Brush with fame
I had brunch with Eric and Sonja Sunday afternoon at Cafe Gitane. A man sat next to us eating baked eggs. When I saw what he had ordered, I wished I had ordered the same. He left early, leaving his companion at the table. Eric leaned over to me and said, "That was Stephen Gaghan, the guy who wrote Traffic and directed Syriana." I told him I didn't recognize him. He said that Sonja told him and asked me when my last brush with fame was. I said that I could step on fame's foot and not recognize it. Sonja told me that she had to tell Eric that Drew Barrymore brushed past him in Whole Foods. Eric said her voice had sounded familiar. I told them the last time I had a brush with fame, Mike Meyers opened the door for me at Blue Ribbon. And I didn't even notice.
Harold Arlen and Robert Rauschenberg
Saturday morning, I read an article in The New Yorker about Harold Arlen. The author lamented Arlen's apparent anonimity even as his songs have weaved their way into the public psyche. Having written the music to such classic songs as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "One for My Baby (and one more for the road)," he still seemed easily forgotten. I found my copy of Ella Fitzgerald's Harold Arlen Songbook to listen to.
That afternoon, I went to the Robert Rauschenberg exhibit at the Met. The galleries were not crowded, but a large tour group congregated around one combine and then another. The docent's voice cut through the rooms.
I wanted to be left alone with the work. While there are times I like listening to the voices and opinions around me, something about Rauschenberg's combines struck me so that I wanted to discover them on my own. I put my headphones and soon Arlen's music filled my ears. The songs seemed oddly suited to the work.
I spent a few hours in the galleries; I didn't want to leave. And after the exhibit I didn't want to look at anything else in the museum.
Last night I took my first tango class. I arrived a little early to sign in and while I waited I watched the end of a salsa class, remembering when I was learning the same steps. I recognized a co-worker in the class and found myself focusing on him.
Out of the corner of my eye, I spied a seemingly familiar face. After I couldn't place her I put her out of my mind. Moments later, I saw her again and she looked even more familiar. By the third time, I walked up to her. "Didn't you work at Mucca?" I asked.
She said she thought I looked familiar, but she attributed it to seeing me in class. We had worked together for a month over a year ago. We chatted briefly and then Willy appeared. He said hello and I introduced him to Erica. Another woman walked out of the salsa class and I recognized Andrea. Willy said he had been taking salsa for a while and he recognized Andrea from class. I looked over his shoulder and saw the classroom door about to close. I excused myself to get to class.