Got your attention there, didn’t I, ladies? Don't worry, I'm not just trying to fool you; this really is about him.
I recently read about a lady who was in line to get ice cream on a hot summer day in Hollywood, and found that Robert Redford was standing in line behind her. Naturally, she got flummoxed, wanting to tell him how much she loved his films, and if she’s anything like me, wouldn’t at all mind simply staring and soaking up his beauty while she could.
He must be used to female types gaping like dying fish, and wanting to be nice, he said something about it being a hot day. She said she was so ticked at herself that all she could do, in this opportunity of a lifetime to charm Robert Redford, was say, “Yeah, hot day,” step up to the counter and tell the girl, “Strawberry, please.”
As I read this, I screamed at my computer, “You idiot! Why didn’t you tell him a story?! He was obviously willing to talk, if you had just given him an opening!” I sat mocking her for the “Yeah, hot day” line a few minutes till I could calm down and remember that most people are not natural storytellers; they can’t come up with a good story at the drop of a Robert Redford like I can, because I have a thousand of them in my head at any one time.
If it had been me, remembering a great line from one of my favorite movies of his, I’d have told him about my retired Army tank mechanic friend John, who’d bought a half assembled gyrocopter at a yard sale. Between him and his aviation mechanic friends, they got it flyable, for the most part.
I’d tell Robert that John said his first hour of flying instruction was absolutely terrifying; he used either too much power or not enough, and took innumerable nose dives the instructor had to pull him out of if he couldn’t do it himself before they crash landed. He said it was just like learning to drive his dad’s stick shift when he was fourteen, except now, he was five hundred feet in the air, with no place to go but down; quickly.
Hopefully, I’d have my fellow blue-eyed blondy’s attention by that time, and I’d tell him that the first thing John’s flying instructor told him was that, with gyrocopters, it’s never a matter of if you will have to make an emergency landing, it’s a matter of when. Apparently the guy was right; in his very first solo flight, John ended up in somebody’s cow field. Fortunately, the farmer had watched him land, and came out with his tractor to pull him out of the cow shit.
By that point, we would have our ice cream, and I’d get to the point of my story. I’d say, “John had to drive six hours each way over three weekends to get enough instruction to earn his license.” Then I’d ask Robert, “Do you remember your line in ‘Out of Africa’ when your character Denis first bought the air plane and Karen asked when you had learned to fly?” I’d hope he would flash me that famous smile and quote, “Yesterday.” Then of course, he’d ask me to come eat dinner with his family because I’m such a fascinating conversationalist, you know. I understand he has a really sweet Golden Retriever it would be fun to play with.