The Guide Person
Wednesday night, we went to a birthday party for Dan Glosser, who works in the tv and music industry. We saw so many friends from Los Angeles! It didn't make me nostalgic for being in El Lay, but it made me really miss my friends who live there. It's hard maintaining friendships when you work in the biz.
The party was upstairs at a place called Angus McIndoe, a very hip Broadway area joint on West 44th. It was very loud and very happy. Joyful even. You cannot find anyone who has a negative opinion of Dan.
But that level of conversation/noise is difficult for me. It makes me dizzy and I have to sit down. I know that sounds stupid, but it's such a cacophony, my senses get overwhelmed. Also, I feel very awkward trying to engage in chitchat. Jim is so good at it because he remembers faces and names. I remember them, but not on the spot. I kind of panic and freak out that I'm not holding up my end of the conversation. So, I sort of withdraw and make him do all the work.
I spied a table against the wall, in the corner, under the video screen slide show of Dan posing with lots and lots of celebrities and friends. (The only problem was that every time someone start looking at the video screen, I thought they were looking at me, and they'd be smiling, so I'd wonder if they knew me. Then, I'd kind of half acknowledge them, so they wouldn't feel bad if it really was me they were saying hello to, but we could both keep our dignity if they were a total stranger.)
I sat there watching the room and several friends came over. John McDaniel, who's musical directing the hot new show coming onto Broadway, "Catch Me If You Can," came over and we hugged, speaking of universally loved human beings. Jerry Sternbach was there. Jim Caruso.
Suddenly, a woman, dressed fabulously in feathers, came over, leading a friend, a man with a guide dog. They saw that the rest of the seats of the table were empty, so they scootched in and the dog, a German shepherd, was at my feet. I looked down and noticed he was trying to pick up a toothpick. So, grabbed it.
Then, idly, I started scratching his ears, and was told that I wasn't really supposed to do that, which I knew, but couldn't resist.
Turned out the guy is a composer and pianist for TV (and no, I didn't get his card), and we talked about the state of music, and our backgrounds. His is jazz. I told him that Jim and I were best friends with the late, great Stan Freeman, but that I wasn't raised with jazz, so couldn't play it very well.
"No matter what song I write, it always starts out sounding country," I told him, "and then I try to bend it a little to help it fit elsewhere."
He said, "No, you're just finding the soul in the song. You have to start from a place that's real. Every thing I write starts out jazz, and then I have to stretch it to fit the occasion."
I was glad he was a good talker, and could lead the conversation. I also helped him with the finger food when his companion went off to schmooze. I did not mind. There were handsome, lithe waiter/dancer/actors in black t-shirts passing it around, and my pianist friend enthusiastically ate everything offered. I had fun describing the food, getting it from the server and then placing it in his hands so that he could easily eat it.
I was a guide person!