Soooooooo….. Alec Baldwin, his wife, kid and business associate walk out of Vera Wang in Soho and get into an Uber…..
Nope, that’s NOT the set up to a great joke….. that literally happened on Valentine’s Day… Alec Baldwin (and guests) got in! It’s funny because, as a driver – especially in cities like New York and Los Angeles you figure, at some point, somebody famous will get in. Just a couple of weeks ago in LA, Andre 3000 made headlines when he accidentally selected UberPool while heading to a studio session with Kanye West and other artists appearing on Ye’s new album The Life of Pablo. Apparently, when Three Stacks landed at LAX, he ended up having to share a car with a fan, a young woman he invited to join him at the all star studio session. If I HAD BEEN DRIVING, ultimate Andre Benjamin fan that I am, I surely would have invited myself to be his second guest at Yeezy’s session! I could just hear him saying, “Y’all, this is my Uberlicious driver, Fly Mai!”
But, as much of a super fan as I can be, I also know how to not bother people who seem to not want to be bothered. As was the case when I realized that Alec Baldwin was getting in. I was driving in the East Village when I got the request to pick up a passenger named “Alexander” on Mercer Street in Soho. It wasn’t until I turned onto the street that I realized that I’d be going to Vera Wang, and I immediately made up in my mind the type of client that would be getting in. Alexander was going to a gay fashion stylist in big designer shades with a tiny dog in a Vuitton carrier. Or some sort of character getting dolled up for V-Day! When I arrived, the traffic was so bad that I actually was parked in front of Marc Jacobs across the street and texted “Alexander” that I wasn’t able to come to the front of the store. But immediately after, I saw a break in the flow of cars and was able to inch up to the front of Vera Wang. That’s when I noticed the unmistakable face of the 30 Rock star hurrying out of the store and appearing to be looking for a car. Walking up to my driver’s side window he asked, “Are you Mai?” to which I smiled, “Yep!” even though I wanted to respond, “Are you Alec Baldwin????” But, no need to ask questions of celebrities where the answer is apparent, right? Just as quickly as he confirmed my identity, out came his wife holding an infant, and another acquaintance of theirs. They were a charming bunch that, before getting into their own conversation, asked how my day was going to which I replied, “It’s Valentine’s Day! I’m great!!”
One thing that is very REAL about driving Uber is that whether it’s a widely known celebrity or your average group of friends, once they get in, all manner of private and sensitive conversations take place. I’ve had people get in and discuss business dealings, some planning the details of funerals, and others get in discussing salacious sexual exploits from the night before among themselves. Every now and again, someone asks my opinion on what they’re talking about, but generally speaking, I take an unseen/unheard approach of transporting people around. I generally play my music without really caring to be in people’s business. But, I can’t lie. The conversation that went on between Alec, his wife and associate was so intriguing that I wondered if they realized how invested I was as a listener! Of course I have no intentions of revealing the details of that conversation here, but the one topic they discussed that I could totally empathize with had to do with the intrusiveness of paparazzi in their daily lives. In a new article entitled “The Digital Dirt” by The New Yorker, which covers how TMZ gets their dirt on celebs, Baldwin recounts a time “when my greatest wish was to stab Harvey Levin with a rusty implement and watch his entrails go running down my forearm, in some Macbethian stance…” and ends with “he is a festering boil on the anus of American media.” So, yeah. Adds perspective to the desire for “privacy” in an age where celebrity equates public consumption of your private life.
Considering the whole encounter, what is most crazy enchanting to me is that just two days before I had been watching a Sex In The City marathon on Oxygen Network, and every third commercial between episodes was the Amazon Echo Alec Baldwin/Jason Schwartzman Day After Super Bowl ad. I had literally laughed at the commercial no less than 15 times in a row and had decided that it was, in fact, my favorite ad of Super Bowl 2016 (because, quite frankly, I thought most the other commercials sucked!). So, like, if he hadn’t been talking shop with his wife and associate, and tending to his kid, I would have totally repeated my favorite line to Alec Baldwin, “My poor cashmere socks! Alexa! Reorder another pair of Brescianis…!”