Friday, August 27, 2010

The Obamas are on Martha's Vineyard and I'm driving with the motorcade

As Vineyarders, we play it cool with celebrities. Over the years, this well- publicized nonchalance has emerged as our calling card. Live and let live is our collective motto, a motto that we some- times even adhere to.
So what if Carly Simon just walked past me? Ho hum.
There’s Ted Danson watching his wife, Mary Steenburgen, chuck skillets at the Agricultural Fair. That’s nice, but honestly I’m here to watch Kara Shemeth, the women’s skillet-throw record holder, an Edgartown resident, and a land surveyor.
And no, I don’t know where David Letterman lives. I don’t care where he lives. Well fine, if he invited me over for dinner, I might be able to find his place.
Some of us even pretended that President Obama and his family might have chosen Martha’s Vineyard for their vacation spot last summer because of our cool ways; we said we’d give them an opportunity to enjoy some quiet, private family time.
Ha. As soon as the first family arrived
on the Island, we ditched the cool. Our collective heart started to flutter. We swooned like young girls in the forties did over Frank Sinatra. Our inner-Fonzie, where we nurture our own Happy Days king of cool, retreated into the abyss and unleashed a bunch of dorky Potsies. I was among them – although those who know me well might say that my inner-Potsie lurks dangerously close to the surface, even on a good day.
After dropping my daughter off for a horseback-riding lesson on a gloriously sun-soaked August afternoon, I found myself driving directly behind the presidential motorcade. I couldn’t believe my luck. And to think, I had just complained about feeling trapped in a perpetual cycle of drop-offs and pick-ups. Had I not spent the summer fine-tuning my chauffeuring skills, the chances of finding myself behind the Obamas would have diminished exponentially. I whipped out my phone and started calling people. Everyone I spoke to seemed duly impressed with my accomplishment.
“You’re right behind them?” 
“Practically driving next to them,” I said. 
I was driving with the Obamas – spending some quality time in our respective cars together.
I started to wonder if I looked tired. Earlier I had noticed the circles under my eyes seemed to be drooping down toward my chin. Oh no. I panicked. I bet I looked like hell.
I reached across to the passenger seat and found a tube of lipstick. It had melted into a gel-like mass of glop from sitting in a hot car all week. It didn’t matter. I dipped my forefinger into the lipstick canister and applied Revlon’s Perfectly Plum goo to my lips.
Did I really think the Obamas might look in their rearview mirror and see me? Did I for a second believe the motorcade might stop and I’d meet the first family? And if it did, would it have mattered that I wasn’t wearing lipstick?
Or a bra? 
Oh no. I wasn’t wearing a bra. 
I drove on, turned right toward home. There’s always next time.

(This essay was originally published in Martha's Vineyard magazine)

1 comment:

  1. So funny Kate! I was on the phone with my Mom when the motorcade drove past her and I got minute-by-minute commentary detailing the cars, no human beings sighted... I was way too excited.