Dorothy, We're Not in Berlin Anymore

Some friends appear in your life and then disappear, never to be heard from again. I've had several of these... odd birds. But the most memorable is a woman named Ingrid.

Ingrid was married to a client of mine, a very popular rock n' roll star. He'd met her on tour in Europe. She was a Vogue model and had been on the cover of the German edition several times. Back then as now, rock stars always seem to hook up with models. It's like a must have accessory or something.

Ingrid didn't speak much English and would repeat anything said to her without knowing what it mean. In fact, she would often make up her own pronunciation of many words sending those around her into fits of laughter. It was this trait alone, I believe, why Mr. Rock n Roll married her: he thrived on being a prankster. She was so beautiful she was almost homely. Dress so far ahead of fashion that I believe we're still trying to catch up with her. In short, Inrid was what I called 'high maintenance' on every level. And - she had no girlfriends.

Our first meeting was at a large rehearsal staging area in Hollywood. Ingrid's husband was debuting a new band in front of every major record label decision maker in the business. The buzz on the new band was tremendous. The crowd was a virtual 'who's who' of the music industry. Many of them my clients.

Ingrid was seated just about in the center of the crowd. She motioned me over to an empty seat next to her. As the room quieted down and the lights started to dim, Ingrid suddenly stood up waiving her arms and shouting at the top of her lungs;

"Vait! Vait!"

The room dropped into silence. Complete silence.

Not a soul moved.

"Vee need a schpotlight here." "I vant to show my new girlfriend Jane, sumting"

Huh? Your what? Did you say girlfriend? Wait a minute. I don't recall feeling that spark, that unspoken acknowledgment that we were going to be friends when we first met. And what the hell do you want to show me that takes a spotlight?!

The thought had not finished in my head when there we were, just the two of us, bathed in the brightest damn light you can imagine. Without a second to spare, my question was answered. She grabbed her purse and dumped the entire contents of it into her lap!

"Look here," she said in her very soft voice with a very heavy German accent.

I admit I was afraid to look.

"Since I've decide vee ahr going to be friends, I vant you to see vhat is inside my purse."

Huh?, I thought. Inside your what?! Is this a German thing? You mean to tell me that all eyes in this room are on us, my career is ruined and you're showing me your lipstick, hairspray, nail polish kit, floss, birth control pills, mouthwash, English/German dictnionary, credit cards, photos of family back home (who, by this time I was sure had relocated to Peru) and the remains of a candy bar that you'd forgotten was there?!

At just about the same moment I found my voice so did the announcer and it boomed over the still silent room.

"Uh, Ingrid,"

"Yes?" Ingrid said very softly as she looked up into the bright light.

"Can we start the show now?"

"Vell, ok," she sighed. "But make it quick vill you? I've got so very much to share vit my new girlfriend."

And for the next five years she did. Her favorite movie, "Johann, the Living Sea Goat," her favorite song, "Your Solvang" and the first introduction to a man she'd always wanted to meet "Huge" Hefner. No, no, it's not a typo. She could never pronounce his name correctly and the day she met him for the first time at the Playboy Mansion it went like this:

"Why you must be Ingrid," he said as he approached her with his hand outstretch in greeting.

"Und you must be Huge," she replied in her soft spoken voice with the heavy German accent.

1 comment: