I used to wait tables at a restaurant at Lincoln Center and we got a lot of celebrities who came in. Alan Alda came in all the time, and I waited on him once or twice. He was totally nice, good tipper. I have nothing against Alan Alda.
But then, a couple of years later, I’d left that job, and I was working for an executive. She was part of a NYC power couple that had a lot of high profile friends. One of their friends was Alan Alda. My job primarily entailed answering the phone, and sometimes when I answered it, it would be Alan Alda.
And I’d really want to say, “Alan Alda! I’m the same waitress you had from two years ago! Now I’m the receptionist!”
But of course, I did not say that. But it gave me this feeling that was at first funny, then unsettling, then deeply disturbing, that I was merely an extra in the movie of Alan Alda’s life.
Honestly, I feel like this a lot – that I’m a supporting player in someone else’s movie. But I usually feel like I’m at least the sassy/bitter BFF who drops by to offer perspective on the heroine’s life when she’s going through a crisis. I at least have a name and lines and everything.
But Alan Alda made me feel like I was merely some background extra, so insignificant that they could cast the same actress in multiple bit parts because no one would even notice. I wouldn’t even belong to SAG. I’d have to bring my own costume.
So now every time I see a picture of Alan Alda, I just get this vaguely gloomy feeling about my life, and my overall insignificance in the world.
But I realize that this isn’t Alan Alda’s fault, and I don’t blame him for it.
The scary thing is that there are probably a lot of non-entities who you waited on and have subsequently spoken to on the phone but you aren’t aware of because they are, well, nonentities. Ergo, you are the extra in a huge web of movies, one of whose is Alan Alda’s. I think I will develop a new cosmological theory on that basis.