Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 is a periodic series chronicling my experiences and observations as a New Yorker. Today’s post – No. 35, if you’re keeping score at home – details a day in my life in New York City.
December 19 started with twins and closed with a Yankee.
First, the twins.
A friend’s brother asked me two Wednesdays ago if I could help him on a film shoot in Chelsea. Details were slim but I said yes. I met with two other guys roped into this charade the next morning at a Starbucks. We chatted about the humiliation to come as we sipped overpriced coffee concoctions. The more time passed I wrestled with an uneasy feeling akin to waiting to sit in a dentist’s chair. After an hour in Starbucks I relocated to a building three or four doors down, took the elevator up several floors, and waited some more.
When the director summoned me I still had no idea. A dozen or so people were sitting in the back of the box-like room. I heard a woman’s voice calling me to the front. A 5-foot-10 brunette whose hair, figure, and smile flashed the word model in big, bold letters told me she liked my navy blue sweater. I mumbled something in an ancient tongue as a camera fixated on us. She asked if I’d like to trade numbers. It hit me at that moment – a ha, this is the humiliation. I played along. She told me to wait while she searched for her phone. She looked in one corner of the room, then another. No dice. A voice from the back – a man, if memory serves – announced they had found it.
A second woman entered the picture. Not just any woman. The actor’s identical twin.
I roared in laughter born of relief. TWINS?!?! I exclaimed. They spoke as one, inquiring about my plans for the night. What are your plans for this afternoon, I replied. I covered one eye with my right hand and then did the same with my left hand. Yes, they were real. I heard people off-camera laughing, and then the director’s cut. From the time I walked in the door to the time I walked out lasted three, maybe four minutes.
I must have resembled a tourist as I walked out of the building, a big, dumb look of wonder greeting all who met my gaze.
It’s worth noting the reason I met the twins remains a tightly guarded secret. Don’t be surprised if I end up in a Doublemint commercial.
Now, the Yankee.
Mariano Rivera strolled into the Intel pop-up store in the Nolita neighborhood to the familiar sounds of Metallica’s “Enter the Sandman”, shaking hands and smiling at well-wishers. I hated seeing him enter games when he wore the Yankees’ pinstripes. It meant the hated team – the team that spent more money than god – would more often than not win. Rivera’s cut fastball, a pitch whose violent dance simultaneously bats and hearts, saved more games (652) than any other pitcher in MLB history.
Rivera’s genuineness, humility, and self-awareness during his question-and-answer session won me over. For almost an hour he touched on well-traveled topics such as his decision to retire, how he found his cutter, and the thrill of winning five World Series. He credited The Lord for every facet of his career, of which he seemed awestruck. I would be jaded and dishonest if I said the experience did not leave me feeling inspired or touched.
One story, in particular, stood out. On his retirement tour Rivera met with ballpark employees and opposing fans to thank them for supporting baseball. How could I root against a man who radiated goodness like that? Rivera made me a believer, even if I am still a Yankees denier.