Fifteen Minutes of Fame
-- Juliette Lewis (as Mallory Knox in Natural Born Killers)
I met a friend at a brewery downtown last night. This one, which I mentioned before, was converted from an old Catholic school. I passed through the gap in the tall, wooden fence by the parking lot through powdery snow much too cold to think about melting and past two small but angry fires captive in pits under metal screens. The bartender fed pieces of dry pine to each of them under the stars, looking up at me and saying hello as I entered the courtyard. I felt as if I was in the middle of a wintry scene from The Chronicles of Narnia. I smiled a little too shyly and quickened my pace. Anybody who drank beer in 16-degree weather without a football game in front of them was out of their tree, I thought.
I opened the oversized wooden door to the small cottage that looks as if it could have been a garage or some sort of outbuilding at one time. Another more serious fire blazed in the belly of a cast iron stove, filling the place with warmth. As I made my way past the narrow bar and a couple tables surrounded by beer sipping, cigar smoking patrons, the conversation abruptly ceased, and I felt eyes on me, making me wonder if I had something hanging from the tip of my nose.
Once I found my friend and our usual table in the back of the place, I threw myself into savoring some specialty red wine served in a fat glass that filled my palm perfectly, gazing at the snow behind the building through panes of leaded glass. Music that caused my thoughts to drift to the antics of the Manson Family poured from the speakers around us, thick with some type of jovial but sinister-sounding type of organ. I suddenly pined for the knee-high go-go boots collecting dust in my closet.
It was then that the face of a strange-looking man, whom I would best describe as Bruce Vilanch's twin, suddenly came around my left side, orbiting past my ear and coming to a stop a foot from me like a furry, gibbous moon. A small knit hat strained to remain atop his head.
He said, "Yup, you sure do look like her!" And then he disappeared again.
My friend and I looked at each other, blinking in a couple seconds of silence, and I then laughed, explaining that I get this all of the time. I apparently look like a lot of women. I have been stopped on the street and in stores, although it is rarely explained to me just why. Perhaps this is the reason I cannot pass through customs entering the country without threat of a rigorous cavity search and the contents of my luggage spilled out on a table for all to see.
A slightly more intoxicated stranger later plopped herself down in the booth next to me without warning, interrupting our conversation yet again and flattening my jacket, which was loosely piled beside me, with her generous buttocks. She squinted a bit and scrutinized my facial features before explaining that she and her friend were debating on whether I was, in fact, the actress Juliette Lewis. She came back to determine once and for all if I were indeed Ms. Lewis or not. Poor Juliette. I can't imagine strangers' noses almost touching my own or having people at less than arm's distance breathing all over me on a regular basis.
When the time came for these people to leave, the man walked back to say goodbye and offer a half-apology. I reached out across the table to shake his hand, instantly putting their silly, beer-infused mystery to rest.