My friend Mhern works for a publisher, so is always giving me the heads up on book signings and reading that I may be interested in. Last Thursday, off we went to the Barnes & Noble in Lincoln Center for Charles Strouse, composer of musicals such as “Bye Bye Birdie” & “Annie”, new memoir “Put On A Happy Face”. Being the musical theatre fanatic that I am, couldn’t help but get a little excited and bubbly knowing that this amazing man would be chatting about his life & PLAYING some of his popular tunes. OMG. I know.
Because we both work til 5:00 or so and the reading started at 5:30, obviously we weren’t going to get there earlier to secure seats, so had to deal with lingering around the entrance, standing on our tipping toes to listen in. Initially, I thought it was odd that the reading began so early, but once we got there, it was OBVIOUS why. So many old people. And I’m not saying nice glowing grandparents with patient smiles and stories abundant. They were a breed of obnoxious, irrational-sweat suit wearing- will never be pleased no matter what- senior citizens. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt though that they skipped dinner (which was probably around 5:00), so were hungry and cranky.
The Reading. I’m not going to get into it too much. Ladi-dah dah dah…someone was on the phone, old lady yelled at them to stop, which the person on the phone replied with something like-well don’t push me!! Wah wah my husband’s in there, I need to sit with him. (Rar of Gma) MIKE! Turn up the mike! Can you hear anything? I can’t hear a thing!!
Yeah, I know, you get it. but Charles Strouse was wonderful and gave a lasting impression of inspiration. What a wonderful life he had experienced and despite accomplishing so many things, remained humble and down to earth.
After the reading was over, everyone began to line up for their books to be signed and Mhern & I went over to chat some of her co-workers up. A hello here, a how are you there, and off Mhern went to say hello to her friend’s Mom.
So I stood around a bit and chatted with one of her co-workers, Robert who ended up being a nice and chatty fellow. Our conversation went as follows:
What do you do? Do you like your job?
Sales. HATES it.
Oh you write? What do you like to write about? poetry?
Yes I write. I like to write about myself. I have little to no patience for poetry.
How do I know Mhern?
Oh I don’t know, forever.
And so on.
Enters the Musical Uni bomber.
As Robert & I talked about…well me, I heard a little bubbly, slightly over the top voice behind me say, “excuseeee me, but what does that tattoo on your neck say?”
Always one to talk about tattoos I told her, “oh it’s in Thai and says For The Beauty Of The Earth“.
I then turned to get a good look at whom I was talking to. Um. Yeah she was a mess. She reminded me of a washed-out dental hygienist, standing at a mere 5 feet, with this crazy dry raspy not quite blond, but more like straw hair. To top it off, had these CRAZY-lady eyes, emphasized with HUGE brown eye brows. I couldn’t even tell you what she was wearing because the whole top half of the package was way too much to take in.
From there, she squealed with delight while ringing her hands and THEN in a quivering tone death voice began to sing the hymn “For The Beauty Of The Earth”. From here began the anthem of religion AND spirituality AND her beliefs AND her past within the church AND how she went to school in Boston to go to school for seminary AND how she is at the highest level a woman can be at in the Catholic church, BUT she doesn’t like the Catholic church. AND with pride in her voice stated, “And my grandmother, who is 80 – YEARS – OLD always thought a woman should be equal to a man in church. She was just a woman far ahead of her time”, and with that a little sigh.
While she was chatted away, she slowly and surely began to corner me out. Obviously she was hitting on Robert and I was her in. That was my hint to subtly back away and let love happen. Fine fine, I could survive without a conversation with the crazy and the weirdo.
Just to show you the magnitude of her craziness and that it wasn’t just me being weird,Robert got freaked out, gave her an excuse about wanting to talk to the author and took off. So there I was, alone with the uni bomber. She went on and on about this and that, all the while I spent my time shooting Mhern looks of “GET OVER HERE NOW. LOOK WHAT I’M TALKING TO”.
Finally. I said, “Well I’m going to go and see if my friend is ready to go…”
MU: OH well I know Christine Ebersole (whom was singing that night) and I too have to go in and give something to her.
(right away I assumed a bomb)
She followed me to the door and the security guard said, “wellll where do you think your going”?
I replied to him with , “oh well my friend’s over there and I just want to see if she’s ready to go….While MU said, “I have something to give Christine. Let us in. You don’t think she won’t come over here to see me because she will. SHE KNOWS ME. SHE WILL COME OVER.”
Oh sweet mother or god, the security guard obviously thought we were friends and plotting to take out Tony Award winning Christine Ebersole. (which, sad to say, I looked at her and thought to myself-oooo she was in my Girl 2!….I know, culture is just dribbling out of my pores).
While MU argued and pleaded with the security guard, Mhern came over, and the Musical-Uni bomber turned her attention immediately, telling Mhern how lucky she was to work in publishing, how she was going for her SECOND Masters for library skills and. Mhern mentioned that Rutgers had a good program there, MU violently attacked with-OH no no no. I live in Manhattan!! Agh haha I go to Pratt and they just don’t let ANYONE in…
She continued to shake and panic, on the verge of pycho-sobbing, “I JUST HAVE ONE THING TO GIVE CHRISTINE!!! (she told me earlier that she cut out clippings from a review of a show she saw Christine in recently…but we know better).
Good old Mhern looked at me with the look of “why the hell are you always talking to these weirdos” and said “Must drink margaritas now, goodbye”.
Meanwhile I was obviously erupting to talk about this, but knowing better (and because maybe the uni bomber would over hear and change her target) said, “WAIT until we get outside.” Fine fine.
Thankfully, we got out of the building before the bomb went off, so good for the security guards & that they actually did their job. But what I find most disturbing is not that I am the flame for the crazy moths, but the fact that I am considered a threat by security guards. Could I be the next musical uni bomber….I mean I do love Rent. What happens when it goes off Broadway? Will my musical bomber within flip, unleash, and start stalking original cast members…is this all I can hope for the future?