I was at NAHBS—the North American Handmade Bicycle Show—and Robin Williams was there. He had a bike on order with Dario Pegoretti, the renowned Italian custom bike builder and I guess he wanted to meet him in person as well as tour the show. Dario’s booth was across the aisle from ours and when Dario came in that morning, fresh from Italy, he pulled out, from the voluminous folds of his overcoat, a bottle of Italian wine. “This is for you and Ricardo,” he said in his wonderful Italian accent, “for a romantic moment.” That’s Dario—the consummate romantic and artist. I just love him.
So Robin Williams toured the show with an entourage of fans, and you could always tell where he was by the hive of people buzzing around him. (Not that I was looking.) FINALLY, he got to our booth, but two people were talking to me (endlessly) and despite my frantic glances over to where Robin was talking to Richie (who didn’t at first know who he was: “Hi, I’m Richard,” he says holding his hand out. “I’m Robin.” Not that I was spying.) Then Richie called me over. “Sweetie,” he says, “this is Robin,” (well, duh.) “Robin this is my wife, TLD, The Lovely Deb.”
Robin shook my hand, and started to do his thing, which was an amazing riff on TLD—my very own Robin Williams riff, just for me. It went on for about, oh maybe thirty seconds, while I stared in amazement, grinning. Then he shook my hand again and walked off.
I felt like one of the anointed. He had riffed on me. We were connected. Which was why I did what I did next. As the show was closing, Robin, exhausted, was sitting in Dario’s booth, which, remember, was across from ours. I stopped my packing-up, and walked over to ask a question that had been nudging at me. “Why haven’t you ordered a bike from Richie?” I asked (but in a nice way) genuinely curious, since Richie is so well known in the bike-building world. Robin looked up at me, “I will, when I’m older,” he said, probably sick of people. “If you order it now, you will be older,” I quipped.
And Robin Williams LAUGHED.