I have a new BFF. She is old enough to be my mom but looks after me more like a grandmother. She can do things for me and I don’t get mad; I’m honored. She seems taken with me and I with her. She likes the same things I do, like MAC lipstick and Brooks running shoes. She wears her super sneak shoes everywhere; she loves to walk. I met her in writing class. She was a freelance writer for years; I stand in awe of her shadow, even though I am a good head taller. She sees potential in me and gives me encouragement.
My friend follows my blog and leaves me kind and clever comments, getting me to think a little deeper or just laughing along. Some of my peers haven’t figured out the “blog thing.” My fearless friend dove into the blogospere like a veteran. She shared a movie review from The New York Times, Frances Ha. Any Frances, whether it’s a movie or the pope, she tracks back to me. I love anyone sharing my name. She strongly suggests subscribing to the Times, “There are a lot of essays in there.” Maybe I’ll sound as cool and current as my friend if I do.
My BFF invited me to see The Moth. It’s a night clubby/radio show for storytellers. She listens while she cooks on Sundays. The show hit San Francisco last week, live. My friend sees me at The Moth ever since I read an essay at writer’s group about the funny and touching time I had with my dad before he passed. She sees me on stage. My friend enticed me to come to The City last week, offering dinner, her treat. She lives in San Francisco. I didn’t need a carrot. I would go with her anywhere because my friend is fun all on her own. I think she has been that way all her life.
The Moth show was sold out, would I still come to the City? Maybe we could scare up some tickets. She said she’s a gambler; let’s try. I said if she’s a gambler, I am too. Each of us found a lucky penny on show day. I found a shiny new penny on my BART train seat. She found an old run-over penny she popped into her car console, a treasure. It was going to be our lucky night.
I told my friend I could go with the flow, no matter what happened. “No! We can’t go with the flow. We need to go against the flow so we can get tickets!” She upped my upbeat attitude.
Earlier in the day, my friend popped over to the Castro Theater after yoga class. She hoped talking to the theater manager would produce tickets. No luck. We needed to talk to The Moth manager. Before dinner, we both tried. We stopped to talk to ticket holders in line for seats, no extra tickets. My friend spotted an open theater door, just wide enough for us to squeeze inside. We made a dash. Young volunteers manned the check-in table at the entrance. They couldn’t help us but maybe the show manager could. (We want the volunteer job at the next show.) My friend used her cool, New York City charm and a little pity, me, “My friend came from out of town.” No luck.
We strategized. Grab dinner first. Then hit the show-goers with potential extra tickets at 7 pm, just as the doors opened. Do we travel in pairs or separate to cover more ground to score tickets faster? She thought my charm was the ticket to tickets. I felt completely the opposite; she is the charming one. My friend’s hair is short and pale blonde. Her leopard-spotted glasses manifest her spunk. Maybe together, two hot blondes could score. We did.
Our first attempt, Ruth, had an extra ticket from a radio show contest at Will Call. Great! We could walk in with her and her friends, cutting in front of about 500 people. Our third try, we scored a second ticket at face value, $20. It turns out Ruth is a storyteller and so were her friends. My friend and Ruth shared the SAME last name. It was meant to be, Ruth, her friends, my friend and me. After the show, Ruth and I could ride BART home together, a safer ride for two gals at 11 pm at night. Our penny-luck continued.
We scouted for center seats. I asked a guy guarding a pile of coats if any seats were available. He said no. He watched me report back to my CHARMING friend and changed his mind. There were in fact two seats if he scooted over one.
At last, we were sitting at center stage, one step closer to my BFF’s destiny for me. As we waited for the show to begin, my friend dug around in her purse for mints. Our dinner-breath of garlicky linguine and clams had to go. She found a jolly rancher and gave it to me. “I got two at yoga class, one for you and one for me. I already had mine.” Just like a grandmother to look after her girl; it’s like I was much, much younger. She made me happy.
A second later, “I found our dessert!” She pulls out a clementine orange; peels it and splits it to share. Finally, she found her Mentos. We added that to our dessert menu too. We sat back and enjoyed the show. I could see why my friend thought my dad’s story was a good match for The Moth. The storytellers were funny and sometimes sad. I just need to cut my story in half and build up my confidence. The audience is much, much larger than the writers group of ten or so kind ladies; I will be scored too, like an Olympic ice skater. I MUST buy tickets WAY in advance. I don’t know if I’ll be so lucky again.
My BFF elbowed me closer to the stage, “You know, meeting Ruth the storyteller was fate. She can help you shorten your story.” My friend proudly refers to me as a gambler now. I wear the title proudly. And if anything about this night wasn’t enough of a nudge, she mailed me a pretty floral card. The message: Her run-over lucky penny taped inside, not a single word or name.
Nothing left to do but do it.
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