I'll Be There...
Sunday I was feeling ornery. Upon waking, I usually lie in bed meditating and then think of at least five things I'm grateful for. Instead, I jumped out of bed, got dressed and ran out the door. I had to get downtown in a hurry. No time for gratitude. An hour later I got a text to record an emergency voiceover job. I would have to turn around to get back to my booth. I was grumbling on the 405 when I swerved to avoid bags of bread lying in the middle of the road. The car behind me kept his hand on the horn. As he passed me, he honked again. I flipped him the bird. What was wrong? Why was I irritated? Then it hit me: Matthew Perry.
I was working in Colombia in the 90's so I missed the 'Friends' mania. I didn't understand the fascination.They showed reruns when I first arrived in Miami but I always managed to miss them. Who had the patience to get through such a long series about nothing? People would mention scenes to me and quote the show. I stared blankly. I didn't get it. Then the pandemic happened. I figured it was time to plough through the series since I seemed to be the only one in America who hadn't watched 'Friends.' From the first few minutes, I was hooked. I didn't want to get through it quickly so I would force myself to only watch one episode a night. it was like those six people on the screen were my friends; they kept me sane. I could laugh and cry with them, especially because I couldn't go anywhere. There were so many funny, poignant moments. I didn't want the series to end. I loved Matthew Perry's character. Chandler was so cute and endearing in his awkwardness; he was the kind of guy you'd want as a friend forever.
I got off the highway. At the stoplight, there was a tall guy wearing a bandana with a sign 'Plz Help.' I knew I had a twenty dollar bill but I did the pantomime of looking for my wallet, opening and making a face of not finding anything. As the light turned green and I passed him, I realized what an asshole I was being. And then I thought, what would Matthew Perry do? I've read story after story of his kindness, his willingness to help others. I went to Gelson's up the street, got change, and doubled back on the highway so I could get to the exit ramp. I handed the guy on the corner five dollars. He looked straight at me and said, "Thank you ma'am." My eyes stung. Driving back around had been worth it.
Yesterday, I let cars on the highway get in front of me. I waited for a couple to cross the street even though I had the right of way. They smiled as I waved them on. For me, the most valuable moments of the day are when I realize that, no matter how badly I've screwed up, I have the opportunity to begin again, to set myself back on the path. Thanks for reminding me what's important, Matt.
The key to sitcom success is miserable people. If you see a happy couple, it's just gone, like when Sam and Diane got together on Cheers. ----Matthew Perry