Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Bill Murray Incident

Here is an 11 month old story for my 7 month old blog:

At Sundance this year, I attended a film industry party I had no business attending.

Prior to the party, there was a screening of a movie, Get Low. Just before the movie screened, the director brought out the cast including Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray. When Bill limped on stage with one crutch, a black suit and black hat . . . my heart stopped. Knowing I would be attending the party afterward, I could feel the voice buried just above my stomach whisper, "uh oh."

Yes, as it turns out- I am hot for Bill Murray. We all grew up with him on screen, no need to revisit his career. One could say he molded my sense of humor. He and my parents fostered my comedy . . . like big, porcelain Russian dolls. That said, the very distinct tingling I felt in all my primary female organs was new for Bill Murray. I have no memory of being at all sexually attracted to him before this moment.

Here he was on stage, everyone roared with applause, and he seemed uncomfortable with the praise.

Later, during the Q&A, he was gracious towards crew, witty with every answer, polite and one could see even from an 800 seat auditorium, that the other cast members respected him, even liked him. My facebook status read, "Bill Murray is poetry in my heart." He was. Amend that: Is.

Fast forward 3 hours, I enter the party wearing a sweater dress I bought during Victoria's Secret semi-annual sale. My feet were wet from snow and I already had two pints of beer in my otherwise empty stomach. I stretched out in front of the fireplace to warm my feet and discuss the business of independent film with a reporter from Variety.

They were serving only quarter glasses of champagne, so I found myself getting up a lot to help myself.

Then, from the fireplace I saw Bill enter wearing a string of red chili pepper lights blinking all around him. My heart sped up. Being a girl, I would bide my time properly. There is an art form to approaching true love, you don't just jump into it as rock songs would have you believe.

I met the director, very kind. We had some Annie Hall banter. Then I met the producer, who just walked up to introduce himself. We had a nice conversation scuffed with some sexual innuendo. Upon our second and more buzzed conversation, I mentioned I was a big Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek fan (100% true). He said, "Who would you rather meet, Bill or Sissy?" Sissy was making her way to the door. I told him I hate to choose, but Bill.

He said, "Bill would love you so much if you walked up to him and held his plate at the buffet table for him." He had recently hurt his knee and was struggling with one crutch. I am ashamed I didn't think of this first.

I walked up to the buffet and picked up a plate. "Need some help?" I offered. Bill was taller than me, which always feels good for a tall girl. I felt myself stretching upward for eye contact. He turned over his shoulder and looked at me. A small smile. "You're cute. Yes, thank you." I was smiling, the type of smile that makes a family photo ten times better than a yearbook photo. The first thing I noticed was how soft his lips looked. I could already sense how they would feel all over my body before any food was put on his plate.

He instructed me on what he wanted, and I had locked into assistant mode. Though I was recently fired from being an assistant, I am good at it. "Very healthy!" I praised.

He then said, "Want to get married?" I said, "Absolutely, when's the wedding?" We went back and forth on it. I called myself his girlfriend and he corrected me, "Fiance." I quipped, "Apologies, of course 'Fiance.'" Bill paused, gazed then smiled. Butterflies dance. This was all over the steamed vegetables.

I walked him to his spot at a bar. He was getting settled in his seat. My buzz was FLARING so please be forgiving of the following events.

I introduced my friend, who excused himself then shot me a look. What was that expression: fear, excitement, wonder? Who knows . . . he knew I was amped up for Bill since before the screening.

I then turned to Bill and said, "Since you are on crutches, is the Aunt Jemima treatment out of the question?" I turned 30 degrees toward the bar to motion my behind for the punch in my joke. This is where I came to know the "Bill Beat." Every time I made a joke, Bill would stop, look at me and then smile. This happened in that exact order the few times I did speak to him. What does it mean? I don't know. I made Bill Murray smile more than three times, that's the jackpot for me.

I returned to our nuptial plans. Me, "I live with lots of animals. I hope you aren't allergic . . . dogs? Cats?"

He said, "Dogs, I am ok. Cats, I have a problem."

I could tell I was losing him to the broccoli now. He asked I sit down and talk to his friend Cary, immediately next to him at the bar.

I moved to Cary and introduced myself. He said he lived in Vegas. I said, "My sister lives in Vegas, do you want me to set you up?" He said, "Yeah, does she look like you?" I said, "No." I thought about what I should follow that up with but came up a little empty, so I just ended that part of the conversation once he took my phone number.

We chatted. I must have been slurring because the two things I remember hearing from Cary the most was "Calm down." and "Drink some water." I am a class act.

Once I obediently left Bill's side to entertain Cary, I noticed a flurry of other, less attractive women, surrounding Bill. I lost my spot in the light with him. I do better with one-on-one's than the group "date" scenario reality TV mercilessly invented.

Fuck those bitches.

I expressed my feelings quite candidly to Cary, who must now think I am insane. I kept insisting I was far more funny than any of these groupies. (I still stand by that)

The evening becomes a blur around this point. I know I anchored myself to Cary for a while, and felt my feet dancing on the floor, eager to expend the alcohol sugar fizzling in my veins.

I remember talking more to the producer, more to the director . . . more with my friend. Each time running for more champagne.

I remember going up to the service table and introducing myself to the bartender and the security guard. Ryan and Jason, they both said. I proudly announced, "I was in love with a Ryan and a Jason at one time" pointing with the same finger wrapped around yet another delicious glass of champagne.

The producer said there was an after-party but he expected something in return for the invite. I told him I was on my period. He laughed and asked if I was serious. I said, "Quite serious." This conversation then made its way to Cary, who laughed and asked if I was serious. And then to some random guy who told me he could smell it. I asked HIM if he was serious. He said no.

I remember rushing up to Cary and making a crack about Asian vaginas. This sounds so crass on paper, but I must assure you . . . its kinda funny. Cary laughed out loud. I could see the fillings in the back of his mouth. He said, "You're funny. You know that's Bill's humor. You two have the same sense of humor."

The sound of these arranged words echoed in my head. Of course. Bill is my soul mate.

I had my eye on Bill throughout the evening. The same group of plump, plain women surrounded him and politely chuckled at his conversation. So undeserving.

Again, I have no memory of most of the conversations I had that night. There is even a picture of me with the director and my friend on the internet, I have no memory of ever being taken.

The alcohol was soaking through us. The director showed me pictures of a Polish girl that broke his heart on his iPhone. The melancholy was taking hold.

Meanwhile, the party was changing, even building into a totally other kind of party. More people none of us knew.

I saw Bill alone by the fireplace. He was standing up. I felt the urgency to remind him I was there. Gracefully rushing over to him, I belted out a few witty lines about our love. I delivered my ballad with a straight face, but then followed it up with the batting of the eye lashes, the big smile, the slow swiveled pelvis.

I think I said, "I thought forever was going to start tonight." I know there must have been another sentence or more. 9 months later, I realized that's a line from a Bonnie Tyler song. I don't remember how or where we shook hands in this exchange . . . but our hands were joined.

I waited for him to bounce something funny off me or maybe even say, "Nice to meet you, goodbye." Nothing. The moment changed. My smile faded as I became very aware that he was staring right at me, still holding my hand.

His handshake was firm and confident, it wasn't loose or halfhearted. What I remember the most was the warmth. There was so much warmth around my hand, I couldn't tell where his hand started and mine stopped. He was still staring at me.

There was once a moment similar to this one. I was sober, working in retail and fell in love at first sight with a new manager. Yes, I said it: "Love at first sight." At the time, I was married and gave up on my naive romantic ambitions for stability and friendship. So when I met the new manager, time stopped. I felt his hand around mine, the warmth. I remember every freckle on his face. And in less than 3 minutes, my whole perspective on life and love spun into a new monster. Less than a year later, I would leave my husband for it.

I ended up having a 5 year long affair for this particular freckled, retail manager. It was the type of attraction you try to hold on to for the sake of magic.

Still nursing the broken heart from the above mentioned lover, here I was holding Bill's hand. It felt similar. Sure there is the celebrity, there is the champagne, there is the excitement and anticipation . . . all excuses the men in my life use too easily dampen my retelling.

The women in my life know what I am saying. It was a moment. In this moment, I wasn't thinking, "Bill and I are really going to get married." No. I thought, "I can touch the magic again."

And as that thought slipped over my head like a new, pretty dress, I found myself leaning in towards Bill's face. I have never leaned in for a kiss before. If I had, I was met so fast in the middle, there was barely notice of a reach.

I felt myself sway a little on my tip toes as I came closer to those soft lips . . . then Bill ducked out of the way. I regained myself immediately. Silence.

Cue the director walking up and announcing to the room, "SHE LOVES YOU!!" I don't remember my expression. The moment had died in labor. Bill laughed and whispered some joke in the director's ear. They both laughed.

I turned back into the room of people and found a corner to cry in. I cried like I was 7 yrs old. Thinking back, I couldn't pin point what triggered all the tears. Feeling rejected? Feeling mocked? Losing the magic? I really don't remember much but a blond woman bending down and saying, "It's not worth it, honey. Nothing is worth this many tears." You can always rely on strange women to give you the best advice in your worst condition.

I don't remember leaving the party. I remember snow and falling on snow banks like clean, soft bed sheets. I don't remember getting on the bus, but I remember jumping off in time to vomit outside.

I was still crying. My escort, a friend who was really just getting to know me during this last week, pulled me up and propelled me towards my hotel room. He complained I threw up on his gloves.

Around 5am, I suddenly woke up. Nauseous, smelly, still in my discounted sweater dress and my first thought being, "That was awesome."

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