Tuesday, July 20, 2010

'Tis the Gift...

I haven't secured a full-time job yet, but I have been working as a long-term temp at a company that owns cinemas and a few live theaters. This evening a new movie was being premiered downstairs from my office. I was staying a little late to finish up a few tasks, so between emails and downloads, my co-worker and I watched out the office windows to see what celebrities were showing up. Katie Holmes (sans Tom Cruise) was the first big celebrity to show. Kevin Kline was there. So were other famous people who I've seen somewhere but whose names I don't know. I also caught just a small glimpse of what the paparazzi are like, and it's no surprise to me that some celebrities have slugged photographers. The crowd started snapping pictures and yelling, yelling, yelling to get the stars' pictures. It was chaotic (even though my co-worker said they were a calmer group today)!

I've seen a lot of stars since I moved to New York. I seem to have a knack for accidentally running across them. (My roommate was a bit jealous when I saw Zach Braff at an event her company organized, shortly after she had finished her shift and went home. Sorry, Sterling.) I don't make a scene when I see a celebrity, even though I really do enjoy it. I'd like to say that famous people don't intrigue me, but they do. Sometimes it bothers me that I even care because I feel like I shouldn't and perhaps because it reflects my shallowness more than I'd care to see or admit to. And when I see famous actors up close, talented or not, I realize that they're just another person who has gained notoriety and I have many friends who are at least just as dynamic as they probably are.

So after a few email frustrations and plenty of celebrity-voyeurism, I finally left the office and walked through the crowded sidewalk outside the theater towards the subway. It was then that the subtle, but really wonderful things began happening. A young woman stopped in front of me on the sidewalk to take a picture of a townhouse stoop filled with flowers and plants, then giggled as she realized that she had stopped in front of me before politely letting me pass. She had a sweet laugh and a sweet smile.

Further down the street a man was walking his dog and I noticed that even though the man was a holding the leash in his hands, the dog was holding it as well, in his mouth, and walking so proudly and looking up at his master with such complete adoration and happiness. Then, out of the blue, a snippet of a song passed through my mind: "'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free, 'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be
..." I don't even know all of the words to that song, but it was such a nice reminder to notice and get caught up in all of the intriguing, beautiful and simple things happening right around me every day. Like the discarded paper that was suspended on the wind between two buildings above my hand, dancing gently through the air. Or the small dog sitting in the window of the pet resort as I passed.

So I think that maybe it's okay to get a little excited when someone famous is nearby, but I hope I'd rather be someone who gets even more excited and intrigued by all of the great things that exist in the real world that I see every day. (Though I will admit that shallow or not, I do wish Katie would have brought Tom.) :)

I leave you this evening with the lyrics to "Simple Things", written by Elder Joseph Brackett while he was at a Shaker community in Alfred, Maine in 1848.

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.