One weekend in 2011 was no exception. I was booked to perform at a Sweet 16 at a Country Club about 90 minutes from Manhattan. I had planned to take the NJ transit bus from NYC-NJ, and then a taxi to the venue.
By the time I arrived at the bus station that night, I had two hours to get to the venue I was performing in. The taxi ride was an estimated 15 minutes total, so I was for sure going to arrive very early.
Once the taxi I called arrived, I hopped in with my oversized canvas tote bag of Gaga gear, with my disco stick popping out of the top. I pulled up the address of the venue on my phone and told the driver. He said he knew where to go-no problem.
Twenty minutes later, instead of arriving at the event hall we were still driving through a very dark wooded area. It looked more and more desolate as he drove on and on. I was getting really nervous as we kept barreling through pitch black roads into what seemed like endless nothingness. I asked the driver again if he knew where he was going and he said "yes, we are almost there". Another fifteen minutes went by and there still seemed to be no destination in sight.
"Do you need my google map?" I asked-knowing he was obviously lost. He finally agreed to use it, begrudgingly. After pulling up my directions on phone speaker, he told me he was not in the right town. In fact we were over 12 miles away from the hall. Fab. He turned around and started heading toward the new directions my phone provided. It was at that vital moment that my cell phone flashed low battery-only 20% was left. I asked the driver if he could put the address in his phone, because mine was running out of battery-he refused.
We kept on driving and driving until my phone died. The driver still had no idea where I was going. That's when things got scary. He turned around and yelled at me "You don't know where you are going!?" I shot back with "I gave you directions twice and you said you knew where I was going when I got in." He yelled back, temper rising "I COULD NOT FIND IT- NOW IT'S A BEEN OVER A HALF HOUR, NOW I LOSE OTHER FARES" as we continued to drive through the dark desolated roads. "You are losing fares? Well I am going to lose my job because of you-I cannot be late and I should have been there 40 minutes ago!" I said back. "WELL FINE YOU CAN GET OUT AND WALK THERE IF YOU WANT" the driver yelled back at me, louder and more violently than before. "I AM SICK OF DRIVING AROUND AND CAN'T FIND YOUR PLACE THAT DOESNT EXIST YOU WHITE BITCH" At that moment I seriously thought I was potentially going to have to use my disco stick as a self defense weapon. After all, that thing weighs about 10lbs and with it's rock candy surface could to some serious damage if needed. I was also thinking that if this guy ditched me in the middle of nowhere in the dark with a dead cell phone, I was going to have to use the light from the disco stick to guide me back to civilization.
My survival mode kicked in, which was just get back to where people were. Out of desperation, I asked the driver to take me back to the bus station where he had picked me up. I figured there I could at least charge my cell phone enough to call the client to explain why I was now running late, and call a different car service. Once back at the bus station, I plugged my phone in and called the her asap. When she didn't answer twice, I texted her. I told her what had happened with the taxi driver. At that point we were still a half hour away from my estimated performance start time, but it would need to be pushed back somewhat to allow me time to get into costume.
Then my phone rang. The client didn't say hello, she just screamed in my ear "YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE HERE BY NOW IN YOUR OUTFIT WAITING TO GO ONSTAGE. I DON'T BELIEVE YOU ARE LOST FOR ONE SECOND. IF YOU ARE REALLY AT THE BUS STOP SEND ME A PHOTO OF IT AND THE CLOCK RIGHT NOW." Then she hung up.
So, I took a photo of the station clock and one of the bus station and sent it to her.
Following a long silence she texted back- "WE ARE AT THE PARTY- NO ONE CAN BRING YOU HERE. NOW YOU ARE LATE AND ANOTHER TAXI WILL TAKE TOO LONG."
I offered to heavily discount my rate for being on later than expected but she still refused. After about five minutes my phone lit up again. She had sent me another all caps text which read (verbatum): "LADY GAGA IS SUPPOSED TO BE HERE AND NOW LADY GAGA IS NOT HERE AND NOW MY PARTY IS RUINED. I WILL SUE YOU!!!!! THIS IS THE EVENT OF THE CENTURY. EVERYONE WAS EXPECTING LADY GAGA AND NOW I HAVE RUINED THEIR LIVES!!!!!!! ALL THE KIDS ARE GOING TO CRY HYSTERICALLY. I BOUGHT THEM SUNGLASSES. DO NOT BOTHER COMING HERE AN HOUR LATE THERE IS NO POINT EVERYONE WILL BE LEAVING. NOW YOU WILL HAVE TO GO PERFORM AT HER SCHOOL TO MAKE UP FOR THIS"
Yikes. This night was not going well, and I had just lost the biggest chunk of money I was making all month because of that crazy idiot taxi driver. When the next bus came back to Manhattan, I got on it and headed home without completing my gig.
The next morning I received another scathing email from the mother telling me about how I had ruined the party. I profusely apologized once more and told her I was sending her deposit back asap that morning. She still threatened to sue me, but I never heard from her once she cashed her refund check.
I signed up for drivers ed the following week. And though I never did get to use my disco stick that night, I realized it was more than just a valuable stage prop. It could also be an excellent self-defense weapon.
|Me and my disco stick. Circa 2011|