Once upon a time my BFF, Sheila, was a youthful, carefree soul. But now that's she's older I think she's having a Best-Friending Crisis.
During our teenaged years, I could count on Sheila to be game for all sorts of mad hijinks. We once (okay, twice) climbed over the wall of Keith Richards' infamous Redlands estate and stalked the Rolling Stones on tour in an effort to corner them so that we could entertain them with our awesome Rolling Stone impersonations (and, being devoted Jesus Freaks, tell them about Jesus). My fearless BFF went so far as to steal her mom's car so that we could chase the Stones all the way to Myrtle Beach that time they escaped our clutches in Virginia. (In Sheila's defense, it wasn't premeditated theft; just a desperate act of passion. At least, I think the courts would have viewed it that way but, unfortunately, Sheila's mom did not.)
The Way We Were
My point is this; Sheila was once a slightly psycho, risk-taking teenager. Then something happened. She got married (so did I) and had children (so did I) and worked in the ministry (so did I) and became very responsible (no comment).
Although Sheila and I have lived virtually parallel lives, we sometimes find ourselves at odds when we arrive at the proverbial "responsibility-vs-irresponsibility" fork in the road. Nowadays, I find that I must resort to launching full-scale "Sheila attacks", comprised of pleading phone calls and cajoling emails (and sometimes downright bribery) just to persuade her to accompany me on my mid-life capers. I'm beginning to think that I may have to enroll Sheila in some classes for "Extreme Best-Friending" to remind her how important it is to occasionally forgo responsibilities (and stalk the Stones instead).
Case in point: the last time I succeeded in convincing Sheila to go Stones-stalking was in 2013. I had just completed a rough draft of our Some Girlz story and wanted to catch a Stone so that I could foist my manuscript into his hands (and hopefully have him beg to write the book's foreword afterwards). Before contacting Sheila, I spent a good deal of time in online investigation, researching possible restaurants and hotels that the Stones might frequent. Then I constructed a foolproof plan for covertly tailing the Stones from their concert at the Wells Fargo Center to their unknown hotel in Philadelphia so that we could stake it out (until we had the opportunity to pounce on any Stone foolish enough to wander the halls without a bodyguard).
Somehow, I didn't expect the most difficult part of my bold plan to be convincing my BFF to tag along. It took some doing, but I finally got her to agree to join me after applying considerable pressure to her "weak spots". Sheila's greatest weakness, other than Disney World, is her red-hot passion for American history. Sheila actually refers to our Founding Fathers as her "Homeboys". If they were a rock band (and still alive) she'd be their most ardent groupie.
Here is the shortlist of what it took to convince Sheila to join me on my 2013 Stones-y Quest.
1. I had to book (and pay for) a room at the über-expensive Kimpton Hotel. (I made sure our room had windows facing Independence Hall because I knew Sheila would surely take the bait if it included eyeballing the Birthplace of Our Nation on a daily basis.)
2. I promised to escort Sheila to all the historical sites (on the condition that we would keep our eyes peeled for the Rolling Stones at all times because they were spending four days in Philly between concerts). I really would have preferred Stones-scouting to touring the Betsy Ross house, but I comforted myself in the knowledge that visiting sites like The Liberty Bell increased our chances of spotting Charlie Watts because he, too, is enamored with history.
3. In addition to the expensive hotel and four-day Philadelphia Walking Tour, I also had to promise to drive Sheila to Indiana afterwards to attend a wedding. (I know, right?)
But I was happy to comply with all her demands - I mean suggestions - just to have her join me on my manhunt.
Sheila & the remains of Ben Franklin, one of her Homeboys.
The Philly Trip was good fun, (though my mad schemes were foiled by the foul storms that delayed Sheila's flight for a day and a half, which meant that we missed the first concert and our only chance to tail the Stones' limos back to their hotel so that we would know exactly where they were staying for the next few days.) It pains me to write about our "Rolling Stone Near Misses" that week, so I will save that tale for a future post. (It's been five years, but I'm still very verklempt over the whole affair . . .)
The thing I'm really trying to address in this post is this:
THE STONES are TOURING AGAIN!
IN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND!
AND . . .
This year marks The 40TH ANNIVERSARY of when Sheila and I first chased the Stones on their 1978 TOUR (and also repeatedly climbed over Keith Richard's wall in ENGLAND).
Let that register for a moment . . .
EXACTLY FORTY YEARS . . .
THE STONES ON TOUR AGAIN . . .
ENGLAND . . .
I THINK NOT!!!
Clearly, this is
THE APPOINTED TIME
that Sheila and I are meant to
& BECOME BEST FRIENDS
WITH THE ROLLING STONES!
Even astronomers and Magi (like the ones that found Jesus in the stable) likely recognize that THIS is the year that we would succeed in catching the Stones!!!
Being the responsible Rolling Stone-stalker and (Sheila-convincer) that I am, I created a U.K. plan that places Sheila and I in close proximity to two Rolling Stone concert venues over the span of a week, thereby doubling our chances of success. My scheme is as follows:
We'll fly into Manchester, England and stay at a Trafford hotel within walking distance of their concert that first night. If we fail to trap them there (I'm accounting for jetlag), we'll catch them later in the week when they play in Edinburgh. And we'll have a lovely vacation in-between and along the way.
So, in preparation . . .
1. I booked rooms in Manchester, York, and Edinburgh.
2. I found ridiculously cheap flights.
3. I bought a new Taylor tartan (so I could "blend in" to get past Scottish security at the Edinburgh concert).
This is my new Scottish Stone-Stalking Taylor Tartan, made just for this trip!
4. I even arranged for a Scottish tartan-maker to create and weave a brand new tartan design for my BFF to go with my newly-invented Scottish surname for Sheila:
You gotta admit, the name MacNowski has a certain ring to it . . .
(No offense to the Ninowski Family, of course.)
[See actual proof of my Tartan connections & intentions in the communiqué below]
SEE? Even Scottish tartan-makers are willing to go along with my wily scheme.
But is my BFF Sheila?
Even after I booked this CUTE apartment in York; with breathtaking views of the York Minster . . .
Sheila said "No".
As an afterthought, I also booked the equally-cool hotel, Judges Court, in the heart of York (in case Sheila wanted to save money and go with something a little less expensive).
Look at all this fabulous-ness. And yet . . . Sheila still said "No".
BELOW: The wallpaper guy on the left looks like me trying to figure out what it takes to coax Sheila
into being irresponsible (and fun) again.
The guy on the right looks like Sheila saying, "I can't go. I have responsibilities."
It's like this room was made for us!
As an enticing finale, I booked a long stay in the glam city of Edinburgh in an amazing apartment right off the Royal Mile, just below the castle.
See Sheila? I'm offering lots of history. Even American history. In Edinburgh Castle they have a museum with one portion dedicated to The American Revolution as told from their point of view.
(Spoiler Alert: We Americans are not the good guys in the Scottish version.)
All of the activities above would be provided while you stayed in this incredible apartment pictured below.
I mean, who DOESN'T WANT to go to Edinburgh???
Apparently Sheila, that's who. After all my enticements, she still said "No".
(I mean, she says she does want to go . . . But she claims she has too many, you know, responsibilities.)
This post is my last-ditch effort to convince Sheila that THIS TRIP is the opportunity of a lifetime and her responsibilities (like mine) can get scootched aside for one dadgum week! They're only responsibilities, Sheila . . . not appendages!
So it has come to this. This is an Official Online BFF Intervention!
I'm writing an online letter to my BFF Sheila in a last-ditch effort to bring her around (because I have no shame).
(Best Friend of both my Youth and Adulthood) ;
Please go Rolling Stone-stalking (and vacationing) with me to England and Scotland. Considering our lifelong friendship, I don't think I am asking too much of you.
I know you can't afford it, but neither can I ! But saving up for retirement is (in this particular case) highly over-rated. I say we dip into those funds and spend them tracking down the Stones while we still don't need wheelchairs for our pursuit !
Let me remind you of what I am offering:
I offer you all of Edinburgh.
And your own custom-designed MacNowski Tartan ! (Tartans aren't cheap Sheila ! Especially when they have to be designed from scratch.)
We'll go visit The Queen's Palace at Holyrood. I know the way! Oh look! There she is ! The Queen !
I snapped this photo of her last time I was there. I know how you love Royal Families Sheila. This is your chance to possibly meet The Queen !
(Okay, I confess that this photo is of a cardboard version that was in a shop window, but the Queen does come to the Palace every summer. So maybe you'll see her ! And if not, I'll take a photo of you with the cardboard Queen and no one will be the wiser.)
OMG! Even Keith Richards is trying to get you to stalk him !
I mean, why else would the Stones keep touring? You know it can't be for the money . . . They are just begging for us to catch them !
Sheila, Sheila, Sheila.
We'll have a good time sight-seeing & Stone-stalking, I promise.
Say Yes Sheila. Say Yes!
Once again, you have me begging on my knees . . .
Your lifelong BFF (who has already stinkin' arranged Everything!!!)
PS: Don't make me have to enroll you in "Extreme Best-Friending" classes !
PPS: You have to Say Yes fast because the free cancellations for all the hotel bookings are drawing nigh and if I don't cancel them and we end up NOT going and I have to pay for all these apartments and hotels anyway, my husband will probably kill me and use my remains as fertilizer so that no one will ever find my missing body.
And it will be ALL your fault Sheila!
Just sayin' . . .
Tick-Tock . . . Tick-Tock . . . Tick-Tock!
And now, dear reader, you have some insight into what I go through just to hang out with my BFF. Needless to say, Sheila's undying commitment to her "responsibilities" is really crimping my Rolling Stone-chasing style. I don't know what else to do, short of starting a crowdfunding campaign to completely pay for Sheila's portion of the trip. Hmm. There's a thought, although I would feel guilty asking for money for a Rolling Stone manhunt, but . . . Would it be considered a Missions Trip if we meet the Stones and FINALLY get to tell them about Jesus?
(Your thoughts on this matter, dear reader?)
And by the way, YOU can help me convince Sheila to come with me!
"How?" you ask.
Through ONLINE PEER PRESSURE, that's how!
Remember, this is an Official Online BFF Intervention.
Comment on this post and tell Sheila HOW CRAZY SHE IS if she doesn't go on this trip. She'll regret not going for the rest of her life, right? (But probably not half as much as I will.)
I thank you for your support. Comment below and help me reintroduce (and unleash) the Irresponsible Sheila back into the world. And remember, the free-hotel-cancellation clock is ticking (and my life is on the line).
Some of you out there might be saying . . .
"Who cares about Connie & Sheila! I want to stay in that cool hotel (or apartment) pictured above!"
If so, you can check out the websites by clicking on the individual photos.
They are all in prime locations and have good comparison rates to similar hotels and apartments in the same vicinity. Due to their location and "cool factor", these listings book up fast, so reserve well in advance. (Like I did, though it was possibly for naught . . .)
And if you decide to stalk the Stones in Scotland and need a Tartan-ish disguise (or you want your own family tartan), contact LoullyMakesDesigns. She's the awesome Scottish lass who helped me track down the hard-to-find Weathered Taylor Tartan fabric and whipped me up an Outlander-styled shawl. Her Etsy shop can be found at https://www.etsy.com/shop/LoullyMakes