Friday, May 1, 2009

Bland Items

“Don’t write about me anymore.”

The message couldn’t be more clear. The bar was loud and crowded, but I could tell what he was saying by the stern look on his face, even if I hadn’t been able to hear his words as clear as a bell. Unlike me, this is not a character known for his wild swings of facial expression, though in his case, sometimes less is decidedly more. This isn’t the first time someone has expressed this sentiment to me, the first time at Splash, although the venue shouldn’t have surprised me either. Clogged with closeted Staten Island hunks who still live at home with their unsuspecting blue collar parents and quiet midwestern gays on vacation, it doesn’t have the kind of patrons that request the attendant attention one might expect of, say, The Real Housewives Of New Jersey. So running into an otherwise trendy pack of Manhattanites in such a place reeked of “don’t ask, don’t tell” nightclubbing. Duly noted.

Two listeners invited me to join them out at the bar and lacking much else to do, I decided to join them. I wasn’t much in the mood to go out and I am never in the mood for Splash, but I do have a blog that needs to be filled with idle chatter. Plus, living so far out of town, I really have to force myself sometimes to just go out and have a good time. The boys forewarned the club promoter who was overly happy to see me (as job title personified) when I arrived, and then ushered me in ahead of some drunk smokers and made quite a fuss over me in front of the expressionless cashiers who didn’t care either way.

One of the listeners had briefly been a dancer at the club some years ago, but unlike me, excelled at keeping up with old friends. He knew everyone. I was relieved to know no one. Not even my friend who is an occasional dancer there himself was in attendance that night. So I perched myself on a barstool near the front, drink in hand, and let the noisy bacchanal wash over me, waiting for blogtastic inspiration. An inspiration that never came.

Moments earlier, I ran into that frequent blog subject who didn’t want to be in the blog anymore. I was on the fence about not blogging the night as it was and that pretty much sealed the deal. He was travelling with the hot boyfriend of another hot blogger, so I wouldn’t want to incur his wrath by giving less than a flat out rave to his man while at the same time reassuring him that everything was totally above board. Better just not to write about it at all. After all, haven’t I caused enough trouble already? While the former dancer twirled around the dance floor from pal to pal, his boyfriend kept me company by the bar which while fun, was not really story enough to string my blog on, as flimsy as it may be most of the time.

At one point, or I suppose I should just call it the point, a hunk of a man walked up to me and asked if my name was Derek. “Derek Hartley?” Yes, I half smiled, a mix of excitement, dread and panic. I am so bad at remembering people, even the hot ones. Turns out he is a reasonably new listener of the show and happened to spot me by chance. This almost never happens in NYC, but when it does, the end result is always the same. For the next five minutes he tried to explain to his totally uninterested friends that this weary figure slumped unseductively across a barstool like a dust cover in an abandoned summer house was in fact someone famous. No one believed him, not even me.

That fame is a funny thing. It really isn’t any fun or remotely funny at all. I like to say that fame is just a series of humiliations, and it is your own willingness to be humiliated that determines how famous you are going to become. Obviously, the guy I wrote about in my blog who asked me not to anymore found his fame ceiling right here on my site, or more likely probably some miles back before he made the unfortunate mistake of knowing me. I can see my own fame ceiling getting closer and closer. If I get up on my toes and extend my fingers out as far as they can reach, I can almost brush it with my fingertips. But for now, it is just an object lesson in being in the wrong place at the right time.


Anonymous said...

Hey there-glad so see the latest post. I don't think that you need to worry about hitting the ceiling of your fame any time soon; for a fellow who spreads as much laughter and joy as you, I anticipate the sky being the limit!- John in Southern CA.

Viewtiful_Justin said...

Derek, this reeks of censorship at the hands of nobodies. Of course, I suppose you have to listen to them if you don't want everyone to scatter like roaches when you walk into a bar.

And your observations about fame? Made me chuckle...and then think.

Derek Hartley said...

I agree Justin! Hence the play on the term "blind items" as bland items. Not including the names and the links to the profiles does make it less interesting. At the same time, these are real people with real lives so it isn't like posting their stories against their collective will doesn't have ramifications.

nahtanoj said...

Hey there, I am a long time listener and I have actually called a few times but only talk to Sam...I am a wussy like that! Just wondering if I order your book would I get it in time for my transatlantic cruise? I leave November 6th ?