Friday, July 07, 2006

a slice of my life

this is what a day in my new york city life is like.

I had an interview at 10am and then I had to see my doctor at 1:30pm and then there was another interview at 3pm. Somewhere in there, aside from a trip to the post office and the bank, and that good hard sweat that awaits me every morning at the gym, I had to pick up sheet music and sides from the roundabout theater company for an important audition on Monday that my manager sprung on me yesterday evening. I’ll spend my entire weekend absorbing this material and running it over and over, so I’ll be able to give some kind of a performance when the time comes. It will wring me out.

I was afraid to go home and take a nap after my last appointment because I hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep the night before and I figured I probably wouldn’t wake up. Later around 9pm there would be a gig with the swing band and another the next night. If I was lucky, I’d probably get home by 2am. Maybe. Oh, and Ron Sunshine was leaving a cd for me with the bartender. Mustn't forget to pick it up as soon as I get to the club. All that in black kitten-heel pumps.

And my parents don’t think I’m doing anything in New York City. No. Scratch that. Anything worthwhile.

Of course, my cell was ringing here and there with work and whatnot. Somewhere in there, my manager gave me a pep talk which ended with him roaring into the phone, “This is within your reach! Stop being negative and go into that audition and GET THAT PART!” Hilarious. But honestly, I wasn't being negative. I was being realistic. Me doing my absolute best doesn't mean that I'll get the part. Doing my absolute best doesn't guarantee that i'll get anything at all, no matter what i'm doing for a living. it's a good thing no one told me that when i was in grade school. i would have been an underachieving wierdo. instead, i was an overachieving wierdo. more on that later. Thinking positive is important but I don't get why he's talking to me like i can pull some jedi mind trick that'll make them love me and hand me a contract on a silver platter. He doesn't get it.

I was in Starbucks taking a breather when he went off on this particular tangent. I figured killing time there was better than sitting my doctor’s waiting room but not by much. My friend called me when he woke up the way he usually does and after we chatted for a few minutes, I looked up from my perch along the wall and saw this blonde chunky-faced white girl and this dark haired guy with shades on, at the condiment counter that faced me. She looked a little too happy to be there. She was asking him for an autograph and he really didn’t want to give her one but she was insistent and sugary sweet about it which was especially annoying for some reason. I mean, she was talking to him and it was annoying me. And with a sugary sweet voice, no less. Clearly, she wasn’t going to desist until she got what she wanted. He was more than annoyed. He was pissed. When he asked her, that was you across the street, wasn’t it, she smiled broadly with her mouth closed and nodded with mock bashfulness, like she’d actually accomplished something by following him in there. Eeeew.

By the way that she was gushing, I could tell that he was supposed to be somebody but then I heard his voice and realized it was Matt Dillon.

I’ll say it now and I’ll say it plain: he’s only moderately attractive and he’s not that tall.

His vibe was one of artificial magnanimousness, the kind of fake generousity that can only come from dealing with people you’d rather not know – but there you are, ducking into Starbucks for a sandwich and an iced coffee, and there she is, chubby and blonde and smiling like there’s something wrong with her. it was disturbing. I almost laughed out loud when he angrily signed her napkin and then her pasty bearded emo-looking companion (who would be stupid enough to have a beard during the summer?) walked up out of nowhere and loudly identifies him by greeting him like he’s known him all his life, when obviously they’d never met. “Heh, heh,” Matt Dillon said deftly with the same air of familiarity and a slew of contempt, and just the right amount of dismissiveness to keep them and anyone else away from him, “you guys take care, now.” And they left. I thought to myself, well done, Matt. And that’s where I thought the story would end.

Instead of leaving, though, he turned directly towards me, saw the empty table next to me, hesitated, quickly looked for another option, saw none, and then began to walk with some trepidation directly towards me. This all happened in a matter of seconds. I had hung up from talking with my friend by now (I think I said something like, remind me to tell you a story later.) Matt Dillon hesitated at first but when he saw that I was reading a book, his steps became more purposeful. I remember thinking, please God, don’t let him sit next to me. So he did.

Jack Sprat says that if you ever find yourself in a room with a famous person and you want their attention, ignore them. He’s right, of course. I got lost in my unauthorized Sheryl Crow biography and skimmed through my audition material. There were moments when, as he munched on his sandwich and read the paper, I could feel him glancing at me. Or maybe he was waiting for me to say something. I don’t know. There was some irony in there somewhere -- that Matt Dillon, who just played that racist cop in the movie Crash, would scurry to sit next to the only black girl in a Starbucks on the upper west side (‘cause you know I don’t want your autograph and I could care less about who you are) so he could have lunch in peace and starstruck white people would leave him alone.


blahblahblahblahblah said...

My kids just became old enough to watch movies like Crash. Matt Dillon's character was tough to explain. I think letting them see it was a bad idea. They're still walking on eggshells around their white friends and I don't think they'll ever think of policemen as kindly D.A.R.E. officers again.

queenesther said...

maybe your kids seeing crash was a good thing.

when i was little, "officer friendly" would come to our elementary school and talk to us. he'd say things like, " a man in blue is a friend to you", stuff like that. and i believed it -- what was i, seven? -- until i moved to nyc and watched a policeman throw this black kid against a wall, to handcuff him. not some gigantic violent malevolent thug that may have been armed. it was a baggy pants mouthy teenager who wasn't as cooperative as he should have been.

better to learn it from a movie than have to deal with it in real life.