Last night I went to a movie on West 55th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, just as the Pope was appearing at St. Patrick’s Cathedral a few blocks away on Fifth Avenue. I was meeting friends, but I got there early, and a few minutes later, when my friends arrived, they couldn’t get to the theater because the entire block had been barricaded, with fences and stanchions and a garbage truck parked sideways. There were police officers everywhere, making sure no one got through. I chatted with the officers, who were incredibly nice; they’d been working since early morning and would be on duty till 4 AM. Try as I might, I couldn’t schmooze the officers into letting my friends through: the scene was just like the first act finale of Miss Saigon, when a helicopter descends and some people get to leave Vietnam while others are forced to remain on the ground and continue singing.
I considered skipping the movie and heading to St. Patrick’s, to see if the Pope might wave me over and tell me how much he enjoys my work. I would of course, blush and say, “It’s mutual!” and we’d hug. The Pope’s cute translator, Msgr. Mike, would hand me a card with the address of the Papal after-party. We’d all hang out and chat about Trump and the new season of Empire and how hard it is to dry-clean the Pope’s white outfit.
But instead the police finally re-opened the block and my friends and I went to the movies.I texted the Pope, “Later!” and I knew he understood.
Here’s what the evening would’ve looked like, if you substitute me for President Obama.