Mostly sunny, milder, Farrah Fawcett

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I've been working at my present job for two and a half years now—if you overlook a brief absence during the summer to recklessly pursue alternate employment, that is. After returning here in August, I fell quickly back into the old familiar habits. (In many ways, it felt as if my three months at Vindigo were a strange dream, from which I awakened to discover myself in an old changed world.) One of the habits I must recultivate is that of noting the found poetry every day on the A&E Biography sign.

When I leave the office and head south on Broadway, I see the electric sign atop a tall building somewhere in midtown. The sign offers a weather forecast and then announces the subject of that evening's Biography episode on A&E. Sometimes this results in startling poetry. Other times the effect is simply weird. Other times it's more matter-of-fact, like last evening's forecast:

I must keep notes more assiduously. Were I more cabalistic, I would study these notes religiously for clues to the underlying structure of the universe.

Speaking of Farrah Fawcett, I saw her up close nearly two years ago. I was hanging out at the annual Lincoln Center Xmas tree-lighting ceremony with my friend Geoff. We were there to see the Sesame Street Muppets perform, like the hundreds of other small children on the plaza, and to see two thirds of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. Geoff and I were standing toward the back of the crowd, and I noticed a stunning older blonde woman walk past me. A few minutes later she walked past me again, going the other way. She looked fabulous, dressed simply but expensively in warm clothes.

Just after she walked past me the third time, Geoff nudged me and said, "Hey, that's Farrah Fawcett."

And I realized he was right. Damn.

Speaking of which, I had seen Ryan O'Neal in the same neighborhood some months earlier. I was walking to the subway station at Columbus Circle and somehow got trapped in the pedestrian traffic behind a trio of companions—a husky but wrinkling fellow with sandy hair, an African-American gentleman of the same age, and an attractive young blonde woman in a black dress.

I ended up descending the stairs into the subway station behind the threesome, but when they were halfway down the stairs a young bohemian on his way up stopped the black fellow and told him gushingly how much his book had meant to him. "Thank you very much," said the fellow graciously, and the starstruck kid continued up the stairs.

Then the sandy-haired fellow turned around right in front of me, spread his arms, and said, "Ryan O'Neal? Love Story?"

And so it was. Damn.

His companions laughed, and the three of them made their way down to the platform. I don't think I'll ever forget the way that pathetic attempt at ego-salving made me cringe.

My only regret is that I didn't catch the name of the writer so I could look up his book. If I ever run into Ryan O'Neal again, I think I'll ask him.

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William Shunn

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This page contains a single entry by William Shunn published on November 1, 2000 11:27 AM.

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