Celebrity hound (part 1)

            The mark of a true Washingtonian is the ability to say things like “over by Capital Hill” and “down at the Smithsonian” without gasping at the sheer governmental importance of it all.  A Washingtonian would never do what I did, one New Year’s Eve, and walk over to Richard Gephardt at the next table in a restaurant to wish him well in the Presidential campaign.  Fat load of good it did him, of course, but a true native or a well-assimilated transplant would be cool in the face of political superstardom.

            Every city has these quirks.  Bostonians don’t visit the Cheers bar; Londoners find those double-decker busses useful, not charming; and New Yorkers for the most part do not visit the Guggenheim.  In Los Angeles, of course, you can tell the natives from the out-of-towners because they are way cool when they run into movie stars.

            And so, one day last week, had you been in Long’s Pharmacy, you would have assumed I was quickly assimilating to my new home (unless you, say, read my blog and know better).  Because, as I walked in the door, exhausted preschooler and hungry toddler in tow, and looked up at the checkout line by the front door, I did not swoon.  I did not fumble for a pen to get an autograph.  I merely gave a half-smile and a quarter nod in Henry Winkler’s direction before heading off to look for ice packs for Zachary’s lunch bag.

            Winkler, too, would have assumed, had he thought about it at all, that I was being respectful and giving him his space.  This would have been a gross miscalculation.  The fact is, I was not entirely sure it was Henry Winkler.  It’s not like he was wearing a leather jacket and waving out the window of the Cunningham’s garage.  And, I am notoriously lousy at recognizing celebrities. 

             I am the woman who, early in 2000, stood next to Martin Sheen on the curb at National Airport.  He looked oddly familiar, and as we drove away, I stared as I tried to place his face.  He smiled and waved, so I did too.  Then I turned to J.  “That guy looks strangely familiar.  Is he one of my old professors?”

              Whatever my next career move, I am clearly not cut out to lead any of those “spotting the stars” tours.

               And so, by virtue of my cultural idiocy, I will blend right in, respecting the rights of the stars to buy their cough syrup in peace.  Unless I spot Rachel Griffiths.  Girl, if I see you anywhere, you can rest assured I will drool all over you.

13 responses to “Celebrity hound (part 1)

  1. I saw a few stars when I lived out there, and a few that a recognized as someone, but couldn’t place. But, I don’t think I saw as many as my FIL thinks there are. I guess it depends on what hot spots you roam in.

  2. who is Rachel Griffiths? I’m so out of the loop.

    oh, and when I lived in L.A., I would still gawk slightly when I saw, say, Dustin Hoffman roller blading in Santa Monica. Or George Carlin walking down the street eating an ice cream cone…..

    I tried to play it cool but. dude. who am I kidding?

  3. Me too with Rachel Griffiths, I have a big big girl crush on her, but not sexually, just, I *so* want to be her friend, ever since I saw the film where she bounces into the other reality where she’s married with 3 bratty kids and an asshole husband, I love that film, so much so I can’t remember the bloody name. See, I got all excited and starting babbling, oo-wee Rachel Griffiths!

  4. I really don’t understand why people go for the autograph anyway. I can’t imagine bothering someone else, except maybe a presidential candidate (that would be hard to resist).

    Clearly, your assimilation is successful.

  5. ha ha.

    you’ll get used to it as you live there, but it’s still fun. my husband still likes to tell the story about how the police officer made Tom Cruise’s limo wait so my husband could get out of his parking lot at work.

  6. You are so funny!

    I “heart” Rachel Griffith.

    I would melt if I saw “House” or that dude from Dexter.

  7. I love Henry Winkler! So cool!

  8. I’m with you. I can’t recognize celebrities for the life of me. I have after-the-fact seen several but at the moment did the do-I-know-you half smile thing so as not to commit too much to a stranger. I’ll just say it’s my cool showing though – so much better than a poor memory!

  9. Hehehe.

    I’m still waiting to see Britney Spears. I love her.

  10. Celebrity sightings are definitely one of the perks of living in LA.

  11. I have been lucky enough to be around a few celebs, musicians and pro-sports peeps. I’ve never considered asking them for autographs or gawking at ’em.

    Except the ones I saw in their undies, but those are entirely different stories for different days.

    *grin*

  12. You and me both. I almost never recognize anyone.

  13. Too funny!

    You know a dear friend of mine also encountered a Sheen at an airport. Well, it was Emilio Estevez. She also wasn’t sure who he was. Feel better?