For a while last year I kept seeing a Greek theatre actor named Dimitris Katalifos in various parts of Athens. I had recently seen him in an excellent production of Glengarry Glen Ross, playing the role of Shel Levene. He has also played the title role in Cavafy and has a part in the recent Scorcese production Brides.
One night I was waiting to use an ATM near my house and the person in front of me was taking his time. I remembered recently having been using an ATM to deposit some money and an impatient man came up behind me and asked, “Are you being served?” His question was so strange and rude that I merely turned and frowned at him a second before going back to what I had been doing.
Now that I was waiting to use the machine, I wondered what it would be like to speak rudely to somone and then be embarrassed when they turned out to be someone famous. Or rather, I imagined some impatient idiot being rude and then apologising to the famous person. For an instant, I idly let my imagination run with the idea, and I imagined that the person would turn around and turn out to be Dimitris Katalifos.
The man in front of me finished his transaction. When he turned around, it was Katalifos.
From behind he had seemed utterly nondescript, so if in fact he had reminded me of Katalifos, it could only have been unconscious. I later learnt that he lives a couple of blocks from that bank in my neighbourhood. Still, the timing was very odd, and I still feel I had no direct reason to have chosen him as an example of a famous person, except for the fact that I had been seeing him lately.
Three images of Katalifos doing Beckett