Cookie and Cigarettes

What could he have been thinking? Perhaps, "I wonder if that homeless girl is going to ask me for money?"

I passed Jim Jarmusch once near the Bowery Whole Foods in Manhattan. He was rockin' that crazy _Eraserhead_ hairdo and drawing hard on a cigarette. He was taller than I'd thought he was and wearing a signature patterned button-down shirt, looking real cool, even though it was damn hot.

I had been walking for about an hour in that heat, and I did not look cool. I was dirty and sweaty and bedraggled, and I was wearing an ugly, unevenly faded pair of cropped khaki pants with a blood stain on the leg that were really only good for being dirty and sweaty and bedraggled in. But even if I had looked cool, I wouldn't have, because I was also trying to shove half of a very crumbly cookie about the size of my fist into my decidedly un-fist-sized mouth. This futile square-peg-into-oblong-hole effort had spattered spelty debris all over my chin and chest. In addition to being elephantine, the cookie was fairly dry, which made it that much more difficult not to choke when my brain stage-whispered, "Hey! That's Jim Jarmusch! Holy crap, that's _Jim Jarmusch_! Jim Jarmusch, who made _Down by Law_ and _Night on Earth_ and _Dead Man_ and _Broken Flowers_! Jesus, don't look at him! Not with your cheeks all puffed out like a hamster's around that mouthful of cookie you can't swallow and that trail of grimy crumbs parading into your cleavage. Stop it! Stop looking! He'll know and then he'll look at you, and then he'll see you, and it'll be _awful._ Oh, my God, don't look. _Don't look!_"

But it was too late. I was lost in the beautifully confident ease of the hand holding his cigarette, of his stride, and I stared dead into his face, like a possum in love with a Goodyear TripleTred. Our eyes met, and we held the gaze for what seemed like an impossibly long time. What could he have been thinking? Perhaps, "I wonder if that homeless girl is going to ask me for money? Or maybe even an autograph? Either way, I can always burn her with my cigarette and run." Or maybe, "Man, how stoned do you have to be to eat that much cookie in those pants in public?" Maybe something less complicated, like, "Please don't talk to me."

But then again, it could have been something entirely different, something thoughtful or even touching, such as, "Now that looks like a girl who would love a juniper titmouse." Who knows? No one but Jim, which means I will never know. And honestly, since what's done is done and I can't change any part of it, I guess I'd be equally willing to accept any of the above.

He didn't try to burn me, anyway, so there's that.


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