Are You Real? Really Real?
"Not actors? Right here? In front of Nancy Pelosi's house? Right now? You're not actors trying to fool me? Because someone did that once. They tried to fool me. So you're real? You're really real?"
"I have never been realer, ma'am."
Here's how we got to that conversation.
This lady, a perfectly normal looking white lady in her 30's, comes walking down Broadway last week as we were getting some shots of Nancy Pelosi's house. Turns out some guy was calling the bejesus out of the Speaker and saying things like, "If you ever want to see your home again, don't vote for health care reform." So says the FBI. And believe me, you don't want to get on the FBI's BAD SIDE.
We're wrapping up. It's me, photog Jeremy, and Intern.
Jeremy starts putting away the camera after recording Emmy award worthy shots of the Pelosi stronghold. Lady walks up and asks where the sandwich shop is on Union. Jeremy tells her to keep walking and take a left and she'll see it. She then asks for a card, saying, "I have a really great story for you. Really great. Really really great. But I don't have time to tell you right now because I need to get dinner. I'm starving. But it's a great story. Really great."
So we're like, "Oh here, hang on." I dug around my purse for my cards but instead found one stale green gummy bear and two ibuprofens. By the time I looked up to tell the lady I was sorry I didn't have any cards left, Jeremy had already handed her his card. Two of them, in fact. We always love when people come up with story pitches and we can give them a card and hope they will send us a legitimate email or leave a message later on with a "really really great story."
That rarely happens but we never shut the door on Opportunity.
We say our polite thank yous and goodbyes. But nope. There's more. She looked at Jeremy's card. Repeatedly. And then asked us why we were there. So we explained the whole Pelosi stalker thing. Then she looked at the live van, plastered in peacocks and NBC logos, and goes, "Are you real? You're not actors? You didn't go to Julliard? Because I want to go there. Or Medill. To do what you do."
At which point we see a hint of Crazy. All was good until she started peppering us with questions about our realness. And the stories about her divorce. And the guy who was following her and videotaping her and tried to hit her with his car to kill her.
But when Intern nicely said, "We're real. See the van?" The lady responded, "Yeah but this could be from a movie set. That's what happened last time. They had a van, too."
During the Q and A, there was a point where she looked down at the NBC peacock and straight up broke down. Crying with real tears, "You're real. You guys are really real. Right here?" Moments later, tears were gone. It was gripping.
I could not stop engaging with her. But finally Jeremy climbed into the van, and we said she should get going before it got too dark. "Yeah. I'm afraid of the dark. I'll call you. I have a great story. Really really great." She gave us one last sweeping look before limping off. Apparently from her broken foot. You know, from when she was hit by the car.
Still waiting for the call on that really great, really really great story. Thank God she has Jeremy's business card. On which his cell phone number is printed.