Aisle Of Wit

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No Triggers Were Pulled. At Least Yesterday.

Yesterday could have been a monumental disaster for me and my silent pleas for normalcy.  My precious quaran-tine Barbara Ferrer had set it as a drop-dead date for reinstituting mandatory indoor masking, which based upon the way she now chooses to appear on zoom calls/press conferences she now seems to be a paid spokesperson for.  But instead, citing a bunch of statistics and charts and making inferences that the Los Angeles County agency she inexplicably still runs has access to “more updated” data, she announced that the mandate is on a “pause”, as those numbers have fallen below the aribtrary thresholds they have ordained for the resurrection of her quixotic cause.   One can only imagine the frowns and sneers she was making behind her hideous black face diaper and her sad, feckless eyes as she mournfully passed along the news of said pause.

She only made passing reference to the reality that as the clock ticked elected officials in several neighboring cities, including Beverly Hills, Long Beach and Pasadena, as well as leaders of local businesses, held press conferences of their own, in person and showing their faces, announcing that the cost, both financial and political, of enforcing such a law at this point in the ENdemic would be counterproductive and one they had no intention of supporting.

And earlier that day, 3000 miles away, new Yankee outfielder Andrew Benintendi stoked his own claim for his own timeline by dancing around the question of his reportedly imminent decision to be vaccinated.  It was revealed last week that Benintendi was indeed not yet jabbed, missing a road series in Toronto, where Canadian laws currently prevent anyone without a vaccine from competing.  The Yankees reportedly wavered on making a deal for him, but an injury to their star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, and a pressing need for an infusion of production in their lineup, overrode that concern.  The Yanks don’t play in Canada again until the end of September, in a series that may or not be of significance.  Benintendi ben-intends to make his decision by then.  Consider a blow struck for personal choice.

So, stared down by these reality checks, the indisputable fact that adults can make up their own damn minds about the honesty of the scientists who provide the confusing science we are Orwellianally exorted to obey blindly, Ferrer proverbially blinked, and at least for now, masking remains a “recommendation”, not a mandate.

Whew.

So I felt somewhat confident enough to have the guts to attend an in-person screening of a series of nominated film shorts last night, with my main obstacle being the possibility of facing That Person again.  That Person, yes, THAT one, has a friend whose short was nominated, and who I gave a modest amount of funding to support when said friend made the film.  The last time the potential of seeing That Person arose, I foolishly chose to try and make an amends with a token gift of my second glass of wine, for which I was “rewarded” with a $212 tab for her obese “manager” and their entire table of imbibers, and I was too damn nice to refuse to pay it.  In my mind, I had played out the possibility of causing a scene and trying to embarass That Person into paying at least some of it.

When I saw That Person stand up after the screening, as usual my heartbeat quickened and my breath grew short.  Yes, I’m ashamed to admit the mere sight of That Person still inexplicably overwhelms me.  And, G-d as my witness, to me That Person looked sensational.  (The picture below is deliberately blurry; but, believe me, in the moment, sensational was to me an understatement).   That Person stood up with the film’s writer/producer and their executive produceer for acknowledgement and accolade.  To my surprise, That Person took three times as long to address the crowd and offer random thoughts of gratitufe and praise than the film’s actual creative heart.  It actually bothered me that the creator allowed That Person to hog the spotlight in a moment that should have been theirs to savor.  That said, the creator knew eyes would be more likely to be fixated on That Person for obvious reasons, so that’s on them.

So as we filed out of the theatre, I saw the creator, with That Person tantalizingly inches away looking off in the other direction, the scent of their fragrance aromatically beckoning.   I had a “golden” opportunity to at last confront That Person with my wish for some sort of acknowledgement and, implausibly, an attempt to renew the friendship we once had that brought me from the brink of self-destruction to a far, far better physical place than I have ever experienced in my adult life.

But as I reflected on That Person’s rather callous usurping of the creator’s moment, I inhaled, walked right by despite the amazingly sweet aroma, and shook the creator’s hand and thanked ONLY the creator for their talented effort.  The creator stared blankly, surprised to see me but courteous nonetheless.

And at least this time, I didn’t pull the trigger, either.

At the crowded afterparty, That Person was milling around, and once again were I to give in to my burning desire I could have easily made my way across the room and had a confrontation.  I actually made small talk with a couple of extremely nice fellow staffers from the film who knew That Person, and allowed me to explain my “connection”.  For what it’s worth, they feigned understanding of my predicament and reassured me that having gratitude for That Person, let alone an affection, was entirely warranted and not as abnormal as That Person seems to continue to believe.  That $212 tab had just come in on my credit card statement, so the reminder of my sheer idiocy was fresh in my mind.

But again, in the spirit of the day, I chose not to be pull the trigger.

Besides, for all I knew, That Person may have been packing heat themselves, and is a good enough shot where they may have been tempted to pull  their own trigger.  And I didn’t want to ruin what was otherwise a very pleasant evening.

So I walked away.  Sobbing, to be sure.  Still recalling their scent and allure.  But, financially and, to some extent, emotionally, intact.

I honestly have no idea, and minimal expectation, of when, if ever I may run into That Person again.  In the same city and industry, so long as mandates aren’t enforced and lives are to be lead, the possibility remains.  Besides, truth be told, I have a far, far better friend now who inspires me in ways I couldn’t ever dream of, and that truly special friend despises the fact I still even think of That Person.  When that friend found out about the $212 gaffe, that friend was exceptionally disappointed in me and hurt.  We didn’t speak for days, and that traumatized me way worse than That Person ever did.

I can’t bear the thought of upsetting my friend any further.

So I’ll make this public vow.  Any future contact is exclusively on my terms, where That Person acknowledges me with the respect and human kindness I deserve.  Then, and only then, I’ll pull whatever trigger is warranted, even if it’s simply opening my mouth.  And under no circumstances whatsoever will I divulge that this friend is in my life and matters far more than That Person ever did–or likely will.

If Barbara Ferrer can hold back, so can I.

Until next time…