I love Dubrovnik and I loved it more when Robin Hood was filmed here. I desperately wanted to be part of the set, so I dragged my husband and kids to the casting for extras (the only one of us who made it was my husband, because – as I put it – he is the slightly overweight cordial type, just like those medieval people, while I didn’t get in, because – as he put it – I was too uptight and skinny, like a vegan barrister from New York. Anyway.)
To forget about acting my fiasco, I refocused on Lent and its major idea, that is, I bit my fingernails and contemplated my life, trying to figure out what nasty habit should I give up in order to succeed. I Googled ridiculous articles like 50 Habits of Highly Successful People, or rather, the 85 Things Successful People Never Do, and I arrived to a surprising conclusion: all successful people and Hollywood actors had white teeth.
Now, the first advice that pops out of Google when you search for „achieve white teeth“ is „give up alcohol and coffee“.
My husband laughed, when I declared I wasn’t going to drink for six weeks, and he even said that my only really bad habit was that I never drank enough. Which was the final punch. I was going to do it!
Three days later, I felt miserable, experiencing all sorts of detox symptoms. To accelerate the process (Google), I started running – I jogged through the old town. Sweating, no makeup, dressed in colourless baggy clothes, plus displaying neither the $ 5000 purse or oversized sunglasses (forgot), I hurried through Stradun, earning scornful glances from all the ten people I passed. And then I saw him: at the sunlit little table in front of a café, there was a cool guy who looked like the Beverly Hills Cop, enjoying his early morning coffee, in slight disbelief that there was no buzz around him, that there were no people who’d care and who’d die for taking a selfie with him. He was…I mean….could he be…?
Of course all the daring scenarios flashed through my mind:
1) wave and smile at him
2) come to the table and say – Jamie Foxx? You are a damn great actor and musician, we all adore you, all the more that you also seem to be just a normal laid back guy who sits at Stradun in the morning, drinking coffee
3) approach him and say – I…err…excuse me, Jamie, but I, uh, write for the Dubrovnik Times and – see, I don’t want to interrupt your morning mantras, but do you think you could give me a two minute interview?
Passing by one of the polished shop windows provided me with a reality check. I saw a shapeless bundle with odd hair and pale face, making her way through one of the most charming promenades of the world and thinking about approaching one of the most famous contemporary actors.
I passed by him and did nothing. As if he could read my mind, though, Jamie Foxx had a sip of the coffee, smiled at me and revealed the whitest teeth I’ve seen in a while.
Back home, my husband was shaving, getting ready for another day of filming.
„I saw your colleague drinking coffee,“ I said.
„Taron?“ husband replied, uninvolved.
(Observation: In case you couldn’t decide what was the one most attractive thing about Dalmatian men, it is the zen kind of confidence they all keep up no matter what)
„Jamie,“ I said.
„He is cool, isn’t he?“ husband informed. „Did you join him for the coffee?“
„No,“ I replied, desperate. „I gave up coffee, remember?“
My husband rolled his eyes, patted me on the shoulder like a schoolteacher, who still hoped things were going to change to the better for me, and he was out of the door.
Next morning, no matter that I wore makeup and heels, there was no sign of friendly actors at Stradun café. Frustrated, I bought newspaper and learned that last night, Jamie Foxx got harassed by some drunkards at a restaurant, where he, ugh, drank red wine.
„Told yah he was cool,“ my husband commented when I returned home with fresh bread and the breaking news. „He drinks coffee, he drinks wine, he doesn’t stress and obsess around like someone.“
The media reported that Jamie Foxx fell in love with Dubrovnik, so in the next days, he was frequently spotted in the streets of the old town. That way, I could miss even more great opportunities of talking to him, passing by him two or three more times, unable to act.
On the last day of filming, I joined the modest crowd of locals who watched the wooden set burn down in a magnificent final scene.
I returned home that night, frozen, broken and depressed.
All hopes and bridges were now burnt. Robin Hood was over.
Without saying a word, my husband poured me a glass of red.
„I think you picked the wrong things to give up, darling,“ he concluded. „I’ll translate it into Dalmatian for you: Just like blood is the fuel of the body, red wine is the fuel of the soul. And chocolate. And coffee. Call it wrong, but in my opinion it has nothing to do with white teeth. And believe me, it feels much better to be cool than successful.“
How not to love that man? – I thought. And how not to love a place where such a philosophy dominates everyday life?
That night, I scribbled into my notebook: Give up fear. (Resolution for rest of Lent and, well - rest of life.)
Blanka Pavlovic a.k.a. the Adriatic Bride is a Czech writer. She studied law (Prague) and creative writing (Oxford). As a lawyer, she specialized in international human rights law, first working for the European Court of Human Rights, then for a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. She wrote five books, among them Total Balkans, The Handbook of the Adriatic Bride or The Return of the Adriatic Bride. She now lives with her family between Dubrovnik and Donji Brgat. More information and English translations of her work are available through www.blankacechova.com.