Ten years ago when I was ten years younger than I am now things looked pretty good. My body was still willing to accept cigarettes as dinner and so I was, without wanting to sound vain as lean as a Jaguar, Or some other jungle cat. I was spending my days at Central Saint Martins making an incredibly important piece of Fine Art dubbing the entire Die Hard movie to a two hour still shot of some Cows grazing in a field. What was i trying to say? Who knew? Did I? Yes. Could I articulate it ? No.The evenings would be spent passionately tearing tickets, and placing people in their allocated seats at the Curzon cinema, around the corner. I was a master at this job, the fact that I never got promoted was scandalous, and I'm pretty sure people were talking about their disbelief behind my back as to not upset me. I could see the sadness in their eyes for me. What made me the best at my job was the way I made the customers feel reassured and at ease, I would look at the seat number on the ticket. then look them straight in the eyes and say "You have picked wonderful seats". If I was feeling flirty I might have thrown in "You must have been here before, because you have picked wonderful seats". Unfortunately knowing the seating system in the cinema was never as impressive to the ladies as the Doctor they were on the date with. So things never really worked out there.
One special evening at the Curzon we had a Q&A with the director and star of a new film called Lost In Translation. I hadn't really thought much about this event in it's build up. It's director was Sofia Copolla and I was never really a fan of The Godfather movies. I never really liked it when lots of guys got together, something always went wrong. It was too predictable. The star was Scarlett Johansson. I had recently heard her sultry voice in the Coen Brothers The Man Who Wasn't There, she seemed nice, but I hadn't thought too much of her either. As I walked down the stairs with a big bag of pre-popped popcorn I noticed Scarlett Johansson in the foyer. Quickly I emptied the bag into the machine and ran back upstairs. I was amazed with how ordinary she seemed. She was famous! Standing there in the foyer being normal. It almost seemed like she was approachable. I quickly tried to think of a variation of the "Wonderful Seat" line that was generating me so many smiles. It was useless though she was going to be on stage looking out into the audience, all I could come up with was "I'm sorry lady this is a terrible choice of a seat in a cinema, a)your blocking the screen and b) your facing the wrong way". That wasn't going to work. I was pretty sure about that.
It was too late I had to go back down to do my job of placing people in the correct seats before chaos erupted. As I got to near the bottom of the stairs she turned and looked at me. I froze for what felt like at least two solid seconds then ran back up the stairs. She liked me. I could feel it. One of her eyes had half caught a glimpse of me on my journey . Maybe she liked the way I went down the stairs, I had been working at the cinema a couple of years by this point, and if I say so myself I had got pretty good at going up and down the stairs. After a second to regain my composure I casually walked down the stairs again. She was still there, and this time she was looking in my direction with two eyes. I guess I was pretty good at walking down the stairs. In my youth the whole family would get together and watch Dynasty and I'm pretty sure my inspiration was coming from Crystal from that show, she walked down a lot of stairs at a lot of parties impressing a lot of people. That is what I was doing now, well I was until I hit the last step. I didn't really have a plan when I got to the last step. So I had to resort to my "classic" move. I stood motionless leaned my neck out to the left and created the illusion I was looking for something. Not just anything but something important, and tall. I gently rubbed the logo on the company shirt and bit my lip to add an element of severity. I looked to the right with the same severity. Whatever Tall thing I was looking for wasn't there, I was going to have to go back upstairs and come back down again. Lucky her.
When I got back upstairs my manager gave me a job which was effectively as good as getting a promotion. I had been entrusted with the job of transporting a latte for Sofia Coppolla and a Diet Coke for Scarlett Johansson. This was my moment. That moment when everything you were working towards comes together. I'm pretty sure the fact that she was famous and everyone was talking about her had nothing to do with the fact that within the last five minutes I had fallen completely in love with the woman. I collected the Latte and a can of Diet Coke. I got a glass and filled it with ice. Then I thought some people get funny with the ice levels in their glass. I couldn't work out how much ice a Hollywood person would require. So I picked up a second glass. One to transport ice, and one for her to place ice into as so desired. It still didn't look special enough. So I went in the kitchen and found a lemon. Lemon is classy. I didn't want to seem stingy with the Lemon so I picked up a knife and placed it on a plate. I figured what a gesture to be offered a whole lemon with your drink. Not just a fraction, I mean a Lemon costs like thirty pence, a slice of lemon is almost like spitting in her face. So I picked up a second lemon. It still didn't look quite right. Presentation counts for a lot especially in Hollywood. These people are special, and they are special because they don't just take things as they come. They always add garnish. So I rummaged around in the kitchen found a Basil leaf and placed it on top of the can. I walked through the auditorium doing the best I could to keep myself together, I would have tricked myself I was doing a good job if it was not for the clattering of my two glasses on the tray consistently mocking me. I walked past all the people who I had complimented for their “wonderful seats”. I got to the stage, the auditorium was dead silent. I placed a Latte by Sofia Copolla's table. I then walked round to Scarlet Johansson and placed the can with the basil leaf. The empty glass, the glass with ice, the lemon, the second lemon, and the knife. For some reason I bowed and said “Your Majesty”. Then walked back into the darkness.
She never called.