Waiting for Wild Bill
By ice rivers
One remarkable afternoon, I was sitting at a booth in Kennedy airport slamming some suds with my brother Deke while waiting on Wild Bill to pick us up for a weekend of irresponsibility.
Naturally, Bill being capricious from the get go was already two hours late. Responding in kind, I took the opportunity to waste even more money with the rest of the clubless apes on overpriced beers drafted at the airport watering hole.
While in the midst of this activity, I happened to notice a guy sitting at the bar. The guy had his back turned to me. Apparently, he too was waiting for his connectoion because every ten miutes or so I could hear him say to the barkeep, "I'll have another one please" witha sorta under control yet fighting panic quality to his request.
The guy was in the bar before I got there and I'd been there a couple of hours. I figured our consciousnesses were at the same level of disarray. I never saw the guy's face but something about the tone of his voice reminded me of the voice of the astronaut in 2001 who on the Jupiter Mission gets locked out of his ship by the computer and trying to keep his composure under control without panicking, keeps insisting that the computer open the portal for him to retake control of the ship.
"I'll have another one please" sounded exactly like "Open the pod bay door, Hal" to my altered listning.
Judging from the size of the guy's back and the fact that this was Kennedy Airport, the possibility did exist that this was in fact Keir Dullea, the actor from 2001.
I passed my perception on to my brother. I said "Listern to the way this guy says 'I'll have another one please'. I think that's the guy from 2001".
My brother equally committed to his beerz but still acutely attentive to timbre detail, laughed at my Bud soaked perception. Childishly egged on by his laughter, I decided to approach the guy at the bar.
I took a seat on a stool next to him. I ordered yet another brewski and got a side view. The side view kept me in the ballpark. The guy ordered another drink and the recognition possibilty grew even stronger.
Finally, I tapped the guy on the shoulder and said "Excuse me, are you Keir Dullea?"
The man turned to me and before he spoke I knew, holy shit he's the guy.
Keir said "Yes I am, do I know you."
I said "not really but you're in one of my favorite movies....2001. I've seen that movie ten times and even though I love it, Im not sure what it's about."
Keir said that it was one of his favorite movies as well but he wasn't real sure what it was about either. He thought it was "somewthing about God". Apparently he had been called by Kubrick, accepted the job...worked on his scenes for a month or so and then left the production not knowing anymore about the entire project then what he had experienced while acting in it. He told me that when he saw the movie after it's release, he was "stunned."
We carried on a conversation for about fifteen minutes. I told him I was a teacher and he told me how much he respected the profession and how flattered he was that I recognized him.
A great guy.
I excused myself and went back to my table where a great commotion had taken place as Wild Bill finally arrived. I had enough respect for Dullea's provacy that I didn't tell Bill about what had just happened.
When my brother asked, I said "yep, it was him. check him out and let's get outta here before this whole thing gets too absurd". Deacon took a look. I could tell he was astonished by the whole situation.
We started to head out of the airport in a huge, blurry hurry considering we were already an hour late for that night's concert.
Bill started relating the wild excuses he had for being so late. I told him don't worry about it. Let's make the most of tonight, after all as Noel Coward once said "Keir Dullea, gone tomorrow."