My cyclical love affair with the iPod on my phone kicked in at an inopportune moment. You simply don't want "Me and Julio" seeping out your headphones the exact moment you are bounding up the stairs past Paul Simon.  But there it was, and I couldn't help it.  It didn't help that I was carrying a small framed black and white photo of the songwriter or that I was due to sit in a small room (the size of, perhaps, a doctor's waiting room on the second floor of a brownstone) and talk about his work in an intimate literary meeting.  The room itself had a long, narrow glass fronted display case running shoulder high, inset into the wood paneled wall, enclosing a frieze-like assortment of WWII plastic figurines and model airplanes.  As I took my seat, glancing up, I noticed Paul Simon roll his eyes,  scanning the small room, he himself holding a stack of balsa wood airplanes and a small box boasting pictures of a snap-together Japanese Zero on the outside.  He sat down next to me, but I quickly shifted a couple seats over as more people showed up.  When he started to read, gingerly, from his own small hardback compendium of his collected works, I realized I'd brought the wrong book and couldn't follow along.  We were all taking turns reading aloud, Paul Simon looking more agitated as we went along. As everyone turned to me, I couldn't find a single poem in my pages, just pictures of engravings, so I started to recite what I could see in front of me on the wall, "spitfire, signal corps, quartermaster, bazooka, silver latch, wooden coping..."  At this, Paul Simon spat with fury.  He was so sick of sycophants wanting to waste his time reading old crap and talking about nothing, we all knew nothing, in fact, and he got up to leave.  I can't remember what Kevin said to quell his anger, but it was funny, smart and well-timed and it sent the room into peels of appreciative chuckles, Paul Simon included.  As he sat back down into his easy chair and he put his feet up on the ottoman, Paul Simon stared at Kevin for a moment letting our remaining giggles uneasily die down . Declaring he was the only worthy one there, Paul Simon asked Kevin if he would drive upstate with him in his convertible Mazda and talk about book ideas.  It was then, just as I conspired to get Kevin to speak up in my defense, to plead dispassionately that I too was worthy of a cramped seat in the back of the Miata, that my son's Darth Vader alarm clock bellowed forth.

No comments: