Friday, May 16, 2008

My Time On The Edge

Anyone recognize the allusion in my title? If you came of age in the '80s, then I'm guessing you do. It's paraphrased from a scene in St. Elmo's Fire, in which Rob Lowe reassures a despairing Demi Moore (who for some reason is trying to commit suicide by sitting naked with the windows open) that it's not unusual to make dramatic gestures right after college, and that this, too, shall pass. "This is our time on the edge," he tells her, and at the time, it sounded like poetry.

One of the stars of that ensemble pic was Mare Winningham, who felt like an impostor to me. In those days, they kept lumping her into roll call for the Brat Pack, but her credentials seemed shaky at best. But I do remember her very fondly from that movie, especially the scene where she tells Rob Lowe (wearing her nightgown, I believe) that she loves having her own peanut butter and her own jelly in her own apartment--I could relate then, and I can relate now. I could also relate that she was prepared to have sex with Rob Lowe even though she was a virgin and knew he didn't care about her--we're talking about Rob Lowe, after all, who was so dazzlingly pretty in St. Elmo's Fire that he even made the roach clip in his hair look cool.

I really have no idea what Mare (how do you pronounce that?) has been doing since but I know what she was doing this morning. That's right, Readers. Get your scoop here. Mare was buying a bagel sandwich at my absolute favorite bagel place in San Diego (any self-respecting New Yorker needs that qualifier), Big City Bagels. In fact, I opened the door for her as she was coming out. Did I do that because I get all star-struck and tongue-tied around celebrities? Well, I do, but that's not why. I opened the door because I'm a nice person. I open the door for everyone, and I check to make sure I'm not closing the door on people behind me.

It wasn't until her radiant "Thank you!" (almost sung) and her swish past me that I recognized her. She was gone, but in my mind's eye I saw her lemon blonde bob, preppily tied back with a scarf, and those crinkled brown eyes. She looked young and fresh, but then, I would say that, since she's probably not much older than me.

After I ordered my bagels, I asked the cute trio of bagel girls, "Did I just open the door for a famous person?" It sounded outlandish, once out in the air. But the freckled one gasped, and said "Yes! I knew it!" They were all a-twitter, but didn't know her name, so like a total grandma I explained, "You're all too young to remember her, but she was in St. Elmo's Fire." The freckled one got all excited, and the tall one who'd waited on me said "Damn! I miss everything good!" I suddenly recalled that Mare is starring in The Glass Menagerie at the Old Globe right now, so it makes sense she's in town.

Anyway, the encounter reminded me of something that happened in 7th grade. I was totally ga-ga over Frank Hinman (Frank, if you're out there--have a good summer, and hope we have some classes together next year) and he sat down in my desk to flirt with Stacy Rau while I was sharpening my pencil. When I came back, he glanced at me, flirty smile still on his face, and asked "Am I in your seat?" I tried to speak (a simple "Uh-huh" would have worked) but no sound came out. I put my pencil on the desk, and we both watched it roll off and land in his shoelace. Without thinking (I was no longer capable of thought) I reached down and--perhaps because I was shaking--managed to get the pencil tangled into the bow of his lace to the point where he reached down and yanked it out himself with mild impatience.

My point is, I wasn't always a klutzy moron when I was in 7th grade. I could usually be counted on to place pencils on my desk without creating an incident. I just couldn't function normally around Frank Hinman.

And usually, that's how I am around famous people. When David and I visited the set of The West Wing (my sister worked on the lot at the time) we met Allison Janney, and I have no idea what I said to her, but I know it was incoherent and intellectually suspect. I feel sort of tickled pink that today I didn't recognize my '80s icon until it was too late for me to do anything ridiculous. In fact, I know I was both graceful and polite.

How unusual.


Caroline said...

Hey! I remember Mare. :) And I know exactly what you mean about her. She didn't quite fit in. I mostly remember her from a Very Special After School Special about drunk driving, though.

I haven't met many celebrities, but I know I'm a dork around them from the way I all but fled from Robin Williams late one evening on campus at Berkeley. He said hi, I gaped, dust flew. ;)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I think Mare has been keeping busy making Lifetime movies. I've always liked her.

Anonymous said...

I once met Jean Stapleton to whom I said "Baby endive [which I, of course pronounced ahn-deev] with chevre?" This was not such an odd thing to say since I was serving hors d'oeuvres to her at the retirement community where I was working. She was performing in town & for some reason I never understood, had come to see the old people.

But even more exciting is that my partner got to hold Ani DiFranco's guitar one time. I don't think she said anything, though, which is exactly what I would have said, too.

The Wades said...

Hey, I left a comment on this post last week--I guess it didn't save???!!! I hope all is OK with you. Maybe you're off having a fun vacation. :)

BTW, I loved this post! It made me laugh. My big star sighting of this past year is seeing Flavor Flave at the ABQ airport adorned with his lovely clocks. Silly. stuff!

Anonymous said...

St. Elmo's Fire... the first "R" rated movie I saw. Was scarred by that shower scene. Didn't know quite what was going on, but it seemed the height of depravity, and I was alarmed that someone might expect similar behavior from me one day. I expect if I watched it now, it would seem quite tame! :) Lix

suebdo said...

Mare Winningham - You're post inspired a procrastination celebration of IMDB searching. Interesting factoids ... Mare (albeit looking/sounding ultra WASPy) is a nice Jewish girl AND dated Val Kilmer for 3 years in high-school. So ... for next time, now you have something to say "Fancy meeting a nice Jewish girl like you in a bagel shop like this ... How was having Val Kilmer as your locker lover?"