Here’s something weird that happened to me the other day.
I was in Borders Bookstore, aimlessly wandering and looking for nothing in particular. A children’s book about Greek mythology caught my eye and I stopped to pick it up. As I tried to pick out which mythological story best represents my life, a woman passed me talking very loudly on her cell phone.
“I will never let the FEAR take the place of another man ever again!”
I looked up to see who would dare make such a bold statement. Unfortunately, she was moving too fast, presumably away from the fear, for me to catch a glimpse of her. At the same time 50-ish year old Jewish man happened to be walking by and heard the same thing.
“Did you hear that too?” he asked me.
“That was weird right?” I nodded and he continued. “I’m a writer/director and that’s a great line to use in something. You’re an actress, I bet.”
“Yep. But I’m a writer too.” His face puckered as though I let out a SBD.
“Oh, that’s interesting. Anyway, I’m always looking for new actresses for the shows I write. Actually I just came back from L.A. I had a meeting to a be a writer on a television show out there.”
“Oh! I want to do television writing too. What’s the show called?”
“Two and a Half Men. But I turned it down so I can focus on my own project that I’ve been working on for thirty years. Here, I can show you. It’s a play.”
He proceeded to pull out a 145 page script, poignantly titled:
WHY AREN’T THERE ANY GOOD WOMEN LEFT IN NEW YORK CITY?
I need to pause the story to discuss a couple of things.
First of all, no you didn’t. You did not have a job offer with TV’s highest rated sitcom and then turn it down to work on your thirty year old pet project. You. Just. Didn’t. It’s 8:30 PM, you’re in a “business” suit with your shirt unbuttoned down to your chest carrying a briefcase that conveniently has your masterpiece neatly binded and ready to show to any bright young thing in the city. Not my first day at the rodeo buddy.
Second, the title’s a bit wordy.
Ok. Back to the story.
“Hey, how’s your spelling?”
“Pretty good.” I said. “I’m a former spelling bee champion.” This is true. I represented my school in the county finals and was promptly knocked out in the second round by the easiest word ever… monstrous. It was a quiet car ride home that day.
“Oh! Hey, now you might be quite a find tonight. I just wrote five history books–”
“That’s completely unbelievable.”
He looked taken aback for a minute and then quickly laughed. “What? That’s funny. You think I’m lying. Hey, you know I’d be willing to pay you off the books to check my spelling and grammar. I’m terrible at that stuff. Have you eaten yet? I’ll take you out to dinner. Let’s talk business.”
“I already ate. My roommate cooked me dinner.”
“Oh okay, let’s walk for a bit. This is fun talking to you.”
Because I had nothing else to do I went along and we started walking up the Upper West Side.
“Hey, I oughta give you something for your time. Here.” He opened up his bag and I saw a half empty pack of mini snickers bars, dvds, and folders bulging with paper. He pulled out pack of cigarettes from underneath all his stuff. “Ok. What you wanna do is take these and go to a bar, sit down, pull em out of your purse, take a long drag and then–” he pretended to puff a long imaginary smoke ring. He handed me the cigarettes and waited for me to react. “Do you see? They’re made of chocolate.”
“Neat. Chocolate cigarettes. Thanks.” I put them in my purse vowing not to try even one.
Now this story starts to take a peculiar turn.
“Hey,” He really liked to use the word hey. “There’s the Reebok Sports Club. Do you work out?”
“You should check it out. Hey, I know a lot of nice guys your age who would like to go out with a girl like you.”
“Go on.” Although I really doubted he did. He brought up the Reebok Sports Club again.
“You should check out the classes at Reebok.’
“Eh, I don’t really need to. I run enough.”
“Yeah, but you can meet a higher class clientele there.”
“Uhhh, I don’t need to meet a higher class clientele when I’m running.”
“Oh, haha, that’s not what I meant. I talk to a lot of guys there and they are always complaining to me how there are no good girls in the city to meet. I thought you’d be good for some of them. You seem like a nice girl.”
Story pause. Higher class clientele? Whaaaat does that even mean?! It sorta sounds like I’m being screened right now to be one of those escorts for politicians and athletes. Is this how that kind of stuff happens? I’ve never looked into how one becomes an escort besides seeing random CraigsList ads like this one here…
ESCORT/COMPANION AGENCY (MIDTOWN)
Anyway, I suppose if Kate Moss can be discovered in an airport, the next great escort could be discovered in a bookstore, right? Seriously though, who uses language like that and suggests joining a super-lux gym just to meet guys in a casual conversation? Or does he think I’m already an escort? Is that why he has all that candy in his bag? Because it’s some sort of escort/client code thing to give candy to someone you think is a hooker as a test to see if she really is a hooker and if she accepts she is? Or maybe this is just your average joe weirdo. Where is all this going?
To 75th and Broadway apparently. This is where we decided to part ways. His apartment was around the corner and he was heading in for the night. He told me he’d pay me 10 bucks an hour if I’d come over to his apartment do some spell checking for him. I could bring someone if I felt uncomfortable. Yes, I thought, because two people being held at gunpoint is better than one.
“Let me get your number. Here write it down on my script.”
“Okay, I’ll put it by allll the other numbers from girls you talked to tonight.” And I did. I figured I wouldn’t answer his call anyway.
“Now, stop that cynicism. You met someone really nice tonight and you’re being so cynical. That number is for a renovator.” He didn’t justify the other three numbers on his script but he didn’t need to. I was sufficiently irked. How dare he try to turn this around on me. Of course, I’m skeptical!!!! I live in New York City, land of crazies! I wish I could just take everyone at face value but I can’t. I’d probably end up at the bottom of the Hudson if I did. Then he goes, “Here’s twenty bucks, go buy a drink on me.”
I will be completely honest. I did not hesitate for one second in taking the money. Then I realized I didn’t hesitate in taking the money and awkwardly tried to play it off by saying “Oh, I can’t do that. I feel guilty? I shouldn’t take this from you?” but by that time those words were meaningless. He disappeared into the streets of Manhattan leaving me confused and alone.
THIS STORY GETS EVEN WEIRDER AND THIS TIME IT’S BECAUSE OF ME.
I called one of my friends to discuss what just happened to me. I was so weirded out by this whole thing I wandered through the Upper West Side not really paying attention to where I was going. I turned down 69th and Columbus, a quiet residential street with a neighborhood pub that you have to go down a flight of stairs to enter, sorta like it’s in the basement of a brownstone. I noticed this pub because it looked so cozy and friendly, with its white Christmas tree lights trimming the awning…the tiny red door propped open to let the summer breeze in… the two quaint cafe tables parked outside on the sidewalk occupied by a pixie cut blond girl smoking a cigarette and talking to some guy…. wait a minute. No. It can’t be. HOLY SHIT! She’s talking to the same guy I was just talking to! And she’s writing her number on the script!!!
I ducked behind a minivan and hid. I watched as he spoke to her, trying to see if she would A. Get candy or B. Get money. From what I could see, neither of those two things were handed out. As he walked away, I debated whether or not to follow him. Instead, I raced down into the pub to find pixie.
I barged into the pub which was smack in the middle of a trivia night. I found pixie and tapped on her shoulder. She turned around and looked at me with a pair of innocent blue eyes.
“That man you were just talking to. What did he want?”
“Oh, he’s a writer and wanted to share some of his work with me.” I stared at her, waiting for her to give me more than a pithy snippet of obvious. I continued to stare at her without saying anything until it became uncomfortable for the both of us. Clearly she wasn’t weirded out by him. Why did I assume she would be? Perhaps this was an every day occurrence for her and she had piles of scripts on her nightstand that needed to be read. Maybe she just broke up with her boyfriend and was flattered by his attention. Or maybe a million other things. It was time to make my exit.
“Ok. Bye.” And I…wait for it… run out of the bar.
Poor Pixie!! What was SHE thinking?! I passed the crazy onto this little blond girl who wanted nothing but to answer some obscure questions on cinema history and smoke ciggies without being bothered. She didn’t even ask to be handed my crazy. I just punched her in the face with it.
Anyway, I never heard from that guy. Guess my “cynicism” scared him away. That or he found some other bright eyed girl to help him with the proper use of they’re, their, and there.