Yesterday, or the day before yesterday, or perhaps the day before the day before yesterday, The Rise of Skywalker and Marriage Story‘s Adam Driver walked out of an interview for NPR’s Fresh Air.
The story, which has spread like wildfire around this here digital landscape, said that Adam was forced to listen to a clip from Netflix’s Marriage Story over his earphones in the middle of an interview. And first rule of Adam Driver is you do not play clips in earphones that are on Adam Driver’s head.
Second rule of Adam Driver? YOU DO NOT PLAY CLIPS IN EARPHONES THAT ARE ON ADAM DRIVER’S HEAD.
But that’s not the story.
It was April 4th, 2012. HBO’s new series Girls was just about to premiere, and they held a lavish New York City premiere at New York’s SVA Theater that I was especially lucky to be invited to. They chose to show both the pilot episode and the second episode, and all the key cast members from the show had shown up in attendance. Now, what’s worth knowing here and important to the story I’m about to tell is that I have an overactive bladder. And on that particular day I had overdone the hydration thing, and had walked into that premiere with about 25 ounces of liquid gold in my bladder. But since I had been running late, I was unable to go to the bathroom before Lena Dunham gave the introduction alongside Judd Apatow, and had to suck it up so to speak. But about fifteen minutes into the pilot episode, my bladder couldn’t hold it any longer, and I needed to excuse myself in the darkness of the SVA Theater and head out to the lobby to get my business done.
And that’s when I saw my boyfriend, Adam Driver.
He was sitting on a red velvet bench, opposite the concession stand, scrolling through some emails on a Blackberry. Aside from the SVA workers readying for the intermission between the two episodes, it was only him. A lone, pre-celebrity, slightly unknown Adam Driver. And since I had yet to see the part of the episode where Adam Driver was featured prominently, I had no idea who he was.
He looked up as I walked out, clutching my bladder. He grinned at me as I raced past him and rushed into the bathroom. But when I came back out, he was no longer looking at his Blackberry, but seemingly waiting for me to return.
“I hear the show’s good,” he said, shrugging.
“Me too,” I replied, slightly embarrassed. “Although I’ve only seen ten minutes of it. Those ten minutes were good. I think.”
“I’ll never know,” he said, matter of fact. “I can’t watch myself on screen. It literally makes me nauseous.”
“Truth?” I asked, unbelieving.
He pointed to the Men’s bathroom. “I was in there about an hour ago, which is why I’m out here…now.”
I approached him. Instead of going back into the theater, I stood next to him and we talked for the remainder of the hour. He told me, in no uncertain terms, that a childhood event had caused this. When he had been only 7, his father had forced him to get a haircut, which ended up being the kind of barbershop cut that readied one for the military (which ironically he had joined later in life). But when he had gone home, he was so upset about the forced cut, he had refused to look at it in the mirror. His father, adamant to prove he had done something right, forced Adam into the bathroom to stare at himself and the new cut.
As Adam recounted the story…he cringed and shrugged; this memory was as vivid today here in the SVA theater as it was that dark day at the age of seven, being forced into his parents’ bathroom.
“At that moment,” Adam explained, eyes wide as he remembered the moment, “as I was forced to gaze upon my own visage and the horrible haircut that had been forced upon me…I vowed to never look upon myself or listen to my voice if it wasn’t in the moment, living fully present.”
He went on to explain, as I eyed his long hair (clearly an act of retribution of that dark day in his past), and started to fall for the guy. How the act of being forced to look upon himself, judge himself, view himself almost as an outsider, somehow took hold of his psyche. From that point forward, he never wanted to go back and view the product of his efforts. Whether it was the result of military service, a play, something he wrote, something he starred in. He would exist in the moment, let it live on without criticism or evaluation, and it would free him from his traumatic past.
That was why, sometimes, like the night in question, he grew uncomfortable just thinking about having to watch himself in a room of people, which is why he was out here. By himself.
But he wasn’t by himself. He was with me.
Maybe now that you understand the whys behind Adam Driver’s confusing act of escape from NPR’s New York offices, all of you can be a little bit more understanding. Adam Driver is a wonderful human being, who is sweet and caring, who cares for the work he does and the quality of which he provides. He has never done anything half-assed, but just asks that the rest of you don’t make him look at his past, for some strange desire to see him react to an amazing performance or a stellar wall-punching sequence of anger.
To create drama or drive traffic to some website article, and to do so simply by creating some false narrative about my dear Adam Driver is wrong and honestly is the problem I have with the Internet and Celebrity Culture. He is a real person. He is a true human being.
And in some alternate reality…he is my boyfriend.
Whom I protect.
Let me live the lie, please.