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The Unreasonable and Utterly Insane

Okay. The desire to spill this story just got triggered. Time to disclose a nugget of Gracie's RL.

I warn you: This is not only sappy but exceptionally long. Even for me.

On 25 May 2000, around 8:00 at night, my mum and I ran up to the McDonald's not far from our duplex in her crappy old Mazda to get something to eat. Mum was frantic; I was in a pissy humour (I was thirteen; when was I not in a pissy humour?), and my uncle - mercifully absent at this moment - was in a fuming trance. After retrieving our Double Quarter Pounders and Filets-O-Fish and hamburgers with ketchup only and if you put anything else on it I'll fucking kill you (heh, that was my order), we headed back to the duplex.

It was during the drive back that, inexplicably, my ear was drawn to something on the radio I had never heard before - lyrics about falling in love with someone who was either entirely right or entirely wrong, and not knowing which, and wondering if it was wiser to keep it concealed or let it out. I am a born shipper; thus, it will surprise no one that the moment the lyrics, "she's got me thinking about her constantly, but she don't know how I feel," I was won over. I distinctly remember not being able to make out the DJ saying the artist's name, but I remember hearing that they were a "new group."

On 26 May 2000, we left Austin for Winchester, and all thoughts of my (albeit unbeknownst to me) life-changing experience in the car that day were replaced by resentment and anger and mourning the loss of my home. I did not return for a visit for nearly three years; I did not return to live for almost seven.

Fast forward to the end of the year: My sister had come down to Winchester from New York for the holidays, and on the day she left to return to the City, I officially began to have symptoms of, to date, the worst flu I have ever had. I was going to go with Mum when she dropped her off at the train; instead I was stuck in bed surrounded by used tissues and Nyquil. I remember two things about that flu: one, my temperature reached a max of 103.5; and two, it was the first time I actually saw Evan and Jaron.

No, silly, I didn't hallucinate. They were playing on Leno that night.

About a week and a half later, the day before my 14th birthday, Mum dragged me out of bed (I was still dead sick) and to Circuit City. My birthday gift was a personal CD player, for which I had been whining for about five years, and my choice of five CDs. Having just seen them on TV, I knew damn well I wanted their CD. Alas, upon my arrival at Circuit City, there were no copies of their CD in the "E" section. I sulked, but decided I'd make do and get their CD another time. Then fate intervened, and I found the last copy in the building, lodged, for reasons undecided, between Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana.

Aaaaand the world tilted on its axis.

Without going into unnecessary detail, I was a steadfast, hardcore fan - requesting songs, buying their three previous albums ("new group," my ass - they'd been playing since '93!), going to a concert at a really awful venue in a Very Bad Neighborhood in DC, being hyperactive in the fandom, etc. When they left their record label and started working independently, I worked my ass off to help get their record airplay; when Evan's first child was born, I cried with joy; when it came out that Jaron's long-time girlfriend had cheated on him, I was fit to kill. Because I was so active in the fandom, and because they are a band unusually active with their fans, I got the opportunity to communicate with them via email on a semi-regular basis. By the time I hit tenth grade, more people knew me as "that Evan and Jaron chick" than knew me by name. I did not mind.

Sixteen was the pelvic pain saga. I had debilitating lower left quadrant pelvic pain, which was ultimately determined to be caused by a combination of mild endometriosis, an ovarian cyst, a predisposition to chronic pain, and emotional factors. I was unable to leave my bed for seven months. It was what Alcoholics Anonymous refers to as an "ODAT" - an Opportunity Disguised as a Threat - because it also gave me a chance to reevaluate my priorities. Among them was the fact that I had no idea what the hell I was going to do after high school.

As many if not most of you know, my mum was in the music business for over thirty years. I therefore grew up knowing the ins and outs of the business better than many people who were actually active participants therein. I figured I could put that to good use. After all, the majority of my adolescence at that point had composed of whining that Evan's vocal was turned up too loud on that song and that you could hear Jaron's nerves in his voice on that one. While I knew it was a long shot going in, I knew what I wanted to do: I wanted to work for Evan and Jaron. So I composed a freaking long email to them, said a prayer, and sent it.

A month went by, and I almost gave up. I figured, hey, I tried and failed. It's all good. It was such a long shot anyway.

I met them in person at my second E&J concert in April of 2004, which remains one of the greatest moments of my life. After the show that night, Mum and I talked to them for well over an hour, even after all the other attendees had left - despite the fact that at the beginning of the conversation, Evan was panicking because his wife was back at the hotel with their eleven-month-old and didn't want him out too late! We actually got kicked out by the venue staff, who wanted to go home!

The day after the concert, I went home. (It was far enough away to necessitate a motel room.) And upon my arrival at home, imagine my shock and delight at finding an email in my inbox from Sara, who was working for them in a quasi-internship, saying they'd gotten my email and were "totally interested" in having me work for them. In July of that year, I sold merch for them at another show they did.

I walked around on that high for several months, but things subsequently started to unravel. Further emails to Sara with ideas for projects I could do or requesting more information were either ignored or evaded, and attempts to contact Evan directly failed completely. (Jaron = teknologiklee st00pid. I love him, but srsly.) Sara had provided me with her cell phone number at the time she'd said working with E&J was a go, so in desperation I called her and left her a voicemail saying, "plz to be getting off your arse and giving me the right info." That was apparently the straw that broke the camel's back, as two days later I received an email saying, "there's really nothing to do."

Well, fuck me. I'd been killing myself trying to get ready to move to Los Angeles because I was directly told by an Evan and Jaron employee that it would be prudent for me to do so to work for them myself. I'd also been making all these plans for things I could do to help them when I could have been preparing for college like normal young adults.

A couple of months later I flew to LA to see Jaron act in a play (from which, interestingly, I got this username). I have subsequently been mocked for this in pretty much every forum I have ever brought it up in, so let it commence, lol. I brought with me a letter explaining the problems I'd had with Sara and delivered it to the theatre staff, asking that they deliver it to Jaron. I doubt this was ever done, because that letter requested a response and I never received one. Any other time I requested a response directly from them, one was given.

I'm tempted to characterize the mindset after being denied that opportunity as a nervous breakdown, though I can't claim that it genuinely was. I really refused to give the idea of working for them up. I figured I'd go around Sara however I had to to get to the guys and figure it out. It wasn't until after I graduated high school and had to figure out how to make it in the Real World that I was forced to give up that dream. That's by far the most painful thing I've ever done, for so many more reasons than I can say here. It was at that time I fully focused my efforts on women's medicine, which had been an interest of mine since I was extremely young. I think anyone who reads this LJ knows how passionately committed I am to my career; but it's still niggling in the back of my brain that if I were ever offered the opportunity to work for them again, I'd drop all of this in two seconds flat.

I haven't seen Evan and Jaron in person since I went to LA for the play in 2005. I hold my breath every time I open their MySpace, hoping I see that they're randomly coming to Austin. It's really rather pathetic, doing that at my age...but I can't help it.

This evening, I went to their MySpace, and Evan had written a new blog entry. (Jaron still = teknologiklee st00pid, lol.) Direct quote from his entry:

"Lastly, I was rummaging through an old storage space today and I came across BOXES and BOXES of E&J stuff. I had no clue they were even there! I found KaLos, NFC, We've Never Heard of You Either, some self-titled records, stickers, pictures and TONS of t-shirts!!

Any idea what I should do with it all???"

My response was:

"How much you want for 'em?"

I think there's still some sixteen-year-old inside me who'd gladly cut off a limb if it meant she could work for them. And I can't decide if that's tragic or not. (Though I believe the fact that I've cried through about three-quarters of this entry should serve as an indicator.)

If you read all of that, you are a braver person than I am. And thank you.

ETA: That's them in this icon - J on the left, E on the right; taken sometime in 2007.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
That is really pretty amazing in my book. Being someone who is constantly afraid to go out on a limb to follow her dreams, I would say that that kind of perseverance of what you know that you want, even if it didn't pay off in the end, is standing ovation-worthy.
Jan. 15th, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
:) Thank you. I'm another person who's constantly afraid, but I guess my personal health crisis gave me the swift kick in the pants I needed to...do it.
Jan. 14th, 2008 09:15 pm (UTC)
While this whole situation is awfully bizarre to read about (no offense intended, I personally just can't quite come to grips being that kind of fan ;D), I agree that it is pretty amazing. Regardless of how it worked out, you showed incredible courage and drive: You knew what you wanted and weren't afraid to do what you needed to to get it, and that kicks ass.

Don't look at it as lol-worthy or shameful. Find the good in this story - you had the courage to go for what you wanted. :)
Jan. 15th, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
LOL. If I had started out as that kind of fan, I would have scared the hell out of everybody. Rest assured it was a development, hehe.

Thank you :D
Jan. 15th, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC)
Oh wow. I so wish I had that kind of devotion and determination. This is an incredible story, you are an incredible person, and our orgy will be absolutely splendid with the possible addition of these two men should it still be occurring.

Except I have no love for people who ignore your questions. Ho-bag. :P

Also, don't feel pathetic. I actually started using my MySpace again this summer, after having had it lay dormant since 2003. The reason for revival? BAND STALKING.

Jan. 15th, 2008 11:40 pm (UTC)
LMAO. If we are going to integrate these two men into our twisted femmeslash orgy, we should probably consult with Evan's wife first.

Jan. 15th, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love you.

Jan. 15th, 2008 11:41 pm (UTC)
I love you too!

Jan. 18th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
Such determination, I think you did a lot!
Jan. 18th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC)
Haha, so I did! Thank you :D
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )