Arts & Culture » The B-List

The queen and I



Noor, Noor, Noor, how do you like it? How do you like it?

Something of a media frenzy, then, as Queen Noor of Jordan has scheduled herself for an extremely odd book signing at Border's in Winter Park. And why not? She's recently been seen doing a begloved royalty wave from atop The New York Times best-seller list with her syrupy auto-bio, "Leap of Faith," right?

Why shouldn't she? Because she's a queen. Queens, I should add, don't do book signings.

Nonetheless, the excitement in the air is as palpable as the tea-rose perfume applied to those who wait in line for royalty. Ominous voices come over the PA regarding the queen being en route, preparing for an interview, 15 minutes to freshen up, and then she'll see us plebes.

Caught up in the frenzy are a couple of stringers from Channel 13, a sorely misplaced myself and WESH anchor Wendy Chioji, all battling it out for an audience. Except there is to be no battle. Miss Wendy rules in this town and from all appearances, she'll be getting the "exclusive." After all, Wendy has an entourage, lighting and furniture provided by Pier One for what appears to be a step in the Barbara WaWa direction.

"Hi," I ooze in her direction.

"Hi," she cringes back.

From then on, it's war. The Channel 13 chick and I commiserate about our taped-off sideline positioning in what was purported to be a press conference, and begin exchanging good-natured barbs about make-up artists and how much less important we are than Wendy.

Love her though I do, I hate her today.

And so I start eavesdropping, because that's my job. A gaggle of hens just over the top of the science-fiction/fantasy shelf separating me from the real people are lamenting something involving Corpus Christi on their second trip to Barcelona. This means nothing to me. But when one asks me to turn down an oversized Superman picture book so that she might take in more of the queen's elegance, I can only oblige. I am, I am, I am Superman.

"So why are you here," I peer into the hen's blown-out hair helmet.

"Because she's articulate, she's gorgeous, she's a queen. Everything she's done in Jordan. Just that. And she's my inspiration."


"She also says that Jordanians are not Arabs," she comforts herself xenophobically. "I watch her every time she's on Larry King, on CNN, everything."

Just then, an elderly woman sidles up to me in my taped aisle, where I am very lonely, and tries to piggyback on my credentials. I, obviously, don't care. So I engage her before she is asked to leave.

"My feelings are that she's a true queen," she quivers, reaching back to the time when there was, like, a true queen. Maybe 1732? "I mean she really represented as an American, and as a, whatchacallit, not a Palestinian, but a Jordanian. I mean, taking on a family with eight children, four of her own, I've really admired her from day one."

Then, for no reason, she adds: "I have a cough drop in my mouth." Class.

"And, um, she hasn't forgotten her college buddies in America. I mean, she's a true person, she's a true genuine person."

I thought she was a true queen. Anyway more rambling about her trips to Jordan and Saudi Arabia follow, and I fall into a deep Arabian sleep. Before I know it, she's ushered away.

Some commotion follows when it becomes apparent that Queen Noor and Wendy might be wearing the same color. A quick change produces a Queen looking something like Catherine Denueve wearing Kim Cattrall's baby-blue blouse. Sexy, if I went that way, at that age.

I try to listen in on Wendy and queeny's tea talk, but to no avail. They're miked and talking in hushed tones. Although, at one point, I do catch Wendy hiccuping something girly like, "Don't you ever wish you could just let your hair down, call up some girlfriends and go out drinking?"

I love Wendy.

I'm informed, at this point, that I will not be talking to Queen Noor. This was all a ruse, and I should just kill myself now. But when Channel 13 muscles a quick two questions, my new favorite reporter (if not news station) pushes the queen in my direction, winking, while the royal entourage frowns.

"Do you think you lend a sort of pretty, colloquial voice to what is a very distant situation to much of America?" I impress myself.

"I wanted it to be authentic. I worked very hard to ensure it would be accurate, and at the same time help provide a more complete and balanced view than what has been available to so many for so long," she flutters. And then she turns into Sex in the Samantha. "And I have been so gratified! By so many people! All sorts of people, all over this country and in Europe, who have said it's helped them understand so much better, so much more."

"Well it helped me," I gush. And lie.

"And I appreciate it, thank you so much." She makes my legs shake.

And here, I awkwardly grab her hand, something surely discouraged by the presence of six or so suits over her shoulder.

She's a true, genuine person. And I? I am but a queen.

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