Tuesday, January 23, 2018

An Actress at The Post Office

          A few years ago, well maybe more than a few years ago, I was waiting in a long line at a post office in Greenwich Village that I would sometimes use if I was in that part of town. On this day I noticed that standing in front of me was one of my favorite actresses, a chance meeting of the highest order. I usually don’t bother celebrities after all I am a native New Yorker who takes fame and sightings of the famous in my stride. 
                   Never mind that once on an early Sunday morning my door bell rang and when I groggily opened the door there stood Meryl Streep who profusely apologized for ringing the wrong bell, she wanted my neighbor, the fashion designer downstairs. I stood for a while with my mouth wide open, then I closed the door and went back to bed, convinced that it was a dream, it wasn’t.
                  But on this day at the Greenwich Village post office there in front of me stood a terrific actress a tony and oscar nominee and an emmy winner and there was no way that I wasn’t going to say something. “Well how great is this, one of my favorite actresses is standing in line with me” I said loud enough to make sure she heard me. She turned, and gave me the look of someone who didn’t want to be bothered crossed with the look of is “this guy crazy or what.” “I loved you in so and so and this and that film and that tv series, which seemed to convince her that I wasn’t a crazy and was serious and interested in her as an actress.
                 To be blunt I was the only one who recognized her in the first place, and as I gushed she slowly relaxed and we started to chat. “This line is unending” she said. “I have to get this package out to my father in New Orleans its his birthday tomorrow and this line is unreal.” “Send it express overnight” I volunteered .
                 Yes the line was long, and it was going very slowly because many of the folks were making errors with their mailings  and had to leave their place, fix their mistakes and then jump back to where they were. I had actually met this actress once before a while  back at of all places a cheapo gym on 14th street that was still crumby around its gentrifying edges. I noticed her with her trainer and couldn’t understand what she was doing at this shithole, when no doubt she could afford a better gym. She was working out next to me, so I ventured forth with “I love your work” and she stopped, the trainer gave me an annoyed gay look, and she thanked me, and actually asked me my name and what I did. She was sweet and told me to call her by the name that only her friends called her.            
                 Finally I let her get back to her routine, and I thought of mentioning this to her at this second meeting but figured she wouldn’t remember it so why bother. I started to pepper her with questions about her work and this really warmed her up I thought I could actually hear her purring.  Soon we were giggling like the best of friends, but every so often she would realize that the line hadn’t moved and we were still at point nowhere, exactly where we were 10 minutes ago. “I’m going to scream” she said. Oh please don’t I said and she giggled. She began her career as a pretty ingénue, playing the girlfriends and young wives of big male superstars in big movies. She was a pretty little thing as my mother would have said about her. She did a lot of tv work and then it seemed she stopped making movies, as if she just left the scene or the party. She left as Sandra Dee and a few years later she came back as Jill Clayburg and suddenly it seemed like she was in every independent movie that played at those small art houses that use to flourish in the city. She played everything from moms with cancer, moms grieving over a dead child, wives whose husbands were cheating, and wives who were cheating on their husbands, murderers and drug addicted lesbians.  She did comedy and drama with equal ease and finesse and the awards and nominations started to flow in. 
                Finally we were getting closer and closer to a clerk when we hit a brick wall that looked like a flustered young Asian woman who was short on the amount that was due for her postage.  “Here we go” the actress said and offered to give the woman the money she needed. “How much is it” she asked?” Oh no I couldn’t take money from you. Of course she didn’t know who was offering the payment. “Oh yes you can” the actress replied. This back and forth went on for a bit and now the people behind us got into the act. “Take the money” one said, yeah take it already piped up another.” Please take the money, take my wallet, take my fucking life only please let’s get the show on the road” the actress said in a loud enough voice to reach the upper balconies of a theatre without the help of  a wireless microphone, and she literally brought the house down. I exploded in laughter and so did everyone else who heard her retort. Well the young Asian woman took the money, and finally the actress reached her clerk of no return, took care of her postage needs, and on her way out gave me a nice smile and said it was fun, we must do this again sometime and was gone no doubt back to her million dollar brownstone on some beautiful leafy street in the village. 


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