Monday, August 6, 2007

My memory is freaky

I remember absolutely everything. I can't help it. It scares other people, and I even scare myself with it sometimes. I remember random details about people's childhoods that they mentioned in passing, and then I'll make the mistake of bringing it up months later and they'll look at me with fear in their eyes, assuming I have been stalking them and writing down every last detail about them in my notebooks. (And, yes, back in school, I think I was rather infamous for always carrying around a little notebook wherever I went.)

When I was in the 5th grade, I went to see a production of West Side Story at the high school I was eventually end up going to. I had already seen my first Broadway show at that point (Peter Pan when I was 8...wasn't that everybody's first Broadway show, though?) but I was not yet a Broadway snob. (My mother often calls me a Broadway snob...I tell her that if I WAS a Broadway snob, would I have already seen the show Xanadu several times already?! Would I have sat through Good Vibrations three times? And would I have ever thought In My Life...the story of a young man with Tourettes' Syndrome who falls in love with a girl with OCD was one of the best shows I had ever SEEN!? Plus, I am still a ardent supporter of community theatre...even though that dessert theatre production of The Diary of Anne Frank just seemed WRONG...why do we get to eat cake while we're watching these poor people pretend to be starving and hiding for their lives???)

When you are 10-years-old, a high school production is just as exciting and thrilling as a Broadway one, especially when you are watching your all-time favorite movie onstage for the first time. (To this day, West Side Story remains my all-time favorite movie...even though it did take me a few years to get over the shock of learning that most of the actors aren't really singing in it!)

I still remember that show...when the boys came into the audience before the rumble and stood right in front of me, yelling (singing) in each other's faces. It was so exciting! It was West Side Story!

Years later (about ten) I was working at Barnes and Noble (where I worked for about 89 years.) A young man would come in every so often and I recognized him as the kid who played Tony in that production of West Side Story.

I had seen this guy once in my entire life, when I was 10 years old, and he was onstage singing "Something's Coming" and "Maria."

And I remembered him.

As the young man browsed, I told a coworker, "I totally saw that guy in a production of West Side Story ten years ago...think it would freak him out if I said something?"

My coworker shrugged and went, "You know what you can do...we'll put the showtunes album on, and if you catch him singing along with a West Side Story song, go, 'THAT's where I know you from!'"

I didn't do that...

but the next time he came in, I came over while he was paying and said, "You're going to think I am really weird, but weren't you Tony in West Side Story once?"

He stared at me blankly for a moment, then went, "Yeah...I was...a very long time ago."

I completely freaked that poor guy out.

Then again, I might have also made his day at the same time.

Diana Rissetto