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As someone who has never come face-to-face (or in my case, face-to-face-to-face-to-face-to-face) with one of their favorite bands, I had a milestone in my life occur this past Wednesday.

Here’s the scene:  I was in the food court of my local shopping mall, having lunch after my morning class and getting ready to do some shopping to look for a birthday present for my brother.  I had a very excellent breakfast burrito (breakfast is good ANY time of day if you ask me, it shouldn’t just be relegated to the AM hours), and was getting ready to leave the food court in search of my yet-to-be-determined gift.  As I’m walking out I see a group of guys walking towards me.  Automatically I knew it was the members of one of my favorite bands, Panic at the Disco.

After recovering from my brief aneurism, it takes me a minute for my brain to start working again.  I knew they were in town to play a couple of dates at The Warfield Thursday and Friday night, the Thursday date being the one I had tickets to.  As they are casually walking by me, I try to make eye contact with the lead singer, but I try not to be creepy at the same time.  No bite.  So then I have an inner debate:  “Do I go up to them and say something?  Or is that too weird?  They’re in a food court for Godsake.  They probably just want to be left alone to eat.  And why the hell are they in a food court in a local mall?  Aren’t they famous?  Shouldn’t they be able to call up room service and get whatever they want, like bowls of M&M’s with all the green ones picked out?  Ok, ok, stop thinking of all these inane questions, they’re about to leave.  What to do?”

So I decide to talk to them.  I mean, how often do you get to meet one of your favorite bands like this, in such a casual, random setting?  I figured it had to be fate.  And they didn’t really have a lot of security or people around them, so I didn’t run the risk of being tackled by an over-zealous bodyguard.  I slowly make my approach, as they (the guitarist, Ryan Ross, the drummer, Spencer Smith, and the bassist, John Walker.  The lead singer, Brendon Urie, went to get food somewhere else) are paying for their food at one of the booths.

“Hi, I realize this is an intrusion, but I just wanted to say that I really love your band.  I love the new album, it’s actually the ringtone on my phone right now.  I’m going to go see your concert tomorrow, but I just wanted to say hi.  I’ll let you guys eat now.  Bye.”

And that was it.  That was all I said.  I was really nervous and talking quickly, so it probably came out like, “HiIrealizethisisanintrusionbutIjustwantedtosaythatIreallyloveyourband, Ilovethenewalbumit’sactuallytheringtoneonmyphonerightnow, I’mgoingtogoseeyourconcerttomorrowbutIjustwantedtosayhiI’llletyouguyseatnowbye.”

And the whole time I was spouting words like a defective faucet, Ryan Ross was looking at me with an amused half-smile on his face.  He nodded a few times and said, “Wow, that’s really nice.”  Overall he seemed genuinely pleased that I liked their band, and he didn’t seem creeped out at all that I was talking to him.  Spencer and John were busy paying for their food while this occured, so I don’t think they heard the whole exchange.

After I walked away, I was really proud of myself.  I’ve seemed to have overcome my shy and introverted ways of my youth, I thought.  Not only can I voluntarily talk to famous people (idols of mine nonetheless), I can do so without seeming like a total idiot.  I thought (I HOPE) I came off as pretty cool and respectful of their privacy, while at the same time saying how much I like their music.  I managed to seem pretty nonchalant about the whole thing, actually.  No screaming, psycho, stalker fan here.

And then I proceeded to walk around the mall and downtown San Francisco the rest of the day, trying desperately to spot them so I could talk to them again.  

Small victories.

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