Se nos va ocurriendo querer tantas cosas, posibles e imposibles, que cuando se nos cumple un deseo menor se nos vuelve como una promesa. Cuando era muy chica deseaba ganarle a mi hermano en un carrera, tener un perrito, una maleta de Hello Kitty; después quise cosas más sufridoras, ser más flaca de lo que era, o ser más divertida de lo que era, o ser el sueño de los muchos niños de la secundaria que no sabían que existía. He querido cosas fáciles, desde sacar diez en un examen o entrar a una universidad, hasta un vestido del rojo exacto y un evento al que llevarlo; y he querido cosas imposibles, desde tronar los dedos y hacer feliz a alguien que quiero, hasta estar en paz.
Ahora quiero de todo, quiero vivir lejos y cerca de mi casa, quiero que algún ente metafísico decida qué habrá de cena todos los días, quiero hacer una película, darle la mano a Woody Allen, reírme a carcajadas con alguien que me conozca, pintarme las uñas de azul clarito, quiero que los chistes malos me den risa y que algunas cosas me dejen de doler. Quiero muchas, muchas cosas, pero tengo también la alegría de los deseos -fáciles e imposibles- que se me han logrado.
Todo esto viene a cuento porque recientemente fui testigo de un deseo tan bien logrado que me contagió el gusto. Un deseo de infancia que se volvió importante no tanto por él mismo sino por el sin número de deseos que alimentó.
Muchos años antes de que yo entendiera qué hacía el director de una película, Dani quiso conocer al director que lo hizo enamorarse del cine. Luego quiso muchas cosas, entre ellas mudarse a Los Ángeles en dónde -sin querer- se topó conmigo, que sólo de verlo empecé a tener muchos deseos.
Hace unas semanas Dani conoció a su director de cine y se le cumplió ese deseo inicial, que alimentó tantos otros. Y fue el deseo más cercano, la promesa más clara, porque aunque en apariencia se haya tratado de conocer a un desconocido (que finalmente no es más que un señor), el desconocido es más que una persona, un director de pelis buenas, un tipo. El desconocido - que para efectos del deseo seguiría siéndolo incluso si se volviera amigo íntimo- no es un desconocido cualquiera, sino el símbolo de todas las cosas que se han deseado y la promesa de que pueden estar cerca.
Les dejo aquí el deseo cumplido de Dani, que es -entre otras cosas- el mejor de mis deseos cumplidos. Promesas, promesas, a ver qué más nos va pasando.
THE DAY I MET HIM
I knew he was coming into the office Tuesday morning for a meeting with the head of my company. Even though it was a long-shot, there was a possibility I’d see my childhood idol walking into the office. Or perhaps coming out of a conference room. Or maybe even actually share an elevator with him! (yeah, right).
I parked my car in P4 – we assistants are made to park as far underground as possible – and walked up the first of five escalators at 8:15am, all the while thinking about where I’d position myself so I could maybe see him walking into the building. I thought that waiting (let’s call it waiting rather than stalking) immediately outside the building, where the valet area is located and where he would be pulling in, was the best option.
The only problem was that I had no idea at what time he would be coming in. It could be 10am. It could be 11am. It could be 9:30am. By 9am at the latest I had to be sitting at my desk, so waiting outside by the valet area if his meeting was after that time would most likely make me look like an idiot. I had heard, however, that he is always extremely punctual and tends to arrive very early for his meetings. So if I was lucky enough that his meeting happened to be at 9am I might catch a glimpse of him before going up to my desk. It was a long shot, but definitely worth the awkwardness of me hanging out by the valet area for 45mins.
All these thoughts were flying through my brain as I walked up the fifth and final escalator, the one that leads you directly to the office entrance. At the top of the escalator you can make a left and walk into the main lobby, or you can continue straight and exit the building through a set of glass doors that lead directly into the valet area, a.k.a. the area I had strategically chosen as my stalking spot.
As I reached the end of the escalator and my line of sight rose to street level, the first thing I saw through the glass doors was a man sitting on a bench just outside the building by the valet area. He was sitting with his back towards me, but I immediately and almost subconsciously picked up three small-yet-crucial details: he was wearing sneakers, he was wearing jeans and he had graying hair. Even though his third trademark was missing – baseball cap – I immediately knew this was Steven Spielberg. Take that Sherlock Holmes.
My heart began to race.
I stepped outside onto the valet and after walking a safe distance turned around to look straight at the man. And indeed it was The Man. Though there had been no doubt in my mind, my eyes could now reassure me of what my heart had immediately known – it was Steven Spielberg. He was sitting alone, typing furiously into his iPhone, a cup of coffee resting next to him.
This was it. This was the moment I had dreamed about since I was 13 years old. And I really mean that; I would actually day-dream that Steven Spielberg was a friend of my dad and would one day come to our home for dinner. I’ve seen every single interview with the man. To this day I have every single poster of his movies up on the walls of my childhood bedroom back home. I can quote every line and hum every musical queue in every one of his movies, from Jaws to Saving Private Ryan; Close Encounters of the Third Kind to Raiders of the Lost Ark; E.T. to Jurassic Park. Now I had to live up to the promise I had made myself many years ago: if I ever had the chance to speak to Steven Spielberg I had to take it. Being an extremely shy person, this was no easy feat. However, I did not hesitate for a single moment. I took a deep breath, and I walked towards him –
“Mr. Spielberg”, I said in a confident voice that concealed just how terrified I was.
“Yes” He looked up from his iPhone and straight at me over his glasses.
“I just wanted to tell you how much I love your movies”, I barely managed to spit out. My heart was beating extremely fast now.
“Oh thank you, thank you so much”, replied Mr. Spielberg as he stretched out his hand to meet mine, “What’s your name?”
“Daniel”. At this point I pleasantly realized Steven Spielberg was engaging in a conversation with me. At the same time, I tried to block from my mind the fact that Steven Spielberg was engaging in a conversation with me.
“I am from Madrid, Spain. Used to be an engineer, but just loved film so much I decided to come here to pursue my dreams.” My voice quivered a little; I was no longer able to conceal just how petrified I was. My legs were jell-o by this point.
“Quite a journey you’ve taken!” he said, slightly overwhelmed with the amount of information. “Where do you work?” He then asked me, with genuine interest.
“I work here” I pointed at the glass doors, not unlike E.T. pointing out of Elliott’s window towards his “home”.
“Oh really. Which department?”
“I work for Rupert Batch. We do the financial modeling and back-end deal analysis. We work with Shelly a lot”. I surprised myself with this sentence. Not because it’s not true; it is. But because despite my nervousness I was able to think on my feet and give him the name of his lawyer – someone I know he speaks with often.
“Oh, yeah, I know Shelly. What’s great about that is you’re getting to see both aspects of the film industry. Well perhaps one day we work together!” He said very matter-of-factly, surely not grasping that these are words I will take to my grave one day with a smile on my face.
“Yah”, was my clever response. But then quickly decided to launch into an all-encompassing life pitch: “so yeah...I used to work in something unrelated back home, you know, liked what I did, but my passion just laid elsewhere. So I came here to pursue my dreams”. After a beat I passionately added: “And I can’t tell you how much I love and how important your movies were to me growing up.”
“Thank you, thank you very much”, he said in the most heartfelt and humble tone.
At this point I realized this was a good moment to make my exit – I had told him everything I would want to tell him. Not even in my wildest dreams could I have imagined a one-on-one conversation like the one I had just had with Steven Spielberg. Why ruin it by stretching it beyond its natural conclusion? I also knew very soon an army of super Agents, just like the ones in The Matrix, would come to whisk him away to his meeting. If they saw me there casually talking with Their Number One ClientTM, I could get in serious trouble.
“Thank you. Well, have a good day”, I said as I walked away, and added: “sorry to have bothered you”.
“Oh no, no bother” he replied, as he went back to his iPhone.