All this driving left lots of time for thinking. 'Thinking and driving, it's worse than drinking and driving.' That's from Burn This by Lanford Wilson. Or, I think it is. It can't be the actual quote, though, because you have to think when you drive. I think the quote is actually, "Thinking and drinking is worse than drinking and driving." That makes much more sense doesn't it? Although, I think drinking and driving is worse that drinking and thinking because you can't hurt someone just drinking and thinking. Or, maybe you can.
I love that play, Burn This. It was originally written as a vehicle for John Malkovich who stared in the premier at Circle Rep. I saw it years later in 2003, at Signature Theatre with Edward Norton. Such a good production - a 4 person cast and everyone was great. Well, Catherine Keener wasn't my favorite but I'm not sure if it was because Lanford Wilson didn't write the character well or that it was Ms. Keener's first time on stage.
Edward Norton was fabulous of course but then I think Edward Norton is good in everything. He's in my top 5 of celebrities who I'm allowed to date if he knocks on my door. Have you heard of this? You can have a list of up to 5 celebrities, who, if they knock your door, your significant other has to allow you to go out with that person. I know, silly juvenile stuff. But it's fun. David Bowie is also in my top 5, but you probably knew that.
Not that I'd actually say anything if Edward Norton knocked on my door; in fact I'd probably faint. Even if I met him casually, I'm sure I'd just stand there looking dumb. I'd love to be one of those people who can meet a celebrity and say something memorable but that's just not me. If I met Edward Norton, I'd stand there dumbstruck, turn beet red, and rush for the bathroom.
I know this because I did meet a celebrity once: David Sedaris, the humorist and author. I just love his books. He was appearing at a venue about an hour from my house so at the last minute I decided to go. I brought one of his books with me because the last time I had seen him he did a book signing after the gig. My plan was to have him sign my book and I'd mention something funny he had said that night during the reading and strike up a conversation.
In my mind, I'd say something really witty and he'd laugh and we'd get to talking. Maybe we'd even be friends. He might invite me to France to meet Hugh, his partner. Hey, I had an hour's drive to work on this fantasy.
But when I got to the venue, he was signing books BEFORE the event. What??? Not to be detered, I got in line. He talked a lot with the person in front of me but I figured I'd come up with something really, really witty to say. So when I held my book out to him, guess what I said?
"Can you make it out to Kate?"
Yeah, I know, not so much with the witty.
He politely asked if I was with anyone that night and I said, "No." So he wrote, "To Kate, my lonely friend." And I, wishing to say something, anything funny, said, "But I'm not lonely."
It was about that time that I started looking for the bathroom.
He held the book out firmly with eyes that said, "It's time to leave." Crushed, I took the book, and made my way to my seat. I started listening to the reading around the second story. It took me that long to convince myself that everyone in the audience wasn't staring at me and silently snickering. Actually, the stories were really good and before long I found myself laughing along with everyone else.
On the way home, though, I did some thinking and driving. I was glad that I went to the reading alone--despite Mr. Sedaris' comment--because I did not need anyone to witness my flailing in the face of fame.
And, I have to admit, it doesn't bother me that Edward Norton has no idea where I live.