A friend gave my book to a rock star, and the rock star emailed to invite me over for a chat. This was wonderful news. Rock stars have fans and books need to be promoted. I went to the rock star’s recording studio on a sunny spring day and watched him eat food without gluten, dairy, or apparent flavor. He offered me some, but I declined. Other than that, we got along. He was really smart for a rock star, though I don’t have a wide acquaintance.
He walked me to the subway and, to my delight and surprise, kissed me. A few days later, he invited me for a date.
Meals with rock stars sound very glamorous, unless they are epiphytes subsisting on nutrients derived from air. He found a rare Japanese cult cuisine that included fish and sake amongst its otherwise Spartan kibble and kale. I ordered beer and bland noodles, the rock star ate celery and dandelion fuzz and told me about rehab.
It was not his first go at the 12 steps – there were two or three other tries – but unlike the first 36, he meant all 12 this time. He talked so openly about recovery there was nothing anonymous about it. He was addicted to AA.
This wasn’t going very well. I celebrate my vices. They are mostly in check, most of the time. Sometimes I take them for a walk and admire them. But not often and I clean up afterwards. I apologized when I ordered the second beer, inviting a screed about some nuance of step 4, or maybe it was 11.
He hated meat. He told me astronauts should become vegetarians because meat weighs too much to send into orbit. NASA was raising miniature sheep to feed a colony on Mars and that’s why he was against the manned space program. I reckon astronauts should eat what they want, they put their life on the line for science, but maybe it could be jerky, since flocks of dwarf ruminants are resource intensive for a planet with no water.
Our meatless meal ended shortly thereafter; he had to go DJ and I had to go to bed. Another walk to the subway and another kiss? This one was different. It felt like the embarrassed pecks on the lips boys gave girls in middle school. This kiss was adolescent and weird. So too, I thought, was the rock star. He said he wanted to see me again.
Then he canceled date after potential date. I was traveling when he had nothing to do. Then he was traveling, spreading the gospel of cud. It was a holiday weekend and we were supposed to get together when he sent me a photo essay of all the things he’d seen on a bike ride to the Cloisters:
A flower in bloom.
A gargoyle enraged.
The coast of New Jersey.
A squished, bloody mouse half-eaten by maggots.
Yick, I emailed.
That’s so funny, you eat meat and think a picture of a dead mouse is gross, he wrote.
I told him I don’t eat mice.
It was the email equivalent of a yank to my pigtails. He kept passing me notes for the next few weeks, but the next date never materialized. In response to the missives, I finally asked if he liked my book, if maybe he could say something to his 1.7 million Twitter followers?
Thus was the rock star silenced.