Heath Ledger in “Brokeback Mountain.” In fact, the scene in
the tent with Jake really got her juices going. Literally. A little rough,
a little raw, it was one of the best movie sex scenes in recent memory.
Truth be told, Smartmom got all hot and squirmy sitting next to Hepcat
in the Pavilion not long ago. Then, the other day, Smartmom read a short
on-line piece about her man Heath.
“My life right now is, I wouldn’t say reduced to food, but my
duties in life are that I wake up, cook breakfast, clean the dishes, prepare
lunch, clean those dishes, go to the market, get fresh produce, cook dinner,
clean those dishes and then sleep if I can. And I love it. I actually
adore it,” Ledger told the Hollywood Star.
It’s no secret that Smartmom thinks — hell, even dumb moms,
think it, too — that there is nothing sexier than a man who takes
good care of his children, SHOPS FOR GROCERIES and cooks. Clearly, Heath
is loving his life as baby Matilda’s dad and Michelle’s "husband"
in Boerum Hill.
Later, Smartmom shared her view of Heath with Dumb Editor (who also liked
“Brokeback Mountain,” although he did not find the tent scene
as pleasing as Smartmom). “Why don’t you go down to BoCoCa —
or whatever the brokers are calling that neighborhood nowadays —
and find Heath? Then you can see for yourself.”
Smartmom is never thrilled when she has to leave her upholstered divan
to do some real reporting. But if it meant a chance to see her man Heath,
Smartmom was game. She changed into Heath-stalking gear — cowboy
boots, blue jeans, jean jacket and dark glasses — and boarded a Bergen
When Smartmom arrived in the land of Heath and Michelle, she walked up
Smith Street and peeked into the Cafe Kai, which had an ultra welcoming
sign on the door that said, “We’ve Been Waiting for You.”
Despite a full menu of organic tea, there was no H or M. Smartmom spotted
a seriously cool woman’s clothing store called Dear Fieldbinder.
Hoping to see Michelle, with Matilda in the Bjorn, shopping with Daddy
Heath, Smartmom walked into the high-end dress shop.
Smartmom spotted a black t-shirt that would look perfect underneath the
jacket she’s wearing to her 30th high school reunion in a few weeks.
She plunked down $32 for garment — but this wasn’t shopping,
this was recon! Smartmom asked the saleswoman, Sadie Stein, if she’d
ever seen Heath or Michelle.
A huge, mischievous smile crossed Stein’s face and her eyes shone
through her oversized tortoise-shell glasses.
“I was driving down Smith Street with friends and saw a really goofy
looking jogger wearing bright red sweat pants, an Africa t-shirt, a really
weird headband, and big sunglasses, flailing his arms about like this.”
She demonstrated what looked like a cross between modern dance and kick-boxing.
“He looked so funny, we had to stop the car. And then my friend figured
out that it was Heath Ledger!”
Stein was an unapologetic treasure trove of information about Heath and
Michelle. “I also saw the two of them at an afternoon screening of
‘Grizzly Man’ at the Cobble Hill Cinema. I was the only one
in the movie theater. They came in after the opening credits and left
before the closing credits. Stein thought that was strange. “I mean,
it was just the three of us.”
That sounded kinda kinky to Smartmom. (Dumb Editor note: Down, girl.
Next, Smartmom checked out the various children’s boutiques on Smith
Street. Smartmom was almost certain that she’d see them at Area in
BoCoCa, shopping for yoga pants, a Buddha-patterned diaper cover, or a
$95, hand-knit hoodie for Matilda.
“They’ve been here a lot,” one salesgirl said helpfully.
But they’re not here now, are they, thought Smartmom.
Smartmom headed to Hoyt Street, where, she’d heard, the dashing couple
lived. Hoyt is a step back in time to pre-gentrified Brooklyn. The impressive
St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church looms over the small-scale neighborhood
of three-story brownstones and bodegas and acres of red brick apartment
buildings that make up the Gowanus Houses.
Smartmom ran into a small woman walking a fashionable small dog and popped
the question. The woman’s eyes moved discreetly towards the building
where Heath and Michelle supposedly live.
“But we’ve never seen them,” Dog Lady said. “I think
they must have a house somewhere else. They don’t live there.”
Still, Smartmom’s opinion of Healthmichelle was rising to new heights.
They are so cool to see the beauty in this very mixed Brooklyn landscape,
Smartmom walked back to Smith, hoping to see Heath carrying a big bag
of groceries. Instead, she saw a Brooklyn house with an American flag
in the garden, a barking dog and a memorial sign that said, “John
Padillo Way, Battalion One 9/11/01.”
This was a real as Brooklyn gets,
Back on Smith Street, Smartmom swooped into Andie Woo, a dreamy lingerie
shop, where she chatted up one of the owners while buying a black bra
for the dress she’s wearing to the Baltimore wedding next month (again,
recon, not shopping).
“Michelle has been in here LOTS,” said Patti, one of the owners.
“She’s really down-to-earth and nice. She’s bought stuff
for her mother!”
Smartmom was impressed that Michelle bought lingerie for her mom. While
paying for her $65 bra, Smartmom listened to Patti’s thoughts on
“I really respect the fact that he choose to move here, a real place
with real people,” she said. And then, almost as an afterthought,
she added that she sees the two of them a lot at Smith and Vine, a tasteful
boutique wine shop across the street.
“What do you expect? He’s an Aussie,” said a woman who
was shopping for thong underwear.
Heathless, Smartmom popped into Smith and Vine, lugging three shopping
bags with her Smith Street booty, half expecting to see them loading up
on fine vintage booze.
So it wouldn’t be a total loss, Smartmom did spend $18 on a bottle
of sake (recon!). Depleted and hungry, she made her last stop at a real
neighborhood hangout, The Food Company — surely a place that Heath
and Matilda would feel right at home. Futiley scanning the casual restaurant
for Matilda’s stroller, Smartmom ordered a superb turkey club with
bacon, arugala, and cranberries.
Even though she hadn’t seen them sipping lattes while walking down
the street with Matilda in the sling, Smartmom felt like she knew them
both a little better.
They own a derelict building across the street from a housing project
and live on a block with blue-and-white plastic Virgin Mary statues in
the front gardens. Heath even flails his hands about when he jogs.
Smartmom paid for her lunch — $10.95 plus tax and tip — and
suddenly realized that she had spent an awful lot of cash looking for
Heath. That Dumb Editor. She could just kill him for making her spend
$128 in the kind of stores where Heath and Michelle shop.
Smartmom noticed a man posing for a picture on the steps of the Bergen
Street F-train stop. For a moment she wondered if maybe, just maybe, it
was Heath being photographed by Annie Lebowitz for Vanity Fair. But no
The man looked nothing like Smartmom’s “bi-sexual,” Aussie
hunk. And the photographer, a short, stocky woman was no match for lanky
The dark-haired man was wearing a Gap sweatshirt. “Do you need to
get into the subway?” he said. And that’s when Smartmom realized
who he was.
It was Jonathan Lethem, the brilliant author of “Motherless Brooklyn”
and “Fortress of Solitude” — a true giant in a Brooklyn
literary community that includes Paula Fox, Lisa Selin Davis, Michael
Drinkard, Jill Eisenstadt, Rachel Vigier, Yona Zeldis McDonough, Paola
Corso, Elizabeth Royte, Paul Auster, Elissa Schappell, Siri Hustvedt and,
as Dumb Editor always says, the greatest author of all time, Jonathan
Lethem is actually one of Smartmom’s heroes. But alas, he is not
Heath. “Yes, I need to get into the subway,’ she said, brushing
past her hero. And the photographer and the author moved away, while Smartmom
descended the stairs.
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010