Friday, July 8, 2016

A diversionary post

I haven't been able to process the events of the last few days, so in the meantime I'll tell you a story of a chance meeting.

Sometime in the summer of '98 I was on an afternoon flight from Salt Lake City back to Butte, a regional 50 seat jet two seats on each side of the isle. I was near the front, maybe the very front, window. Next to me was a mid teen girl. She had a friend, a seat back on the other side. From the time we boarded she was half turned in her seat talking to her friend, in a fairly loud voice. She was in the window seat, so she was talking not only back but over the seats on the other side. Next to her was a middle age guy, maybe my age.

Thinking I didn't want to listen to this 'OMG' chatter for over an hour, I turned, suggested to the guy sitting next to her friend that he exchange places with the girl next to me. He quickly agreed, settled in and we introduced: "Hi, I'm Mike. Hi, Bill". We settled back, the plane took off, and after a few minutes we started talking, usual stuff: "Live in Butte? Travel often? What do you do?" etc.

He asked some questions about what I did, the project I was on (Pfizer, inhaled insulin), I asked what he did. "Actor". "Stage, what?" I asked. "Some stage, yeah. Mostly film." he said. "Oh, anything I might have seen?" asks I. He hesitated. "Um, Independence Day?" he said. I brighten, "Oh, I saw that with my daughter. Who did you play in that?" He hesitated again. "The President." he said. A pause on my side "Really?" I think I said. He nodded. We talked a bit about why he was going to Butte.

As it turns out, his brother is a endocrine doc in Butte, John, that I'd been working with for a few years. They have a ranch near Butte, his brother and he hire a manager, but visit it often.


He was recently in town, and stopped by a local school play. A very nice guy, quite unprepossessing. 
Bill Pullman. 
I called my daughters that night to ask if they'd heard of him, and related the story. Two long sighs...."jesus, dad...." 

13 comments:

  1. Great story, Mike. What a fun encounter!

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    1. It was, and listening to my daughter's exasperation with me was fun too.

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  2. I liked him in The Zero Effect.

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    1. He has been in what seems like every movie made since 1980, a prolific actor.

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  3. The same thing would have happened to me. It happened to my sister once, at a folk festival in the national park. She was demonstrating weaving, I was waiting on customers. For a long time I heard her talking to someone. When the crush of customers let up I turned around and asked who had been so interested for so long. "I think he said his name was Pete Seeger." I would have given much to be in her shoes and she in mine. Irony.

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    1. No kidding, Pete Seeger. Wouldn't that have been something....

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  4. I think there's a good chance that I wouldn't recognise a famous person if I met them randomly. People look different in real time, don't they?

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  5. My biggest celebrity "get" was John Wayne and, even though he wasn't dressed Western-style, he looked, sounded and walked the same way he did in the movies.

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    1. Got me beat there, and I probably would have recognized him.

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  7. Great story! And an example of six degrees of separation.

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