Oops, I Just Felt My Quantum Leap
Trip Start Apr 01, 1979
62Trip End Ongoing
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When I first heard that Scott Bakula (May I call him Scott?), was singing and acting in a Civil War era musical, I wasted no time in slyly convincing my girlfriend that she not only wanted to go, but that she absolutely wouldn't go without me. I of course protested vehemently, saying that musicals were for girls, kids and puppies, but eventually relented. "Yes," I said, "I will take you to see the show. By the way, did you bring your credit card because I forgot mine?" She had of course. "That's great because we should buy the tickets right now." "Oh!" I quickly interjected, "since I'm taking you to this play you should at least buy me a fancy dinner beforehand." She thought that was only fair. I told her to make reservations, but not some cheap place like on her birthday, something with some real pizzazz.
So a few weeks later we were walking down through the city, our belly full of French food from the fancy little bistro dubbed Chez Something French, headed out towards the play. I was nervous, sweat dripping from my brow. The anticipation of the evening was almost too much for me to bear. I asked my girlfriend for her kerchief, but she apparently was not from the early 19th century and wasn't actually carrying one. I instead mopped my brow with her hair. She asked what I was doing. "I was just smelling your hair, sweetheart. Is that Herbal Essence that you use? Mmmm, you smell good!" She blushed. I'm sure her heart also felt the rush of blood as she slowly plotted how she would make me happy every second of the rest of her life. While her heart fluttered, and visions of my offspring playing on grass enclosed behind a white picket, I continued to worry. Perhaps, I thought, Scott will be ill and have his stand-in play the part. Perhaps they will announce before the start of the show, "Tonight, filling in for Scott Bakula... Nathan Lane!" Oh the horror of it all made my sweat go cold. My hands were getting numb, and my feet felt as if they were marching through sand. I was disabled by pure dread.
When we found our seats, I noticed a vent streaming down torrents of cold air over one of the chairs. I ushered my girlfriend into that position. "The view will be better from here. I don't mind straining my eyes a bit." Plus, I get cold easily in those big dark theaters. Luckily I had brought my jacket. I felt bad for her, though, as she had left hers at home. Twas a pity, especially given her location under the vent, but perhaps it would be a valuable lesson learned.
When finally the play began, Scott did indeed take up the reins of the production. And 'Oh Boy' can that guy act! But he also sings, and sings with a voice that is so smooth and sweet, that I could've rosined my violin bow on the tones wafting through the air about me. Of course, I don't own a violin, not to mention a bow, so that particular event seemed unlikely. I wept of course, but only at the most appropriate times. I was angry (Grrrr!) when I was supposed to be angry. And I laughed hysterically, shaking my head in disbelief as they had surely pulled the wool over my eyes with a little funny joke stuck in here and there. The play was a smash!
After the final curtain, with my hands throbbing from the continuous applause that I had lavished upon the entire cast (and by entire cast I mean only Scott Bakula), my girlfriend and I chatted and stayed in our seats as the theatre emptied. She said, smiling, "that was really good, thanks for taking me. You know, I read somewhere that Scott Bakula is actually a pretty nice guy and stays around to sign autographs after the shows." I replied to her that it was interesting I guess, but wherever she had learned this information was probably a less than reliable source. "But you sent me the article and it was an interview with him in the Washington Post." She obviously was dead set on proving a point, but I was none the wiser. "Oh I actually didn't read that article, that's what I have you for." She went on to describe how he would come out afterwards and sign until everyone had gone home. I thought it was absolutely ridiculous and said we should leave and go get a drink.
As we slid outside, I noticed a small crowd gathering around an exit door for the actors. Some of the lesser players were already outside scribbling their names on playbills and napkins. I clutched my girlfriend's hand and pulled her slowly in that direction. When we approached the crowd, I asked what it was all about. She answered brusquely that it was where people waited for autographs, just as we had been speaking about. "Bah!" I said. What a stupid practice. My feet, though, stayed glued in place. Suddenly, she muttered, "I'm tired, can we go?" But it's such a nice night, I protested and gazed upwards. "Let's just stay here for a bit and breathe in the fresh air." And there we stood, breathing presumably fresh air in the heart of downtown DC, with buses and taxis streaming past. Coincidentally we were still very close to the actors exit door, a positional circumstance, I assured her, that had zero to do with the imminent arrival of Dr. Sam Beckett.
30 minutes later... as the crowd had thinned to only a handful of dedicated souls, he arrived. His hair was wispy and gray, his skin taught and tan, and he looked, despite his fitness, to be a man mired in the latter stages of middle age. My girlfriend asked me what I was staring at, and I replied, "I am looking at the face of an angel, yet this angels wings, clipped ever so close, have cursed him to an existence here on Earth with us mere plebeians. What a crime upon this world! What a stain upon humanity!" She coughed.
I pushed my way towards him. A group of three girls stood in my way. He spoke, "Where are you from?" His voice was soft and sweet like honey. "We're from Mexico City," they replied. "Wow!" he began, "you came all this way just to see me." They giggled their response. From somewhere I heard a large chortle arriving deep from within someone's gut. It seemed to be coming from behind, but when I looked around I realized the laugh was from me. My body and mind had separated, and I was now under the control only of Bakula's eyes. The Mexi-gals left and there I was, face to face with him.
"I've come all the way from Dupont Circle just to see you," I said. "Dupont Circle?!" Scott replied. "Yes," I said, "it was nearly a 20 minute walk." And then he too was laughing, and all caused by me. I wanted to reach out to him, to hold him, to tell him I understood. I wanted to stroke his wispy hair and say, "It's not your fault. I love you. It's not your fault!" But I merely held out my playbill in one hand, with my pen in the other and watched as he scrawled out his signature. And then, like a crumbling leaf in a closed fist after the first winter's chill, he was gone. He had forever left my life. I didn't notice until I was halfway home that I had been crying. My girlfriend had long ago left to go to a bar to drink the night away and wonder how she could ever touch an incorrigibly strange person like me, but I didn't care. For those were not tears of anger or pain, they were tears of shear joy. For once, even if only a moment, I had embraced eternity. Happiness was my sole reward.