Up until today my best New York celebrity sighting was a toss up between Sex and the City stars Chris Noth and Cynthia Nixon. The first spotted shooting a Law and Order: Criminal Intent episode on W. 26th Street and the latter with her girlfriend attending Kiki & Herb Alive on Broadway. But today that was all blown away. I spied Ira Glass in the Chelsea Whole Foods. My heart caught in my throat. There, puzzling over the four-for-two-dollars conventional yellow corn stood the man, nay, god, of This American Life. Awed by his dorkness—the signature glasses, the lanky frame, oh, to hear an "um" in person—I fled to the Californian nectarines ($2.99 a pound).
What to say? I am your biggest fan? I want to be you? I want to marry you and have a brood of pop culturally astute intellectuals with hearts of gold? And not sound like one of the ranks of women who swoon over his PRI (and now Showtime) dulcet (okay, peanut butter on roof of mouth) tones. (An ex used to do the best impression of Ira saying "each week we choose a theme, and bring you three or four stories on that theme." Sigh. I think that's why I fell for him.) But really, This American Life's narrative arcs have had a huge impact on how I write and edit, pushing me to get to the story behind the story. The personal and the meta. How can I put all that in one "You are fabulous" gulp?
My aunt would tell me to simply thank Ira for his work, but in the end I said nothing. I think he saw me fish-eyeing and he sidestepped over to the organic hothouse tomatoes. I grabbed a pint of New Jersey blueberries and hit the dairy aisle, still pining for a little nerve.