The following happened almost two weeks ago when my friend Leigh came down from Seoul. We both know of a guy in his mid-30s who is suddenly and completely obsessed with making it big in the music business. He wants to be a star. Now.
We met up with Val and went to a bar and saw this guy doing his final performance with his band before he struck out on his own. During the show, my mind ran in the usual expected way: Damn, stardom. Understandable to want it. He is talented, but is it realistic? This is kind of like a Zelda Fitzgerald thing. She was too old to be a ballerina; it drove her nuts. I hope it doesn't drive [this guy] nuts...
After the show, we had a few drinks and left the bar. As we walked up to the main street to get a taxi, we started talking about how it was too bad the band broke up. I said, "Well I guess [he's] got to follow his dream." Then Leigh said, "He's kind of like Zelda Fitzgerald, wanting to be a ballerina when she was too old."
I said, "Oh my God, I can't believe you just said that! I was thinking exactly that -- about Zelda -- back at the bar!"
I really was surprised. Leigh reads, but she's not a Johnny-One-Note like me. She's actually pretty well-rounded -- interested in things like politics, religion, global affairs, diverse cultures, good food, wine, and bicycles, not necessarily in that order. It seemed like the chances both of us would land on that same rather obscure literary reference would be pretty slim.
Her remark stayed with me for several days. Then I remembered that she said she'd recently read The Paris Wife. I haven't read it yet (really want to), but figured there must be something about Zelda in it, since the Hemingways and the Fitzgeralds were in Paris at the same time in the early 20s.
I couldn't stand it. I had to know, so I Facebooked Leigh: