Thursday, Apr. 30, 2009

Tom Hanks

If I ever had to be stuck in a long line, I would like to be stuck there with Tom Hanks, 52. It wouldn't matter what we were waiting for or how long it would take to get it. It wouldn't even matter if it was the kind of line we had to camp out on because it went round the block like that merciless one outside the Apple Store on Prince Street in New York City when the iPhone first came out. It's nice to stand around with Tom. He's excellent company.

He once told me he thought we would make terrific neighbors, and I agreed. It would be nice to be neighborly with Tom. It would be nice to sit with him in a big swing on a wide porch, with a long straw in a tall drink on a lazy afternoon. He's a person who likes to shoot the breeze.

Come to think of it, I'd much prefer to wait in line with him for the new iPhone than in some squat ATM line, because he's a big goof and he's interesting. He's interesting because he's interested. He asks great questions, and he waits for the answers. He has a sort of wondrous capacity for wonder. The magic of history, of the cosmos, of words and of love keep him rapt. He is at their mercy the way a poet is. All that wonder keeps him happy and humble and wide-eyed. Lucky for us, he's contagious that way.

A while back, I was at a dinner, and we were all talking about art. What is art? Someone said art is whatever it is that makes you feel less alone. If this is true, then Tom is art. He makes me feel less alone. I imagine he makes a lot of people feel this way. He keeps our best selves, our dream selves, excellent company.

Ryan co-starred with Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail