Yeah, that's right. We talked. And with the exception of one sentence that I will forever regret, I was cool. (Still, it was a marked improvement from my 1994 conversation with Matthew Perry, wherein I believe I actually said: "Hi, I'm Esther Kustanowitz, and I'm your biggest fan." I know. I'm shaking my head as I'm typing this...the words just escaped and I couldn't stop them...)
After I mentioned having seen her in a taped show of the UCB's weekly show ASSSSCAT, she told me that Amy Poehler was waiting for her outside somewhere. (On my way out, I looked for Amy, but didn't see her.) You may think you've seen some of their great work and chemistry on SNL behind the newsdesk or in sketches, but really, seeing them live with other UCB members (and leading comedy performers like Horatio Sanz, Rachel Dratch and Andy Richter), I was awed by their unfettered commitment to characters (no matter how bizarre) and the integrity of the improvised sketches they were a part of...
Of course I didn't say all that. I was more than a little starstruck, but managed to remember most of my words, and tried to respect Tina's privacy by not bothering her for too long. I could post the details of our conversation, or what she was ordering from the takeout counter, but I feel that would be wrong. You want the inside scoop on celebrities, you go to Gawker. Here, all you'll get is that she was lovely and gracious and showed (or at least believably feigned) appreciation of my comments-bordering-on-babble about what a big fan I am or when I rendered my wishes for best of luck with the baby.
A closing toast, a song of myself: to being brave, overcoming fears, and making connections. And to New York, where a struggling Jewish writer can meet a successful Greek writer in a supermarket and interact as neighbors over groceries instead of within the hierarchy of writing success. I'll never be that famous, or that acknowledged as a comedy talent. But as long as we both live here, I'll always be her neighbor.
See you at the supermarket, Tina.