I met Anthony Natale at a New Year’s Eve party.
I went to a big party with a Deaf friend–thanks, Alana, for warning me to bring ear plugs; the Deaf party LOUDLY–and on the drive down we chatted about what we’d been up to over the holidays. I couldn’t shut up about this movie I’d just seen in sneak preview, Mr. Holland’s Opus. I am such a sucker for inspirational-teacher movies. And Alana thought maybe she knew one of the actors. Spoiler alert: She did.
I try never to fan-girl. I wish it was because I’m too cool, but mostly it’s because I’m too Canadian. I can’t bring myself to believe the way to express admiration for someone’s work is to interrupt them while they’re going about their lives. [Consequently, I have let many people I admire walk past without ever telling them how remarkable they are. Sorry about that.]
But Alana spotted Anthony when he arrived, I recognized him from the movie, and she knew him well enough to introduce us. I took the chance to say, in very broken ASL, that I had already seen his new movie and loved it.
It wasn’t a long conversation, or an important one, except for this: ASL is a very eavesdrop-able language. And all it took was one hearing woman awkwardly signing a few brief words about the not-yet-released movie to alert Anthony’s old friends and community to his latest career success, and kick off the congratulations.
I’m just kinda proud of that, the time I fan-girled and it wasn’t awful.