In a thrilling moment yesterday, Richard Simmons walked into the coffee shop where I was writing in Echo Park. Only one other customer was in the cafe, but he made sure we knew he was there by announcing happily to the barista, “HELLO! I’m Richard SIMMONS!” I pretended I had an urgent need for pastry and made my way to the counter. He saw my red hair and emerald green top and cried, “It’s Ariel!” I said, “I’m a big fan,” and, he asked if I wanted a picture. I said that would be wonderful, and his driver, dressed in tight jeans, a tank top and a chauffer’s hat, took my iphone to snap the photo. I shook Mr. Simmon’s hand and said, “My name is Carolyn.” He responded with, “I don’t care if your name is Turkey Sh*t. I would still love you.”
I had heard he still gives exercise class in Beverly Hills so I asked him about them. He said yes, indeed, he teaches five days a week and that sometimes he dresses up for them. Recently, he dressed as Joan Crawford. I told him that I’d spent a recent Halloween dressed as Joan Crawford from “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.” He then began to belt, “I’ve Written a Letter to Daddy” at full volume. Luckily his coffee came or I think we would have heard the entire song.
He was charming and had more energy than ever. Definitely a highlight of my years living in Los Angeles.