So here we are, in my head, on December 5, 2010:
ME: I want to do this, but I don’t want to do this. I’m a little afeared.
MYSELF: I know.
ME: I’ve always wanted to meet Steve Martin.
MYSELF: You love Steve Martin.
ME: Everyone loves Steve Martin. This is more than that. This is... this is...
MYSELF: You can’t win this, you know. This word game. There’s no correct, non-creepy word for your feelings about Steve Martin.
ME: I’m not a stalker. I’m not crazy.
ME: It’s cold outside. It’s the festive season. My hair needs cutting. All that equals cute red hat.
MYSELF: You have to choose your words even more carefully if you’re in a hat. Because you’re hat girl now. He’ll go to sign your copy of An Object of Beauty and glance up at you and you’ll be lucky if he doesn’t just write “hat hat hat crazy hat hat best wishes.”
ME: I’m not crazy, and I’m not creepy. I’m a fan, yes, but there’s no “-anatic” after it. I’ve just been very heavily influenced and inspired by him and his work, as a performer and a would-be writer.
MYSELF: Golly. “Heavily influenced.” Everyone loves a gal who talks so sexy like that.
ME: Shut up.
MYSELF: What are you going to say when he signs your book? “Big fan?”
ME: Shut up.
MYSELF: “I love your work?” “You’re really great?” He’s a smart guy, you know. Anything you say is going to sound idiotic.
ME: Why do you say that?
MYSELF: Because you don’t have a great track record.
ME: I’ve met plenty of celebrities I admire and it’s all been fine.
MYSELF: Kevin Kline.
ME: Don’t name-drop.
MYSELF: That was an embarrassing encounter. It’s a good thing he had that Falstaff beard to hide most of his expression.
ME: I don’t think he liked me in the show he’d just seen me in.
MYSELF: Did you have to open with the fact that you’d just been watching Dave the night before on TNT?
ME: But that was true. I happened to come across it and watch it yet again and while I did I thought about how much I’d love him to come see me in the show someday because he’s an actor I admire... and then the very next night, there he is. Don’t you think that’s a nifty little ice-breaker?
MYSELF: Did you have to imply that TNT was practically the Dave Channel?
ME: I didn’t mean it in a bad way. And you’d think that would make him happy knowing he’d get all those SAG residuals.
MYSELF: He appeared to be thoroughly unimpressed by your entire being.
ME: I was nervous.
MYSELF: My point exactly. Kevin Kline’s just an actor. You’ve got Mister Steve Martin sitting right there, he of the zillion hyphens. There’s nothing he has set out to do that he has not succeeded wildly in doing. Even his hands are more talented than yours. Master banjoist trumps puppeteer.
ME: I could play the Frank Oz card.
MYSELF: You are not going to play the Frank Oz card.
ME: Why not?
MYSELF: Frank might owe him money. And I thought you didn’t like to name-drop.
ME: Plus, I guess telling someone that he’s influenced a puppeteer might not be a compliment if that person is averse to puppets.
MYSELF: Which covers most people. Everyone else fears them.
ME: I have actually dreaded this moment, do you know that? Because I’m going to finally encounter this genius, and then find myself heading right into Cliché County via Lame Street. “Big fan.”
MYSELF: No one put a gun to your head. You can leave the line.
ME: No. The 92nd Street Y thing is too fresh. He’ll think I’m asking for a refund. That’s worse than “Big fan.” That’s “Big selective fan.”
MYSELF: You shouldn’t say anything. Just say hi and thanks.
ME: No. I have to say something. I could tell him that I’ve auditioned with a monologue from his Picasso at the Lapin Agile...
MYSELF: And say what when he asks if it helped you get any roles?
ME: ...it did not...
MYSELF: Just say hi and thanks. I’m going to go think about lunch.
ME: But this is a big moment.
MYSELF: For you, not for him. He is just trying to sell his book. Just say hi and thanks.
ME: But... hearing him read from his book reminded me of how his writing always makes me want to write.
MYSELF: You are wearing a hat.
ME: But... hearing him read from his book reminded me of how effortlessly he writes, and how smart his writing is, and how intimidating it is to even think of little me writing anything near as intelligent as that.
MYSELF: You are not a Writer. You are a “writer?”.
ME: I still have the clipping of that New York Times Magazine piece he wrote back in 1996 that made me want to do essays.
MYSELF: Which one?
ME: The... Something... It was brilliant. The Nature of Something and its Antecedents. The one with the Hollywood actors and the “why do we do this, this science?”
MYSELF: And you’ll say that to him verbatim like that?
ME: I photocopied the entire Cruel Shoes book when I was in college.
ME: It cost a quarter a page at the library. It’s not like I stole it. It was out of print.
MYSELF: Hat. Creepy. Criminal.
ME: There he is. He has a hat.
MYSELF: It is on the table, not on his head.
ME: It’s my turn.
MYSELF: You used to encounter fans. What would you want someone to say to you?
ME: “You are so good that I want to hire you and pay you handsomely for you to be in shows and movies and TV and you do not need to lose weight.”
MYSELF: Just say hi and thanks.
ME: Just go think about lunch. I’m doing this.
MYSELF: Well, we’re having chicken. How did it go?
ME: I told him that I found his work --
MYSELF: NO! Tell me you did not say “his work!”
ME: Hold on, it’s okay. I said that I found his writing both inspiring and intimidating because he’s so smart.
MYSELF: ... and his response was?
ME: Um, well first he smiled and said “oh no, we don’t want that.” I think that was when he heard me say “intimidating,” and then he said that he wasn’t really that smart and I said oh yes he was and... I guess that was it... and I said happy holidays... and... he didn’t really look at me, so... I mean, he was nice...
MYSELF: So you told a writer that his work intimidated you?
ME: Oh, but I didn’t mean it like that. I meant as a writer.
MYSELF: When you comment on a writer’s writing, and he doesn’t know you write - or, “write?” - he presumes that you mean it intimidates you as a reader.
ME: But... oh noooo...
MYSELF: And so you just told this man you admire so much that to you, hat girl, his erudite tales are just too hard for you to comprehend, you, the soft-brained woman who would just prefer him to be funny in movies. You just can’t handle his writing. It intimidates you. You, the pathetic would-be intellectual who uses four-syllable words like “intimidates” without regard for the power of that word. His writing is too much for you. That is what you said, crazy hat girl. That is what you said to the brilliant Mister Steve Martin. You essentially told him that you are an idiot in a hat who liked when he pulled things out of his fly on Johnny Carson but his big words about art and other things make you go “uh-oh.” That is what you told him. That is what he heard. He may not have written it, but he was thinking “hat hat hat idiot crazy hat hat best wishes.”
ME: Oh, God.
MYSELF: Hi and thanks. I told you. Hi and thanks.
ME: What do I do now?
MYSELF: You do nothing. You don’t speak of it. You tell no one.
ME: Can I write about it?
ME: Even if my pain and mortification and let’s-point-and-laugh stupidity brings others laughter in these trying economic times?
ME: Even if my experience can be a cautionary tale given as a holiday gift?
ME: Even if I just put it on my blog?
MYSELF: Oh. That you can do. No one will see it.
Yes indeed. Welcome to me. And myself.