Explaining My Cupcake Habit



9th Ave. & 21st St., NY, NY 10011

Neighborhood: Chelsea

Because I work in Norwalk and live in Chelsea, whenever I have a bad day mixed with a bad drive home mixed with not being able to find a parking space, I usually stop by Billy’s Bakery for chocolate cupcakes. They ease the pain. So I’m leaving Billy’s recently with my cupcakes and I see a woman who looks like Jodie Foster. She’s with a boy and she’s wearing shades and a visor. She speaks to the boy and her voice is unmistakable – it’s her. So, even though I’m not creepy, I act creepy and circle back and watch her. I actually reenter the bakery and buy another cupcake, just to be near Jodie Foster. I’m strangely excited, because most of my days are routine, and I used to be an actor, sort of, nothing major, school plays, Community Theater, so standing next to Jodie Foster gives me a charge. It’s like a scene in a movie. We’re buying cupcakes together.

This woman tangled with Hannibal Lecter and now she’s standing right next to me. Maybe people who enter the bakery will think we’re together. I’m embarrassed by how much this means to me.

Walking home, I spot Ethan Hawke. He’s walking a dog. It’s a big dog, the kind you’d have if you lived in Montana. I pass him, then I change direction and follow him a bit. I’m trying to work up the nerve to say something. I’ve seen him before, more than once. He lives in the neighborhood somewhere and made a movie about the Chelsea Hotel. My plan has always been to compliment him on his novels. Anyone can kiss his ass about his acting, but, even if I don’t really mean it, if I tell him I loved “The Hottest State,” and that I think his writing matured with “Ash Wednesday,” he’s sure to love it, sure to love me. Maybe he’ll ask if I write. Maybe he’ll ask if I act. We can be friends and my life will finally start to become what it’s supposed to be!

I watch him get into a big truck. The dog jumps in through the back. I watch him carefully pull into 9th Avenue traffic and drive away.

I become insanely jealous when I see celebrities. You’d never know it, I don’t show it. I do that casual thing all people who live in Manhattan do around the famous. I act like it’s no big deal. So I didn’t say anything to Jodie Foster. I didn’t tell her “Flightplan” was ludicrous and ask her to read a screenplay I’ve written. I said nothing to Ethan Hawke. I went home and ate my cupcakes and tried to figure out why I feel so weird and sad and angry and bitter when I’m so healthy and spoiled and comfortable.

I turn on the Mets, and I’m happy, because they’re good this year, but then I feel bad because I know that if I only took more grounders, more batting practice, I’d be playing tonight instead of feeling bad about not being a famous actor.

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