November 24, 2003

Friday, Craig had a night that he described as "22 years in the making": Mr. 80's Band pop tenor finally saw his idols, Duran Duran perform live at the Tabernacle. I asked him how it was, and he launched into a 20-minute play-by-play of the event, including the set list. (This man is a serious fan: He hocked his precious Duran Duran LP collection to buy his wife's engagement ring.)

Despite the inherent energy-sucking nature of Sunday afternoons, this past one was overall a good day because the wonderful family we met in England finally got a hold of us. Melissa and the wife talked for almost two hours about LOTR and assorted other stuff. (No worries, they have this penny-a-minute rate plan for international Long Distance.) It was just great to hear from them again, because the whole family was just friendly and funny as you can get. Since we didn't get Elijah Wood's autograph, they got a spare one for us (costing about $35) because they came back the next day of CollectorMania. In return, we sent them a care package of American goodies (mostly from that bastion of southern culture, "Cracker Barrel") that was reportedly consumed over a weekend. We also got a letter from Keith, the LOTR fan that we met on the bus to CollectorMania. Melissa has set up a magazine swap with them, where we each send magazines from our country featuring LOTR actors or features on the movie.

Meeting these people has really connected us to England in a way that no place else has before. It makes it more "Real," in a sense. It's not that I didn't believe in it before ("What, just a conspiracy of cartographers, then?" --'Rosencranz and Guilderstern are Dead'), but knowing people and keeping in contact with them makes a place more alive in your mind, so it becomes more than the flat, glossy pictures that I took of the place.

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