Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza

I was swapping winter clothes for spring/summer clothes in the storage boxes under my bed when “Tiny Dancer” came on the satellite radio.

For some reason, this sparked a memory of many years ago, when I lived in Washington, and whenever I got a taxi from Reagan National Airport to my house in Burleith, I inevitably hopped in the cab of this one, irritating taxi driver.  He would always ask me where I was from, and back then, still putting on my best, uncomfortable Californian front, I would mumble: Los Angeles.

He would then burst into a grin, and tell me all about the celebrities he’d ferried from the airport to important points within our Nation’s Capital.

But do you know who the best celebrity was?  Do you know who was the nicest?


Tony Danza.


Tony Danza.  This was one of those things I could not make up — and this happened so long ago, I think it was even before he had tried, and failed, at having his own talk show.

The taxi driver went on and on, extolling the virtues of The Tony Danza.  The Boss.  Wait.  Was he the boss?  Or was it Angela?  Or Mona?  I don’t remember.  Regardless, I spent many a tired, possibly hung-over ride from DCA with a strange Ethiopian man telling me all about what a stand-up guy Tony Danza was.

Years later, when I had left Andrew but we were still quite married — though I was living most weeks in Washington, and he was still in our apartment, with all of our things, and our dogs in New York — I stepped out of the airport and into Tony Danza Guy’s taxi.  I asked him to take me to my lonely little apartment across from the National Cathedral on Mass Ave.

Where are you from?  he asked me.  At that point, I was already on the phone — making calls; checking in with  my estranged husband; blah blah blah.

I’m from New York, I said, irritated.

I love New York, the driver said, oblivious to the fact that I was on the phone, I drive celebrities from New York all the time.  But do you know who I think the best celebrity is?  Do you know who the nicest guy is?

I pulled my iPhone away from my face.  Don’t tell me.  Tony Danza?  

Do you know him?  the driver said excitedly.

No, I replied, I just hear he’s a really nice guy.

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