No, seriously. I was. Here's the story. The fateful day was July 31, 2007 (apologies for not posting about it sooner). I was traveling westbound on I-70 with my family, on vacation in Colorado, heading to a family reunion in Durango when Victor Paguia called. Now what you need to know about Victor is that when he calls, it's often because something interesting is going on. He's now working as a stunt man in New York City, and he's worked on movies so far with Will Smith (I Am Legend, coming out in December), Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones 4), Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher, Martin Lawrence, and others. You know, just regular stuff.
About a year ago, I got a message on my phone one night that he had seen Bono (lead singer of a little band called U2. If you don't know, I'm kind of fond of them, and of their lead singer, pronounced BONN-oh) at a restaurant and had said hi to him. So on this day, Vic calls right when we're about here in Colorado. Vic was here. My phone rings and Vic tells me "I think there's been another Bono sighting." So I ask him about it, and he tells me he thinks Bono is sitting out on a sidewalk cafe at a restaurant (called Savore, pictured at left) in New York City, but he needs to verify. He goes back and says that yes, he has visual contact with Bono. And we begin to discuss what he should do: go up and take his picture, say something to him, what? He eventually decides that he's seen him twice, and he'll probably run into him again, so he'll just "leave him alone." I counter that Bono is an extrovert, enjoys talking to people, and if he's eating at a sidewalk restaurant, then he's probably wondering why he's being ignored so far. So Vic is on the fence about this, and I finally say to him, half-jokingly: "Look, just go over to him and tell him that you've got your youth pastor on the phone and he's a really big fan, and he wants to talk to him."
Pause. And then Vic says: "I'm doing it, I'm going over there." At which point, I decide I better pull the van off the highway. I've been going in and out of cell phone range the whole drive, so on the off chance that I actually get to talk to Bono, I don't want to lose the call. And I also don't want to crash the car and kill us all, being distracted while chatting with the world's biggest rock star.
The next thing I hear is Victor saying: "Excuse me, sir? I'm a big fan, but my youth pastor's on the phone and he's a really big fan, just a HUGE fan." To which Bono replies: "oh, is he a really fat man?" But I don't hear that. All I hear is Vic say: "Actually, he's tall and skinny." And I'm thinking: well thanks, Vic, but why are you describing my physique to the world's biggest rock star? Anyway, the next thing I hear on my cell phone is..."Hello?" And it's Bono. On. My. Phone.
Nothing can prepare you for a moment like this. The last time I said something to Bono was before a concert in Chicago. Bono was signing autographs, and Britt (my best friend from high school who had flown up for the show) and I had positioned ourselves behind a chain link fence along with many other fans (pictured at left). Bono was walking by me, I had nothing for him to sign, and no way of shaking his hand. So I just stuck my four fingers through the fence and said: "Gimme four, Bono." He chuckled a bit and gave me a little "fist" on my fingers. But now I have his undivided attention. What will I say? So with no preparation whatsoever, the thing that comes out of my mouth is...
"So Bono, just kickin' it in N.Y.C., huh?"
That's all I got. I know it's incredibly lame, but that's what came out of my mouth. Bono says: "Yeah, I'm just hanging out with some friends." I let him know that I'm here in Colorado with my family. I decide to start digging for the inside scoop on U2's new album, because I can't think of anything else to say, and if I don't keep talking, I might pass out (most of my body is numb at this point, other than my right arm holding the phone, and Heidi said my voice went up about an octave.)
Meanwhile, Foster yells something to Grace, so Heidi turns around and says something she'll never ever say again: "You guys, be quiet. Daddy's talking to Bono." Foster and Grace don't really know what's going on. Ellie is a little confused, but I see Kaila in the rearview, just slowly putting her hands over her mouth. She gets the significance of this moment.
So I tell Bono that I heard they've been recording the new album in Morocco. He says: "No, I'm in New York." I say: "No, I mean...uh, er, before, you were in Morocco." Bono and I just aren't communicating here. He says: "Oh yeah, I'm all over the place. I have 2 passports." Bono's such a ham.
I know my time is running out quickly, so I finally think of something somewhat meaningful to say in all of this banter. A year ago, Bono recorded an interview with Bill Hybels, pastor of a huge church in the suburbs, Willow Creek. They gave a copy of that interview to every church that attended, so I told Bono that I've been lending that out to people to watch, and that it's really making a difference. Bono replies: "It's all about Jesus." As if to say: "Don't give me credit for that." I didn't see that one coming.
Bono decides to wrap it up so he says: "I'm gonna give you back to your friend here, but I send you with grace to be with you in your place" (or something like that... he rhymed "grace" with "place" somehow). And then he said: "God bless you in the work you're doing, and say hi to your family for me." I say thanks and goodbye. And then I pull the phone down, lean my head back, and say something I'll never ever say again: "Hey guys, Bono says hi."
Vic gets back on the phone and I'm sweating profusely and I say: did that really happen? Yep, it sure did. It sure did. We talked later about how odd it was that Vic was just hanging out in New York, and really couldn't go anywhere if he wanted to because, well, Bono had his cell phone.
It was a completely surreal moment, and a whole lot of fun. If you want to hear the audio version of this story you can listen by clicking the "Continue Reading" link. The talk includes my overspiritualization of Bono's line about Jesus.
So I guess you can check that off the life goals, huh?