Thursday, April 15, 2004

Annie Mezzacappa...

This is the third in a series about people I know. Annie's the first woman I've written about - before Rosa, even! Why? Well, she's helping me with this personal injury claim. You see, last year I got whiplash and she's helping me get it sorted out before it's too late.

You see, she's an attorney.

Briefly, Annie is one of the most talented, flighty, scatter-brained, smart, savvy, real, feeling people I know. She's not a half-way person. She doesn't jump into something - she dives!

I first met Annie back when I did "40 Carats" at the Cabrillo Theater down in San Clemente. It's still my favorite show. Out of the show, I gained so many friends: Chris, Sheryl, Lori, Steve, and, of course, Annie.

I didn't know Annie right away. She had to go into the hospital. So, when she did join the show, I was far less comfortable with her than with everyone else. Then, she started bringing these gourmet pretzels into rehearsal... and I fell madly in love... with the pretzels...

After that show, Sherryl and I became romantic... actually, it wasn't romance really... it was really just hormones... well, Sherryl and I became attracted and entangled. This ended poorly and thank my lucky stars I learned my lesson and Lori and Annie and I are still friends, at least!

After the show one night, a lot of the cast went to a local bar, where they had karaoke. Amidst a host of barfly-ettes screaming for me to take them home, I sang "A Wink and A Smile"... which scored me major points with Sherryl but that's a different story. Annie remembered me singing that, though, as you'll see.

I remember the cast party for "40 Carats", when Sheryl and I took off to a place where we thought we could be alone. Entangled, though still on our feet, Annie walked in to ask where the bathroom was... it was, um, awkward.

Later, at the same party, it was Lori and Annie (my dual muses) who goaded me into writing my first play.

Do you want an example of how Annie is? Last year, Steve threw a party at his old apartment. I went, Rosa-less though we were dating at the time, and Annie was pretty much the only person I knew. She told me how she'd just had her chakras realigned. Having studied kundalini, I knew about chakras... but I didn't quite believe like she did. I'm not big on belief. I'm big on proof, evidence, facts. Belief I can take or leave. Annie has belief to spare. Deities, people, ideals - she believes in them enough for both of us. And so she talked about her chakras as if they were real... and I listened as though they were theory.

I also talked about Rosa. Heck, when don't I? Annie asked, "What happened to your wink and smile?" I hadn't a clue what she was talking about until she told me about that night at karaoke. While I'd just been trying to make time with Sherryl, Annie had taken this moment and made it relevant to the present. I never cease to be amazed how such random moments of your life intersect, fuse, and create meaning. Annie would probably contend it's not so random, but again, that's where we differ.

And, so, whenever I would get discouraged and think I might lose Rosa, she'd remind me to "wink and smile".

Then, one night, we went to see "About Schmidt" together. Fabulous film. I made a crack during the many pre-film commercials. We laughed at the trailers. And when we got into this movie, this film about a man who finds himself all alone in life, my heart began to break because it seemed so terribly similar. Without Rosa, I too felt all alone.

She put her hand on my arm and I knew I wasn't. "I'm fine," I said, and I was.

My friends are so very good to me and it's nice to include Annie among them.

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