Sometimes one just feels the need to share an anecdote:
Some years back, I was doing a bit of work for friend on the lower east side of Manhattan, when I noticed a film crew had invaded his street. Movie-making is hardly unusual in New York City. But for an entire production crew to set up shop right in front of your home, takes a bit of getting used to, even in the Big Apple.
The next thing I knew an actual scene was being shot right across the street. I really couldn't make out what was going on, so I asked one of my friend's neighbors, who was watching with marginal interest, what the story was. She said that it was, in fact, Julia Roberts, and I eventually l learned that the film was the movie version of Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir, "Eat, Pray Love", which I hadn't read, but had certainly heard of. The scene being shot involved Julia sitting on the stairs leading to her apartment, and then walking into a waiting car.
The film crew had apparently been shooting a number of takes of this, rather short, scene. I watched for a while, and when the car stopped pulling up, and Julia had disappeared, I decided it was a good time to make a dash for a few items I needed to buy a block or so over, in order to finish the job I had come to do. Now, the production crew was massive: with cranes and booms literally taking up the entire street. And they let it be known that if anyone in the neighborhood wanted to go anywhere, they would have to go around the crew, which in my case meant going about 3 blocks out of my way.
But, since they had seemed to finish that particular scene, and nothing was happening on the set, I figured it was a good time to make my mad, 50-yard dash to the corner. Hey, I wouldn't be bothering anyone... And, after all, they didn't own the street... I pay my taxes, etc...
So, off I went. It was just a matter of moving fast, avoiding the overhanging booms, the cables covering the ground and about 50 crew members whom I had decided were just in the middle of taking a little break. And I did, in fact, make it quite neatly to the sidewalk across the street, where the scene had just been shot. So, I thought to myself, "Well, this is going well... See, no problem."
But, as I was almost to the street corner when, out of the corner of my eye, I make out a pair of legs, seemingly attached to a pair of knees, bent, in a sitting position. My eyes made their way up a bit to a face belonging to the knees, and it became pretty clear, pretty fast, that they belonged to Ms. Roberts. Ms. Roberts was indeed in full make-up, which at the moment meant a goodly amount of smeared mascara, owing to an awful lot of tears, all over her face. And, up until this moment, I don't believe she had been crying about some lunatic zipping in front of her on his way to the hardware store. And, in the process, bringing to a screeching halt the making of a $100 million dollar movie, particularly at the precise moment she was in a particularly emotional and (I imagine) demanding scene for her. All in all, I think she handled it quite well. She simply paused, lifted her head ever so slightly, looking up at me now careening about 8 inches directly in front of her, registering a rather bewildered, "What... the... f---?"
At this point, I fully expected a bombardment of abuse from the assembled production crew. But when I looked up, all I saw was about 20 people on various cranes and poles, watching in stunned amazement. But without anyone yelling, (a perfectly reasonable) "Yo buddy, excuse us?" I guess either they couldn't believe their eyes, or just assumed that I was scurrying along at a sufficient clip that, if they just kept quiet, they'd be done with me soon enough.
Well, I did keep going and was pretty soon around the corner, at my hardware store. I bought what I needed to buy and about twenty minutes later, headed back. I fully intended to avoid that particular street in any event. But, that decision was further facilitated by the presence of 5 or 6 crew members officially stationed (I'm sure) on the corner, madly and desperately waving me away, as soon as I came within 50 feet of the entrance to that street.
Soon afterwards I did come across a copy of "Eat, Pray, Love" at my neighborhood bookstore. I opened it up and read in the introduction that Ms. Gilbert had changed everyone's name in the book except one fellow she had met during her several month long stay at an ashram in India, and became particularly close to...
Trust me: I'm not the one.
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