A Half Monty.

10 Mar

The woman seated across from me at dinner was an engaging senior citizen, a tourist from Michigan, possessed of graceful conversational skills and an easy unassuming warmth. She looked me in the eyes, the metier of the confident, and while we spoke, I felt I had her full attention. As it turns out, it was my face.

Well into dinner, out of the blue then out of her mouth fell the most dreaded string of words I ever encounter and often daily: “Has anyone ever told you that you look like…?” Then fill in the blank. Dustin Hoffman. Gilbert Gottfried. Ray Romano. Burgess Meredith. I physically gird my loins for the end of the question every time it begins. People have either made my day or sent me crashing into a month-long clinical depression based on the two words at the end of that question.

As she slowly cocked her head in an earnest examination and her words kept falling and I continued contracting my inner thighs and abdominals, she finally finished, “Montgomery Clift. You look exactly like Montgomery Clift.” Somewhere a band began playing and the string section was particularly lush but it was all in my head. And luckily that, as I might have unwittingly whirled her through the plate glass window I felt so light on my feet, tap-dancing on a cloud and leaping over moonbeams. I was delirious, in hog heaven, a place in the sun, and quietly vowed to wear that outfit until I was buried in it.

Later on, feeling dreamy and during dessert, I asked if anyone at our large table (I was possessed of a largesse now) had been to NYC before. A man seated to my left and at the far end of the table answered that he had been here last year, but only for a medical procedure at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.

It was terribly coincidental, as I have a very problematic right ear, and I answered accordingly. “What a coincidence, I’m having a procedure done there on Monday.” Whereupon my admirer, the woman across from me, the compliment-flinger flung this on the table at large:

“How is that hospital? I’ve heard good things. I have terrible terrible cataracts, you know.”

I didn’t.

I look like Montgomery Clift. To a blind woman.

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2 Responses to “A Half Monty.”

  1. Siobhan March 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

    A dear old friend of Nancy Marchand told me (his wife agreeing emphatically) that I was the picture of her. Now, I love Ms. Marchand, but all I could picture was Tony Soprano’s mother, or even Lou Grant’s boss, and hoped that she was impossibly gorgeous sometime prior.

  2. Dugutigui March 22, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    Well, it could have been worse … at least it seems a case of “benign” cataracts … hahaha…

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