the train from boston to new york was meant to be a four hour haul but it was five and it deposited me into the hell that is owned by satan. oh, whoops, michael bloomberg. new york at six o’clock rush hour, one hundred degrees, rain with a brisk wind of brimstone and sulfur. the boy scouts benjamin and brandon trailing behind me with their cameras and cases and tripod. i met up with my son joseph and the quintet found a quiet spot at a QUIET italian restaurant on 55th and 9th avenue to await the arrival of f2fb friend #169 steve ware.
by quiet, i mean the volume was set at eleven. new yorkers are loud people, pushy people, excitable people. they crowd up against each other and there’s little time for extended conversational openers like “excuse me” or “sorry i stepped on your foot”. . . i spent three minutes being polite and figured it wasn’t getting me anywhere. none of these people would last five minutes in kearney, missouri or cedar rapids, iowa or even morgantown, west virginia–places i’ve logged on this new years resolution.
i first met steve ware at a movie shoot that my younger son eastman was part of. eastman was just ten and steve watched out for him on the set when i wasn’t available. we have kept up over the years through emails and facebook but not so much in person.
the waitress asked me if we were doing a movie because of all the equipment the boy scouts, brandon and ben, were hauling. i allowed as how i was sort of gonna being doing a, well, a “reality thang” which isn’t a bad way to describe two guys following me around making a documentary about my new years resolution. i mentioned that steve ware is working on the show jerseylicious, the scorching hot series about a beauty salon in new jersey. (i should put in a plug here for the show if i expect to be invited to be part of the cast, shouldn’t i?)
i didn’t put up any objection when she asked if she might seat us in the v.i.p. area. which was a good 3% quieter.
RECIPE FOR GETTING YOURSELF A VIP TREATMENT:
1. RENT FRIENDS IN CASUAL DRESS WITH LOADS OF CAMERA GEAR. THEY MUST WEAR CARGO SHORTS AND I WOULD SHOOT THEM UP WITH FRAPPUCINOS BEFOREHAND. JUST FOR THAT VIBE. (a clipboard isn’t a bad add-on)
2. HAVE THEM PUT THAT CAMERA LENS ON YOU. IGNORE THEM. TRY TO ORDER. PUSH THE CAMERA LENS AWAY. WAVE YOUR HANDS IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE. LOOK POUTY.
3. ****GUARANTEED*** WAITRESS WILL ASK “UH, ARE YOU WITH . . . ?” THIS IS AN IMPORTANT MOMENT:
4. BE VAGUE. VERY VAGUE. DREDGE UP EVERY REALITY SHOW YOU KNOW (GLAM FAIRIES? SISTER WIVES? JERSEY SHORE IN ITALY????) AND PEOPLE (SPIELBERG, FOR EXAMPLE, YOUR COUSIN’S LAST NAME ENDS WITH BERG. THAT’S PRETTY GOOD)
5. AGREE (RELUCTANTLY–WATCH THAT CHAMPAGNE TABLE STUFF) TO GO TO THE VIP TABLE AND WORK ON YOUR POSTURE: NOSE SLIGHTLY TILTED UPWARD. THIS IS KEY BUT I DON’T THINK I’M AS GOOD AS ALL THAT.
steve ware has a particular gift of getting himself into car accidents–and i asked him about that:
steve has battled back from an incredible health crisis and yet he’s managed it with grace, patience and good humor. and yes, he’s now working on jerseylicious.
i think steve and i agree that everybody should be the stars of their own reality series. maybe it’s not filmed. maybe it’s not on a cable channel. but it’s you. you are the central character of your own life!!!!! you are not just watching baseball, you play it. you are not wanting to be glam, you get it. you take adventures, you are the star of your own life,
however, i’m sorry because this is advice from someone who isn’t there yet. we left the cafe and the rain had become a gentle sweet smelling cloak. the commuters had scurried off, the tourists were in their hotel beds with visions of fifth avenue bargains dancing through their heads. the moon was just one of the twinkling lights overhead. i smiled in what i hoped was a most charming way and asked f2fb friend #169 if i had a shot at getting on jerseylicious.
he said i don’t have big enough hair.