A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 240: Brazilian TV Meets the American Writer

February 23rd · 1 Comment

The announcement appeared on the refrigerator: “A Brazilian Television Show Is Here at 2 p.m. Today to Do a Segment on Paragraph. Anyone Interested in Being Interviewed, Tell Lila.”

The Brazilians didn’t arrive until three, I observed as I pretended to read a book in the corner of the lunchroom. They bustled in fresh and laughing, a cameraman and a sound guy and a short squat girl with a clipboard and two other women who were very beautiful. Each was young and dark-haired and lively with that spark that Brazilians have. I guessed that the on-camera talent was the woman in the shiny purple tights.

She also wore a peasant blouse and over that, a white hoodie covered with dramatic blotches and shards of color that looked very 1985. As she stood there, she showed off the hoodie’s special feature. It zipped up, all the way over her face, until it enveloped her head, and then you could see that crazy eyes had been printed on the hoodie. Presto! The doe-eyed Brazilian newscaster is a cartoon lizard with purple legs! Everyone giggled like crazy when she did this.

By everyone I mean the Brazilians, since the lunchroom was empty except for me staring at a book in the corner and a shaggy guy working at his laptop. Sometimes another writer would slip out from the quiet room and pour herself a coffee.  Apparently no one had offered to be interviewed. That’s the difference between writers and TV people: Writers prefer to sidle along the walls while TV people sashay around in skin-tight purple pants.

The crew cornered the shaggy guy, who wore an olive green Che Guevara jacket and three days of stubble. Purple Tights, unzipped now, sat next to him and asked questions while the cameraman followed the back-and-forth.

Why do you work here, Purple Tights leaned in to ask, when the library or home is also nice? He chuckled wearily. “My apartment is small,” he said, “and working there would drive me crazy.”

The interview went on for quite some time, so long that I got impatient pretend-reading and almost got up to leave. Just then the interview ended and, having no other quarry, the cameraman looked over and asked if I’d like to be interviewed. Who, me? Well, why not!

Then I was surrounded by lights and people, the camera guy taped a lavalier mike under my sweater, and I suddenly wished I hadn’t cut my bushy hair the other day, or had a torn shirt, or somehow looked a little more…disreputable. The other beautiful woman, the one with blue eyes, sat off-camera and asked me why I worked at Paragraph.

“It’s much better than working from home because you have a community.”

“Is it a community?”

“It is sort of one. A small one anyway. At least it’s better than the library because at the library there isn’t a lunchroom where you can chat with people.”

“Thank you,” Blue Eyes said. And then they turned the lights off and untaped the mike and the short fat one gave me a release to sign. That’s it? I pretended to read five chapters for that little chat? What, am I not shaggy enough for you people?

If you give me a paper cut, do I not bleed?

I learned that the crew is doing a series on how crazy life is in New York. If you happen to be in Brazil in a month or two – or three or four, no one’s quite sure what will happen to the footage –  turn on “Lugar Incomun” (Uncommon Place) at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday on Multishow, “the most watched pay entertainment channel in Brazil in the 18 to 34 age group and in total individual viewers,” according to their promotional materials.

If they choose to show the quiet, nerdy side of New York, Paragraph might just make it. I might appear briefly as The Writer Who Doesn’t Look Like One. In any case you’re likely to see a lizard.

Tags: Entertainment · Personalities · Schmoozing · Sights & Scenes

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Sulley // Feb 28, 2009 at 1:11 am

    It’s a shame your 15 minutes of fame will be 5,000 miles away and dubbed in a husky portuguese voice.

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