Being the youngest person at a 60th birthday party can be full of surprises, especially if that party is full of celebrities.
I walk in and the first person I see is Iman. She’s walking by (rather, “gliding”… Iman glides) in a red flowing gown. We catch eyes, I compliment her on her dress. She says, “Thank you!” and I think to myself, “This is totally normal….”
My husband Will and I find our table. We are surrounded by celebrities. It’s a grand affair, and the room is literally vibrating with fame. Bette Midler gets on stage to sing Happy Birthday, and after that Robin Williams gives a toast that is a masterclass on how to make people snarf up their cocktails with laughter.
So, I’m sitting there admiring the birthday boy’s group of friends thinking, “I’m cool, I belong here,” when I notice my famous friend’s group of famous friends includes Larry David.
This is not good for my cool. Let me just tell you, I love Larry David. Not the I-want-to-marry-you kind of love, more of a please-be-my-best-friend kind of love. Or, in this case, the now-I’m-going-to-be-a-spazz kind of love. I feel that the fact that Larry is there and I am here is because clearly the universe has brought us together. This is going to be the greatest night of my life. Ever.
You see, I love funny. If you can make me laugh (no one makes me laugh harder than my husband), I love you. Funny people, clever people, are my thing. My thang. Yes, I said thang. I don’t care if you’re rich, smart or freakishly athletic. If you are funny, all bets are off. I want to hang.
So, let’s just say that when I spotted Larry David, I lost my internal cool. In fact, I almost peed my pants. I had to meet him. Had. To. I poked my husband and — reading my mind — he whispered in my ear, “Yes, I see him. Don’t worry, you’ll meet him.” He knows me that well.
I noticed that Larry had gotten up to walk to the bar (OK, so maybe I was stalking him, don’t judge). As luck would have it, the bar was close to our table (again, thank you universe). Will and I got up and sauntered over, like, “yessss, we do want a cocktail right now.” What other reason could we be going up to the bar for other than booze? We love booze, right in the middle of dinner.
I’m usually a pretty calm person. Celebrities are cool and all, but I do realize they are just people like us — only they have seriously awesome jobs — so I usually do not get worked up about being around them.
But, tonight? Not so much. I was all sweaty palms, beating heart and my tongue felt heavy and thick. “Pull it together, Vanessa!” I screamed in my head. Which semi-worked. I was able to nonchalantly saddle up next to Larry, but that was about it. My voice wasn’t working. I couldn’t speak.
Thank God my brilliant, calm and funny husband took the lead and chatted with Larry. There they were, talking about NYC, the building where Larry lived with Jerry Seinfeld (Will took acting lessons in that building) and golf. Larry loves golf. Thank God for Will. Midway through their conversation, Will said, “Oh, hey Larry, this is my wife, Vanessa.”
And away we went. Chat chat chat. I was actually having a nice discussion with Larry! Larry was great, and I could tell he really liked me. It was starting to feel like the three of us were old friends. He was chatty, Will and I were chatty, it was all going very well. And just as I was settling into the fact I was actually going to be friends with Larry David for a really long time (obviously), it happened. Out of the blue, a very old woman, with her walker (which was decorated with various shiny items and tennis ball feet) suddenly appeared behind Larry. Here’s the thing; only I could see her. She was trying to get past him, but she couldn’t. Larry was blocking her.
She was clearly on her way to the bathroom — or somewhere important, because there was a palpable determination about wherever she was going. But as she moved one way, Larry would move that way. So, she would try and move the other way, and again, Larry would move.
Finally, she kind of pushed into him and muttered something like “excuse me,” but Larry, he would not budge. He didn’t even turn around! Gradually, it got worse and worse until Will said “Larry, that’s our host’s mother. She is trying to squeeze past you.” At which point Larry turned around, saw that he had been blocking a very old woman with a walker from getting to wherever she wanted to go and moved. He did this without comment, apology or, as far as I could tell, any shame.
She very slowly (slowly) made her way, squeezing past Larry, practically tripping over his feet — which he didn’t make a big effort to move. In fact, I’m sure she ran over them with her tennis balls. And rather than express any reaction, Larry simply observed. In fact, at that moment, he pulled out a small notebook from his jacket pocket and started scribbling notes.
At this point, my mind started working: this is a classic Larry David moment. He is recording it! This is how the great man works! He is going to put it into Curb Your Enthusiasm!!
I had to assume he was writing down what had just ensued. Grandma. The walker. The tennis balls. Running over Larry’s feet. I mean, seriously? It was perfect for a future episode of Curb. So, seeing as I was his new friend, I asked, “Hey Larry, whatcha writing?”
Now, I will tell you that in my mind I was determined to say it cool. But, in truth, maybe I didn’t. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe it was my tone. Maybe I had interrupted a thought, but what I do know is that the door to a Larry Friendship closed like a bank vault. Instead of letting me in, Larry looked at me, closed his notebook and walked off.
And I was left thinking, “Oh my God. Is that even possible? Did I just offend Larry David?”
Pretty sure I did. And just like that, I found myself in my very own scene of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I was left, Larry David style, by Larry David, alone, wondering what I had done to clear the room. And then I just started laughing — because at that point, really, what else was a girl to do?
Check out Vanessa’s SheKnows Pitch for her organization TIA Girl Club!