by Kevin Blocker

Mick Fleetwood is sitting in the passenger's seat. Behind me are Fleetwood's twin 2-year-old daughters, Ruby and Tessa. They are accompanied by Fleetwood's third wife, Lynn. Rosa is the nanny, and Phil is Fleetwood's personal assistant.

I ended up as their personal chauffeur when my friend, Tom Lyons, the owner of Ambassador Limousines, called me a few weeks ago and asked if I could help him pick up members of Fleetwood Mac for their July 3 performance at the Spokane Arena.

I'd moonlighted for Tom driving limos for more than four years, but never had I driven for anyone as well known as Mick Fleetwood. (I must confess, a motivating factor for accepting the mission was to see Stevie Nicks.) I'm 36, and I remember those boyhood debates with friends about who looked better -- Nicks, Farrah Fawcett, Cheryl Tiegs... (insert your favorite '70s feather-haired blonde here).

On the night of the concert, I arrived at the airport with a caravan of eight other drivers.

They say the rich put their pants on one leg at a time, but what is also true is that the rich don't have to lift their freaking bags if they don't want to. That's why we exist. Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckingham et al. got off their private jet surrounded by family, hair people, makeup folks and whole host of other on-the-payroll types.

After pickup, and just before getting onto the freeway, Fleetwood's eyes were immediately drawn to the basalt rocks accompanying the sign which reads: "Spokane International Airport Business Park.'' Quipped Fleetwood to his wife: "Look, hon, it's little Stonehenge.''

Just onto the freeway; however, Tessa gets restless. Then she begins crying loudly. "Tessa, you're only going to make it worse,'' Fleetwood said.

Boom! An epiphany. No matter how rich and famous one may be, nobody has the ability to stop the vehicular onslaught of a 2-year-old who wants out of a car seat.

During that time; however, Ruby fell asleep. Upon arriving at the arena, Ms. Fleetwood asked me to stay in the car with Ruby and Rosa. Could I keep the engine running? Didn't want to wake the child.

amn!'' I thought to myself. Just two hours before that, I had been sitting in a minivan in front of my house with my third child, Aliyah. She'd fallen asleep on the way home from Wal-Mart. Again -- it doesn't matter how much money you've got -- any parent knows it defies common sense to stir a sleeping child.

Fleetwood leaves the car instantly, Phil's carrying bags and Lynn's got Tessa. I talk with Rosa for the about the next hour. She's from Guatemala and has been in the States for 13 years.

Ruby finally awakens, so I carried her bags and Rosa's back to the Fleetwood family's quarters. After leaving them, walking under the bowels of the arena just before sound check, I hear Fleetwood start to pound on the drums. And, then, that raspy voice: "Now here you go again, you say you want your freedom..."

I dart to a curtain, and, behold there's Stevie, in all her ... hair curlers. She has five, big, looping curlers -- which start running in succession from her forehead to the base of her neck. She stops singing, turns in my direction, and I now see that she has three big looping curlers on both the right and left side of her head.

Though I had a chance to stay for the show, I took the opportunity to go back home and hang out with my family for a few hours before returning to the arena and catching the end of the performance.

Boom! Another epiphany. After watching hangers-on strive to make life as simple as possible for Fleetwood Mac, I truly began to wonder how fulfilling my life could be if I didn't have to do all the dirty work. Coming home made me feel good about my simple existence. I can taste and smell life this way.

After kissing the kids and my wife goodnight, I went back to the arena. I met Spokane Police Department officer Stephanie Barkley. She gave the band a police escort back to the airport. She talked with my fellow chauffeur Tom and I, then asked us a favor. She had a compact disc with some of her music on it and wondered if it were possible to get it in the hands of anybody with any influence. Tom informed her about the protocol: "You can't even ask for an autograph, let alone try to get a cop's CD in their hands.''

"Come on, Stephanie,'' I said. "You'd trade in the badge for all this?"

"Oh, heck no,'' said officer Barkley. "In the end, they're all just people like you and us.''

Maybe, but they sure as hell don't have to carry their freaking bags.

Kevin Blocker is a former staff writer for the Spokesman-Review. He now works at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix.

Publication date: 07/15/04

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