Before A Monster Calls was released, I was invited to interview the cast, director, and writer. I was excited for the opportunity to interview Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, J.A Bayona, and Patrick Ness. I was also relieved to get something off my chest. Many years ago, I was rude to Sigourney Weaver and I was relieved to finally get the opportunity to apologize. I’m sure she has no recollection of my insolent behavior, but I remember it well. I’m not a rude person, but over 12 years ago, Ms. Weaver met a worn-out dad.
I was a brand-new dweller in the world of fatherhood and my new title of “daddy” overwhelmed me. I was sleeping a couple of hours a night, not just because my newborn son was keeping me up, but I was paranoid something would go wrong during the night. Each night I stared at my son’s chest while it rose and descended. Occasionally I would place my hand upon his heart, just to make sure everything was still working.
There was more than being a new dad that robbed me of energy. I was also an aspiring actor and my wife was a third-year law student. My wife was in school during the day and I worked at a Barnes and Noble at night. In the mornings, it was me and my baby. I did not grow up around kids and babies were foreign to me. My baby and I had an amazing time getting to know each other during those early months. Being a new father wasn’t the only source of stress. My wife and I would meet at the Lexington Ave. subway platform and pass our son from one to the other. With a quick goodbye kiss, I would be off to work and my wife would head home. This was our afternoon activity every day during the week. By the time I would get to work, I would be sweaty from dragging a stroller up and down subway stairs, be sleep deprived from the new parent life, and anxious about raising a human being.
One particular day, I was standing at the information desk at Barnes and Noble. My eyes were blurry and bloodshot for reasons I listed above. My head was hurting and in need of a giant cup of coffee. Customer after customer passed in front of me in hopes I would find their book. Leaning against the edge, a woman approached the desk and asked me to look up a couple of books. And so I did and told her where to find them. That is a big no-no in the Barnes and Noble community. You’re supposed to take them to the book and place it in their hands. But I was tired and didn’t want to move. The woman left and came back shortly after being unable to find the book. I descended from my grumpy perch and lead the woman to the section and located her books. Then, the woman kindly asked me about another book and where to find it. I knew where it was and grabbed it for her. The woman had the audacity to ask for more books inside the bookstore! She was nice about it, but I was not nice in retrieving them. I exhaled and walked through the store to the other sections. I placed the stack of books onto her arms and walked back to my dungeon where I could sulk alone. As I stared at the computer screen trying to look busy, but sleeping with my eyes open, another co-worker approached me. Like me, she was an aspiring actor, and we liked to talk about the various celebrities we assisted. She was excited and asked, “What was Sigourney Weaver like?” And then it hit me. My last customer was Sigourney Weaver! I had seen Aliens hundreds of times and Ghostbusters thousands. I had adored her work in Working Girl and Gorillas in the Mist. And I was rude to her!
I will stop here for a second. Yes, I know it shouldn’t matter if someone is a celebrity or not. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness regardless of who they are. We good? All right, let’s move on.
Back to the present.
I was looking forward to finally getting the weight of my behavior off my back and apologize to Ms. Weaver for being a grumpy sleep-deprived dad. Unfortunately, she could not make the interview because of an illness. This long overdue apology will have to do. Sigourney Weaver, I apologize for letting a moment of exhaustion, grumpiness, and new dad smell impede my kindness towards another human being. In fact, I apologize to everyone I waited on that day. Unfortunately, I only remember one person’s name.