This morning I passed by The Dakota, where Lauren Bacall had an apartment, and several reporters and cameramen were there, asking people who they thought lived in the building *something* about Lauren Bacall. I didn't really hear the question, but thought, "What am I, chopped liver? Don't you think I am fancy enough to reside in this glorious manse?"
If they did stop me and ask me a question, and if the question asked if I knew Ms. Bacall or ever had any contact with her, I already had a charming anecdote forming in my head with which to delight them, even though I never knew Ms. Bacall except on the *silver screen*.
I had heard that she wasn't the most approachable person on the Upper West Side, and in fact was known to sort of scowl and rebuff advances and even said something not so lovely to someone who recognized her. So, my story would have gone like this:
Several years ago I was on the corner of 72nd and Columbus, waiting for the light to change on my way to Central Park, and Ms. Bacall was right next to me. Her jaw was set, and she seemed a little miffed. I glanced at her and back at the light, hoping it would change already. She looked down at me and said, in a voice tinged with boredom and annoyance, "Please, just get it over with. Ask already." I turned to my left, up at her, and said, "Excuse me. Do I know you?" She looked down at me and said, "You're not going to ask if I am who you think I am?" I raised an eyebrow and said, "Should I?" She arched one of hers and said, "No", and went on her way.
Of course I would have wanted to add, "And that's how I became her best friend and wound up having lunch with her every Thursday for a decade," but I knew that would have been pushing it.
I wanted it to be believable, you see. But I was also relieved they didn't stop me, because I would have been compelled to tell this story, which would have delighted them so much that they would have wanted to use my clip on a memorial program, and I would have been mortified because my hair had suffered tremendously thanks to the misty drizzle.
When I was five or so, and thunder wasn't yet one of my favorite things, my mom told me it was just God rearranging his furniture. Other times she told me he was bowling. I knew this was bunkum because I didn't believe anyone named "God" would participate in such mundane activities. I did believe her, though, when she told me that, despite her tiny size, she used to be a lady wrestler, and her opponents were dinosaurs. And I believed her when she said she won, because there was no way T-Rex could have with those tiny, tiny arms.