She storms out of the restroom of Akbar. I can’t help but notice her, fuming down the runway from the powder-room to the sidewalk. She seems annoyed; over it.
I nudge my friend Lammy, who’s off processing something else. He misses her. He’s looking over at Pete Zias, a sultry comedy genius who’s doing my show on the 29th. Lamy is caught up in thought, and I’m trying to bring him back to focus on this spurned, lovely, fresh-faced ingenue vamping out of Akbar. She seems straight, I think. I bet her gay friend did something major, and she’s not having any more of tonight.
I check my phone. It’s still early.
I love watching women fuming. I like seeing them angry. I like seeing the veneer peel back. I don’t want to see everything, but watching a woman get furious is like watching a force of nature in action – a hurricane or a tornado. When my mother was younger, she covered some spider veins with nude pantyhose. I mentioned it to her once, wondering how she got them, and she said, oh, those are from your brother. Yours are here, she then said, and pointed somewhere else on her leg. I never mentioned it again, but I felt humbled in the moment. I really love women.
When raised into ire, they show a hint, a whisper of that age old anger I identify in myself. Sure, it’s not at all the same situation as being a gay man, but it’s a very similar, equally complicated dynamic. Trying to be the prettiest version of yourself, getting punished for it. Trying to be an uncompromising, high riding bitch, getting punished for that, too. Trying to be a boring version of yourself, getting criticized. I could keep going:
I have always loved women. Nurturing and twisting, empathizing and uncompromising, thoughtful and self absorbed and generous to a fault, and sometimes just plain selfish. I love women for what they are, when they are, who they are. Even when they act ridiculously entitled, I’m apt to make excuses for them. They’re women. They understand.
We all need each other. We have to love one another, the men, the women, the gays, the straights, the colors and the whites – people somewhere in the middle of those “either, or” paradigms. And most women understand that. Sometimes you have to draw it out, but most women get it.
Trust me though, this particular chick has had it. She’s done with tonight. I can tell that on the storm-out.
Bonus footage: there’s a storm-back-in. She’s tapping on the lady’s room door! By this time Lammy and I have migrated over to say goodbye to Pete, and his lovely friend Marcel, who has the bright heart of a mime, and the sensitivity of Proust. Kind men, I think to myself, as we bid goodnight. I see the upset woman walking back out again, out of the corner of my eye. She has short hair, and a pixie’s face, and blackberry red lips. It’s something thin and gauzy draped from her. Maybe, it’s a sundress? I can’t tell. It looks effortless and smooth but maybe she’s pissed? She leaves again. We move to leave behind her. I look back to try to catch a glimpse of Pete and Marcel laughing. I want to leave Akbar with that image in my mind, so I turn my head, expecting to see these bright, funny boys.
But, instead, right behind me, it’s Andy Dick. Andy fucking Dick.
He gives me a sigh and a look like, yes, it’s me, you’re recognizing me, it’s not a good time, let’s move things along. He even does this thing where he takes one finger, aims it sideways, and rolls it at me. That gesture people do, when they want you to wrap something up in a business meeting, or maybe even over coffee. But I don’t care. It’s Andy Fucking Dick.
“You’re Andy Dick!” I say, immediately out on the sidewalk. The fuming woman perches in a shiny red convertible with a handsome male driver. He’s tan and has a pencil mustache. Mischievous, smirking, he looks well-heeled. I turn back to Andy Dick. “I’m a huge fan of your work. News Radio is a brilliant piece of Americana.” I grasp his hand to shake it, and hold it, squeezing his opposite shoulder with my left hand. Eye contact, mutual respect, meaningful touch. “Just brilliant,” I say.
“Thank you,” he says. You’re a kind person. He says it with a sort of sadness in his eyes.
(Once I was allowed to go to a carnival. It was high school and I could drive, and I was going there with my friend Fred Woodchord. Things didn’t work out like I’d wanted them to, and my friend left early. I stayed. I was there when they were wrapping up and I saw all the artifice packed up for the night. Carnie folk, like I’d seen working at my parents’ laundromat in Brooksville, Florida. They come and do huge loads of laundry. The soap turns brown! But somewhere in my memory castle I access the night of the carnival. I stayed too long; ate too much sugar. Played too many penny arcade games. I drove home feeling mildly ashamed and kind of sad, like how Andy looked at me.)
“Hey,” I say. “You did a really good job, bud. You’re a classic.”
Andy’s smirk softens and he stares deep into my eyes.
“You’re a good person,” he says.
And that’s it.
Andy breaks the spell, moves toward the red car, with the smirking, handsome, 40 something driver. The young woman is almost girlish now. She’s back to neutral, dreamy – checking her cuticles. I move to try to introduce Lammy, but the moment has passed.
Andy hops into the convertible, I move with Lammy, northwest, to my car. Oh my god that was Andy Dick. I know. Did you ever see News Radio? What’s that? It’s a sitcom from the 90’s – brilliant cast, Steven Root is in it! It was Phil Hartman’s last major project. Maura Tierney. Dave Foley. I could go on.
He’s an American treasure, I tell Lammy. We get into the car to flyer more at Gold Coast, and possibly Trunks. Maybe Motherload while we’re at it.
Did you know Andy Dick was an inspiration to me, I ask Lammy. Lammy shrugs. Oh yes! He probably has something similar to chronic hypomania! Certainly, he’s an addict – he’s very open about that when he interviews. Not sure if he’s in recovery now, or not. I’m so proud I met him! He was clearly gay and making it as an actor when I was young, I say. Lammy loves to say little, and chime in to disagree about semantics. He reminds me that Andy Dick is bisexual. I don’t care, I say. In my head, when I was a kid, watching Andy Dick star in (hands down, no arguing) the best sitcom of its era. In my head it was a gay man succeeding in comedy, and not toning it down. Not even trying. For the 90’s, that was as badass as you could be.
Lammy smirks and shrugs and I drive us west. He’s much younger than me. I’m blathering about mania, and how it can trigger brilliance, and how I’m so blessed at this time in my life, and how the world, life, the Holy Spirit, the Great Spirit, whatever it is – is lining up synchronic vibrations for me this year – is being so kind this time around. It’s not nasty like five years ago. It’s good this time.
I’m so proud of me, and of Lammy, who did some pretty awesome communications today, as a friend, at his business. I’m so proud of bisexual Andy Dick, and how even a cruel, ugly world sometimes can’t keep those special people who hold a small light inside apart. Not for long. Not forever. It lines itself up for us, just as it does for the meanies, the bullies, the awful, grabbing, fear-mongers. Sometimes, it synchs for us, too.
We turn left on Fairfax. Lamy puts his hand on my knee. He’s worried about a man crossing the street. I joke about how, he wouldn’t be walking so slowly if I wasn’t trying to turn left. Lammy misses the joke.
He’s off somewhere for a split second. He’s in his memory castle. He’s processing something else.