(Fun Airline flashback moment)
So I’m working in coach today on a narrow-body, 757. It’s a full flight from Los Angeles to Maui. This is not my typical schedule due to my very low seniority (I like to call it “juniority”); I've only been flying the better part of a decade for United at this point.
This particular flight is fully staffed by five other “Senior Mamas” (with minimum 35 years flying experience each) and somehow somewhere some crazy lazy person (who has probably already been to Maui 317 times) calls in sick, enabling ME the final spot on the jumpseat and the awesome opportunity to go to Maui for 24 hours.
Yippee! Maui. Who cares if I am way back here in coach? Heck, I’d work out on the wing if it gives me the chance to go to Hawaii.
Flight’s full. We're in the middle of our meal service when I see it. A script. The person who holds it looks scraggly. I don’t really care. Besides being a fabulous flight attendant, I also am an aspiring screen-writer.
I'm bold. I internally register the title of the script (a well-researched novel currently on the New York Times best seller list) and then I go up to Script Holder and whisper, “Are you a producer?”
Script Holder is somewhat taken aback (as well he should be). He laughs and says, “No.” And nothing more.
Am I supposed to guess? It looks that way:
"Uhhh," grasping at straws here, "... camera man?"
Script Holder thinks this is really really funny. He laughs a hearty laugh, as does his wife who has overheard most of our conversation.
I walk away, dejected. Who randomly sits around on flights to Maui reading scripts? This guy must have some sort of job related to some sort of Hollywood-type thing.
I am very very curious now.
This has obviously become a game to him. I pick up trash from other passengers for a while and then I go back to his seat to bother him some more (who cares about getting fired when this Script Holder might hold the key to my Hollywood future as a Very Important Writer!).
“Hi, me again. Sorry. Uh, if you don’t mind me asking, what exactly do you DO?”
I am leaning in here, trying not to garner any attention from any other passengers in the vicinity. Script Holder is REALLY suppressing a smirk here. His wife rolls her eyes (she is wondering if she’s being punk’d). Script Holder looks me in the eye with his penetratingly gorgeous blue eyes and says,
“I’m an actor.”
I give a blank look. What the hell? He looks like a homeless person who hasn’t showered in 8 days. He is older, early 50’s or so. He's wearing an old ratty (ratty, not natty) Hawaiian print shirt, khaki shorts, worn-out flip- flops. He has long, almost shoulder-length dirty blond hair, and his skin is a sun-burnt reddish tan. He is tall, all elbows and knees, and his lanky frame (6 foot something?) is quite bent and folded in his cramped coach seat. Maybe he is a character actor? or possibly he just does voice-over's?
Due to my penchant to make an absolute fool of myself in any given situation, I just CANNOT let it go.
“An actor. Oh, that’s nice. Huh," ... long pause (not 100% believing him) ... "Have you been in anything I might have seen?”
The formerly lowly flying-in-coach Script Holder, who has now morphed into Self-Proclaimed "Actor" status, chuckles. He shakes his head like he just got out of a swimming pool. Another laugh, actually more like a guffaw this time--he's really enjoying this. Relishing it, even. He sizes me up and finally replies,
“As a matter of fact, I just did a little film you might of heard of with Kevin Spacey.”
“Kevin Spacey! Wow!” I say, impressed. Everyone knows who Kevin Spacey is! This guy has met Kevin Spacey! That’s pretty good for an “extra” or someone just starting out.
I wander off because another paying passenger (but not a Hollywood Connection) asks me for a pillow. After thinking about it for a couple minutes, I decide that (due to Script Holder’s laughter) I must be stupid, and so I go up to First Class and nonchalantly as the situation can allow ask the Purser if I can view the Passenger Manifest. I start to scan the seat numbers and names. 32D—oh, shit.
Academy Award Winner, Jeff Bridges. Fabulous Baker Boy, Jeff Bridges. Big Lebowski, Jeff Bridges. Why would I make this up? Oh, yeah, and the script he reading? Seabiscuit. I need to apologize to him. I need to somehow erase my bizarre behavior (and as an aside, just between you and me, what the hell is he doing in coach? Come on! Doesn’t he make, I dunno, like a gazillion million dollars per picture? Shouldn’t the Jeff Bridges that you and I have both heard of be kickin’ it with his lovely wife and three daughters in First Class? Or possibly a private jet? It dawns on me that he is trying to “go incognito” this trip.)
I want to redeem myself somehow. I know this whole encounter is the story he is telling his local Maui friends tonight over drinks and dinner.
What can I do at this point? I go up to the very famous and talented actor Jeff Bridges and say, “Mr. Bridges, your secret is safe with me.”
He looks me in the eye, with possibly the same look he gave Michelle Pfeiffer when she was lounging on that piano hitting the high notes, and says simply, “Thank you.”
(“Master Of Vagueness”)