If I had tags, this would be tagged “old story”. If I weren’t lazy, I’d have a link to my working guest book, too. As Kurt Vonnegut says, “So it goes.”
Have you ever wondered how you would react in a specific situation? Would you face down the gunman threatening the room? Would you stand up for the woman being told she had to move to the back of the bus? Beat up the schoolyard bully? Walk up to George Takei and say, “I loved you most right after Scotty and Spock. Hey, number three ain’t bad!” If your mom opened the hotel room door for a stranger who was banging on it at 2am, would you stand by her side or head to the bathroom and lock the door? Well, I’m here to tell you that I’m a natural born coward. I wouldn’t do any of that and I did lock myself in the bathroom. Hey, if Mom wants to take her chances on strangers claiming “it’s Bernard” (like we knew a Bernard) at 2am in the morning, well she’s on her own. For the record, the door in that bathroom was pretty solid, however the window was kind of small; it would have taken some time to wiggle out of there. I think the door would have held which would have bought me precious time if the need to shimmy through it had arisen.
A long time ago I was in Manhattan throwing myself another pity party that required Jerry’s attendance, which meant I crashed at his place and sulked. Jerry had to go to work so he handed me the keys to the place and said, “I don’t want to see you when I get back. Go out into the city. Go explore. Don’t sit here and watch TV all day.” Way to ruin a perfectly good trip, Jers.
I headed towards the subway armed with crib notes. You really shouldn’t walk around with a big map in New York according to the natives. I descended the stairs to the subway and started heading downtown. This was my first hiccup. See, as a Texan one truth is that downtown is where all the big buildings are – it’s where everything is. We don’t have an “uptown”. Uptown is North Austin and I didn’t need to go to North Austin or to Albany for that matter. As the train lurched along I started seeing Bleecker and Canal (ok, Manhattan know-it-alls, if you’re reading that critically and saying “well yeah, if you go from one end to the other and take the L then transfer to the F” I’m giving you the finger). I realized I was heading to China Town and away from the area I needed to get to. I was going “downtown” and I really did need “uptown”. As you know, Manhattan is a few short miles filled with big buildings and one large park.
I finally arrive at the right stop and head to the MoMA. The whole time I’m thinking about all the filming that takes place in New York and wondering if I’d see anything going on. Since I’m me, I was also thinking about how people get discovered on the street. What would I do if I were “discovered”?
I entered the MoMA and prepared to take my big tour. The “Look, See I Can Leave the Apartment” tour to prove to Jerry I was independent. (All of my friends know better.) As I’m milling in the lobby area an older gentleman approaches me. He asks if I’m part of his student film group here to take a tour of the museum. He goes on to tell me that he made documentaries and don’t I have the loveliest cheekbones. He could possibly use me in a movie. My head came plummeting back down out of the clouds. What? Me, in your movie? He handed me his card. Great, I could be in his porn. I bet I have nice cheekbones. Take a look at my mouth while you’re at it, too. He wanted to meet up with me later and asked for my phone number. Of course, being clever I made one up. Yes, off the top of my head I just started spilling out numbers and realized “CRAP! That’s Mom’s number.” That’s when I had to do some damage control and said something clever like, “oh, did I say 2, I meant 3.” I’m so foxy. If Anna had been there she would have rolled her eyes at my lame attempt to correct the number and likely cuffed me in the back of my head. See, I have a disability. I’m incapable of lying in a convincing manner.
After some moments I made a lame excuse and ran. I spent the rest of the exhibit ducking every so often. In fact, except for a Monet, I can’t tell you what I saw. Ok, that’s a lie, I saw a remarkable scribble exhibit. Write a cursive “e” and then repeat it 100 times – in crayola, chalk, pen, paint and then put it on canvas, paper, a chalk board, etc. Who knew how artistic the cursive “e” could be? I didn’t. Still don’t. That’s why nice people don’t take me out to nice things.
Here’s what I learned about myself that day. I’m far too cynical to be discovered. I know deep in my soul that if I were ever “discovered” it wouldn’t be a magical moment – limousines, champagne and hanging out with some guy named Goldwyn. It would be some pervy porn director preying on tourists in a museum on a day I just wanted to sulk in an apartment and watch TV.