I remember the day I first learned that Madonna Louise Ciccone and I have something in common. It was my daughter’s first day of pre-school at Le Petit Paradis, her new French-English bilingual school in Manhattan. The year was 2009, and we (my wife and daughter and I) had just moved to New York City from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
My wife and I both accompanied our 3-year-old daughter on her first day of school to the tiny schoolroom on 3rd Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Street after walking her over from our little 1-bedroom on 78th Street at York Avenue. Previously, the retail space at which the school was situated might have been a Chinese takeout or a deli. It was that small. After the parents filed in with their kids, the place was packed, standing room only, and there we were all of us just staring at our shoes or primping our children. It was awkward for everyone I imagine, and then it just transcended awkward and became surreally uncomfortable.
After everyone had staked out a spot in the room, a final parent, a woman, entered the room with a little girl and another woman (who turned out to be a nanny/assistant). The woman/parent had fake blond hair and was wearing sunglasses that she never removed. The mother was a white woman. The child with her was a cute little black girl dressed in her school uniform. The mother was dressed very unassumingly in black pants that were a little too long so that she had walked on the hems, which were now frayed by her steps. Her top was equally unremarkable, and I don’t even remember what it was now, maybe a sweatshirt. Nonetheless, I knew who this sloppy lady incognito was. I felt it somehow even before I could confirm it with the facts. It was none other than the American singer, songwriter, actress, businesswoman, diva. It was fucking Madonna!
I felt my heart rate increase, not because I’m a big Madonna fan, but just because I was in the same tiny room with Madonna. She was now just a few feet away, and she was playing with her Blackberry as the director of the school started to talk about the upcoming year. The director might was as well have been speaking Chinese (which I do not speak). There was too much activity going on in my brain to focus on the official minutes of my daughter’s first day of school in New York City. Was this an opportunity I wondered? Was I to introduce myself? Did other people know it was Madonna? If they did, no one was letting on. Even my wife who was standing right next to me wasn’t letting on. Maybe I was delusional? The best thing to do was to keep cool and to not look over too much. Is looking over at someone every 20 seconds too much? Was I letting on that I knew? Were the others idiots or just not impressed? So many questions.
to be continued ...