move this party back inside after all.
So then. Focusing on more pleasant thoughts. Last night Josh Ritter was in town, so Carrie and I went to the Varsity Theater to see one of our favorite (Carrie went so far as to say "the original") Boy Meets Guitar. Our pal Lisa was supposed to join us, but unfortunately she had a doctor's appointment earlier in the day that unexpectedly ended with a staple being deliberately put in her head (ouch), and I can't particularly blame her for not feeling up to a concert night after that. (Look at me; I have finally veered away from dead rodents and now I am talking about surgical staples. Aren't you glad you clicked this link in your feed reader today?)
ANYWAY, as usual, Josh did not disappoint. I've already told this story once, but it was two years ago, so allow me to tell you again what's so very special about this boy. The first time I saw him, it was amid a crowd of fewer than 40 people, many of whom had probably wandered into the club having no idea who they were going to see, taking the chance that their $5 cover charge would not be a bust. Lisa and I were there on Carrie's recommendation. She was living in Chicago at the time, and she emailed us to say that a dude worth seeing was coming to our town, and we should go to his show. So we went, and we liked what we heard, and after the show, Josh milled about selling CDs and handing out promotional postcards, so we talked to him for a bit. Despite the small crowd, Josh was thrilled that we were there. "Thank you SO MUCH for coming!" he gushed. "How did you hear about the show?" When we told him our friend in Chicago had recommended it, he wanted to sign a postcard for her. But he didn't just sign it; he thanked her for sending us, and he wrote, "Stefanie is gorgeous, and Lisa is the belle of the ball!" We were both smitten. "I've never been the belle of the ball before!" Lisa said. The boy was just a young pup at the time, but he knew how to charm the ladies.
Since then, I've seen Josh nearly every time he's come to town, and each time, the crowd is larger and more dedicated. He's now successful enough that there are Josh Ritter tribute bands (in Ireland, apparently), but he's still just as grateful someone's there to listen. That wide-eyed enthusiasm hasn't faded; the grin on his face has only grown wider. I suppose it's possible that underneath that stage presence, he is an insufferable diva, a volatile force I would never want to know in person, but I don't want to believe that is the case. As far as I am concerned, he is a nice boy from Idaho who says "Please" and "Thank you," who, despite his success, is still sort of awe-struck that people will actually pay money to come and hear him play, to see him do what presumably he loves best.
It's hard to watch him and not develop a bit of a crush, and Carrie and I are certainly not immune. Last night's show was at the same venue where I met the MPR reporter as a discussion panelist, so Carrie turned to me mid-set and said, "I think you should make a habit of picking up anyone you see on the stage at the Varsity."
It's a compelling suggestion, but somehow I think asking Josh Ritter out for a drink via email might be even less successful than asking an MPR reporter out turned out to be. Of course, I may not actually have to send such an email, as this is the information age, and I have had a blog and a Sitemeter account long enough to know that even on the smallest and least notable of web sites, any words you type about a celebrity do not go unnoticed. No, thanks to Google Alerts and Technorati, Josh Ritter's publicist, or perhaps even Josh Ritter himself, will likely read this within a few short days of my clicking that "Publish Post" button. I sure am glad I talked about inside-out squirrels and head staples in the same post as the lyrical genius of young Mr. Ritter. (Message to Josh: Hi there! Call me!) Sigh.