My day-to-day life revolves around 30th Street Station here in Philly, at the crossroads of regional and local rail. My daily path takes me in the line of fire of the taxi line, in which I have to look for speeding taxis with new passengers, and speeding taxis having just dropped off passengers.
Yesterday, I look over at this line and see a vaguely familiar face attempting to cram huge road cases into the trunk of one of these taxis. Wait, that's Dan Wilson! For someone a lot less obsessive, it would mean Dan Wilson of Semisonic, the guy that wrote "Closing Time." For someone a little less obsessive, it would mean Dan Wilson, co-writer of the grammy award winning song "Not Ready To Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks. But for me, it would mean Dan Wilson, producer of Mike Doughty's first major solo record, as well as solo artist on Rick Rubin's American Recordings.
I walk up and sheepishly ask "Excuse me, are you Dan Wilson?" 99.9% sure, he says "Yes, I am" rather distracted by the task of cramming said oblong boxes into the trunk. I reply "I am a big fan of your work, nice to meet you" and go in for a handshake. With that, I turn and walk away, headed for my train.
That's it, when you meet people you admire and you're not just Mr. Fanboy, it's kind of awkward. You don't want to let the moment slip without letting them know you know who they are, but your anonymity is a challenge to them, and they instantly have to navigate the possibilities. Especially if they're somewhat "It" at the moment (a grammy, plus a new record "Free Life" which by all reports is stellar), I can only imagine that a stranger on the street could be a) someone from the venue coming to pick you up b) that guy who keeps on showing up asking for the secrets to the universe or c) someone approaching you to co-write songs. Man, I wish our society was more like that "Sorry I was late, I had to co-write a song with a big dude whose ipod wouldn't turn off"
And what band was I listening to?
Queens of the Stone Age.
I do own "Feeling Strangely Fine" though, and just gave it a spin last week.