Monday, July 11, 2005

Shabbat Shalom, New York

While God and Borough Park enjoyed a day of rest, D and I hit the gym early Saturday morning. And by "hit the gym" I mean he woke me up at 8:30, tossed my running shoes at me and dragged me out the door by my pigtails chanting, "You'll thank me for this later."

After brunch the rest of the day was a lot of wandering, shopping and drinking of overpriced beverages... By 2:00 we marveled at the chasm between our spendings and what we had to show for them. I suggested we write a book: "101 Ways to Waste 10 Bucks in New York City." We were really psyched about the idea and even started jotting down ideas, but we got sidetracked by a street vendor selling Chinese finger puzzles and that was the end of that.

One hundred-some-odd dollars and a few hours later, we landed in Times Square just in time for Rain, a Cirque Eloize production playing at the theater where D works. His boss handed him the tickets and whispered something in his ear; He nodded and gestured me over while she scurried away.

I held out my hands. "Ready?"

"Hold on," he said, the usual goofiness gone from his face. "I just have to tell you that we have two responsibilities here tonight. The first is to be good audience members and enjoy the show."

"Duh. Can we sit down? We're going to miss the curtain."

"And the second," he was almost scolding me, "is not to speak to, or speak about, the person sitting in front of us."

"Ummm...okay..." I said. "I don't usually talk to strangers anyway. Especially in a dark room."

"Look," he was really intense now, as if we were about to transport a live kidney or a vial of smallpox. "I'm about to give you biggest celebrity sighting of your life. But you can't get all excited. Okay? Okay?"

"Okay!"

"Nicole Kidman will be sitting in front of you."

Surprisingly this did not faze me. "So what?" I said. "I wouldn't talk to her, in the theater or anywhere."

D relaxed a bit. "Well I was a little worried, since you practically chased Naomi Foster out of Crate & Barrel this morning."

"It was Naomi Watts, you idiot, and I was just trying to see if we were wearing the same skirt."

It's not like I've never met a celebrity. In fact, it's part of my job: I interview at least one famous woman for each issue of my magazine. Movie stars are just regular people with high-profile, high-pressure jobs. I don't stare or point or try to make friends with them... I just peek. Discreetly. And write about it later.

Ms. Kidman was ushered in at the last moment and floated into the seat directly in front of me. A few country bumpkins in the front row craned their necks to see her and didn't look away until the theater went dark. I was embarrassed for them, but Nicole didn't seem to notice. When she disappeared at intermission D shot down my suggestion that we invite her to join us for a burger. It's not that I wanted to meet her, she just looked like she could use a hearty meal. That's when we had another book idea -- a children's book for celebrity offspring titled "Why Doesn't Mommy Eat?" (Or in the case of the Cruise-Kidman children, "Why Does Daddy Yell at Matt Lauer?")

The show (which has unfortunately closed now but really you shouldn't miss it if it plays near you) was like Cirque du Soleil without the pretense, body paint and cast of thousands. It was simple, intimate and gorgeous, ending in a joyful sort of Slip-n-Slide situation, like children playing in the rain. I was so engrossed I totally forgot about the movie star sitting in front of me -- except when her hairdo was blocking my view. Tall people should really be made to sit in the back.

Nothing too exciting happened after that. I picked up my bags and moved to my uncle's place uptown, so I could spend some time with him and D could leave for his family reunion early the next morning. After brunch with friends on Sunday I took the train home, glad to have seen a few loved ones and just as happy to leave New York behind. I'll save the rest of my thoughts on that subject for another post and just say that I must be growing up, because the allure of New York life is gone. This is my home; I heart DC.

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