Saturday, March 20, 2010

Me and My Reading Partner

Sometimes, when you least expect it, life wraps its arms around you and gives you a big hug.

Who would have thought that today would be, not only a hug day, but a banner day?

I woke up this morning feeling about 70% of my normal state-of-being as a result of two weeks of linking arms with an antibiotic to fight off THE sinus infection from hell.

We (the antibiotic and I) are slowly winning the battles, but the germ warfare has been tough. So this morning, I was due for a break.

The point of this blog entry, however, is not to talk about my health. It’s to talk about my good fortune, or luck, or destiny, or happenstance, or serendipity, or an answer to prayer. Take your pick, because they all apply.

My quick, but heartfelt prayer of this morning was a sincere but silent cry for help as I faced the beginning of what promised to be a day requiring focus and energy and cheerfulness – three attributes I was greatly lacking in the early hours of the day.

I also asked for something extraordinary. A sign, if you must. An indicator of sorts. Something special (even though, I was quick to add, I didn't necessarily deserve it.)

Who would have thought that my prayer would be answered at all, I mean, who asks for something extraordinary with the caveat that they really don't deserve it? Only me, I imagine.

And who would have thought that my whispered plea would be - not only answered - but answered in the form, the HUMAN form to be exact, of Stephen Baldwin, the actor?

Yep, you read that right, there's no need to rub your eyes. I said it - Stephen Baldwin, the actor.

You see, Steve Baldwin and I are now airplane buds. We are reading partners. We sat next to each other (4C and 4D) in a very narrow puddle jumper for the approximately 2 hour flight between the Land of Enchantment and the Land of Saints.

I would like to tell you that I took one look at Steve and knew exactly who he was, but I can’t. I am just not that good at lying (or placing people out of context).

The reality is that I took one look at him and thought, “I should know this guy.”

I had watched him board the plane. He was the last passenger on the flight. Most of us had been boarded and in our seats for a little over 5 minutes when this guy - wearing headphones, camo jacket and baseball cap, and carrying half a dozen miscellaneous articles - clamored on board.

There were lots of empty seats so the chance of him sitting next to me were pretty slim, besides in an effort to deter anyone from sitting there, I had spread out my stuff pretty well, placing magazines on his seat and bags under both seats in front of me .

But as I watched him remove the layers: glasses, ear phones, cell phone and Bluetooth, huge camo jacket, and hat...I knew there was something familiar about this guy.

So, when he finally settled into the seat next to me, after giving him a moment to catch his breath and hang up his phone call(s), I tilted my head and whispered, “Should I know you? Are you a famous actor?”

His response, “I don’t know, do I owe you money?” I laughed as I looked into those famous baby blues and then asked his name.

“Steve,” was the answer, so I – still in some sort of stupor - had to ask, “and your last name?”


Steve Baldwin. Of course. (Those were my actual words.)

"Well, Steve, I am Jean, it’s nice to meet you." And we shook hands.

And that was the beginning of our friendship. After that we shared some laughs, perused a People magazine together – the Oscar issue, so his older brother Alec was in a great photo with Steve Martin (we thought it looked like they were holding hands in the picture, but they weren’t – another lost opportunity to have some fun and maybe even make some moolah - you know how brothers can be) and we critiqued fashion, hair and even posture as we looked at the pictures of some very famous peeps.

And speaking of moolah, I don’t know what business deal Steve was working on when he boarded the plane, but his conversation was pretty impressive. This wasn’t an idle conversation by someone who was uninformed, or ‘just an actor’. It was the conversation of a very intelligent, savvy and aware businessman.

It made me realize that so much of our (“our” being the public in general) opinion of actors is based on the silly antics of a few who make headlines through their bad behavior, and that really isn’t fair.

Which goes along with what Steve said when I asked him if he hated "this kind of magazine" (and then also promised to not believe anything they said about him from hence forth in" this kind of magazine"). His response was that they are typically 80% accurate, but the other 20% is where the disconnect happens, and of course, the attention focuses.

It’s not that I didn’t know that there are a lot of people in the entertainment industry (or any industry for that matter) who are not only nice, but also very smart with a knack for business, it’s just that I hadn’t experienced it personally before. And I would imagine that is true for most of the ‘general public.’ It's much easier to focus on that 20%.

Finally, after flipping EVERY single page of PEOPLE mag together, Steve took a nap and I drafted this blog entry. It was a peaceful flight for both of us. And a memorable one for me.

So, I am here to tell you that it happens. Fate sometimes jumps into your life when you least expect it. Serendipity is real and prayers are answered, often  in a way you least expect.

Steve Baldwin would probably not consider himself an answer to my prayer, but I know better. Fate is more than coinkidink. And he was definitely extraordinary.

And not only do I know better, but now I know Steve too. And he’s forever a part of my life, because this serendipitous meeting is 2 hours that I won’t forget. It's a memory that will bring a smile to my face every time it surfaces. Not necessarily life-changing, but certainly memorable.

And who knows, we may meet again. After all, we exchanged business cards and are working for common, conservative, Christian values and just never knows, as today has shown.

We should always remember that everything we do can make a difference in the life of someone else, even when we don’t know it and least expect it.

Steve could have been indifferent and I could have been star-struck and silly on the airplane today and everything could have turned out very differently. But we didn't and it didn't.

It’s been a great day: life hugged me, and I am hugging it back.

PS Steve took the pic with my iPhone. :)

PSS I am not typically one to be affected by fame or fortune, I have met and talked and negotiated and laughed with the best (and the worst) of them. But I have to admit that a silly, star-struck moment hit right after saying good-bye to Steve. Suddenly I was walking down the terminal in SLC and the thought came to my mind: "I just read People magazine with Stephen Baldwin!" 

Now how many people can say that?! Woooohooooo! And hugs to all.

1 comment:

  1. Stephen Baldwin touched your iPhone. It's no longer an iPhone. It's a BaldiPhone.

    Oh, happy your prayers were answered too.

    Stephen Baldwin took a pic with your iPhone. Of the TWO OF YOU. OMGsh!