Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Overheard, Columbus Circle Edition

The longer I’m here, the more likely it seems I’ll write about Jersey City, and not Manhattan. I like the smallness, the not-quite-hip-ness of my little neighborhood. But one does overhear things in New York, too. Today, I had an earful. I tried to be a polite eavesdropper--I certainly was a distracted latte-sipper.

I got off the train at Columbus Circle and headed into Starbucks for a latte, found a good table, and sat down. Facing me was a handsome, familiar-looking man, fifty-ish. I decided that, since this was Starbucks and not, say, Café Gray, it was likely that he was just a Hollywood-type (expensive gray t-shirt, olive khaki slacks, two different slick cases containing organizers of some kind), dressed to look like a handsome, familiar-looking man. Whomever he was waiting for was late.

Mr. Late walked in, young enough to be a son, wearing a plush headband with lemon yellow and pink bunny ears. (He took them off pretty fast.) He starts talking about “the meeting.” It turns out that they were planning their upcoming meeting to pitch a sit-com idea. Once Mr. Late calms down, Familiar-looking starts coaching him:
Familiar-looking: I want you to understand that this isn’t scripted at all, so we should just be ourselves, be casual. If you want to interrupt me or add something, you should absolutely feel free to do so. I want them to have a chance to see how we work together. I’ll feed you lines, like, well, Ned has such interesting parents… And then you could jump in. Wll, how would you describe your parents? (I think he found the bunny ears a little worrying, too.)

Ned, aka Mr. Late, says something I can’t quite catch about their being the perfect combination of something.

Familiar-looking: Great! That’s a perfect line! Then, I’ll say something about how important it is that it’s set at Stuyvesant and what a great reputation the high school has, and how it’s so multicultural and you could just jump in with, well, what was it like for you to be there?

It was actually very sweet and enthusiastic and irresistible to listen to. The men were a little desperate, a little nervous, very excited about the possibility of some cable tv “one camera show. I don’t do three-camera” and the possibility of bringing Ned’s fantastic book of stories to television. So, I googled “Ned” “Stuyvesant” and “short stories” and got here. Has anyone read these?

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