Monday, September 12, 2011
I feel comfortable saying, at this point in my life, that I'm usually not an easily star struck person. I've had my fair share of celebrity sightings, the first of which was spotting wrestler Paul Roma in a Burger King a few miles away from my house. In college I had a math class with Olympic Hockey goaltender Sarah DeCosta. She sat next to me on the first day of class and I very cooly told her that I enjoyed her billboards (She had posed, with her gold medal, for a series of safety belt awareness advertisements). She sat on the other side of the room for the rest of the year, but I continued to buckle my seatbelt.
Since those early encounters, however, the level of celebrity interactions has greatly matured. I've had drinks with Ray Romano, Mario Cantone, Josh Charles, and Sam Rockwell. I've worked out next to John Stewart and spotted James Gandolfini in a wife beater. I've had brush by's with Jim Tressel, Giada DeLaurentis, Andrew Shue, and Cornel West.
My move to London, if anything, has made these experiences something of a common occurrence, having spotted Jonathan Rhys Myers, Jimmy Carr, Ewan McGregor, and Andrew Fletcher all strolling 'round my neighborhood. Now I know what you are thinking… anyone who name drops as much as this guy does is an asshole, but understand I'm merely trying to give you the proper context for what happened yesterday (actually a few days ago now, but I fully intended to post this blog entry the following day).
It was late afternoon, 3:30ish, and I had just finished throwing on my gym sneakers and my customary blue hoodie, when I tucked my beat up Sox hat over my eyes and headed out the door. "Sail" by AWOLNATION was bumping in my ears and I was trying to convince myself that today's workout wouldn't be painful (a daily ritual of mine) when I turned the corner and there he was-- Paul McCartney.
The aging Beatle looked old… probably because he is, but jaunty nonetheless. He rocked a sharp blue blazer, red kicks (with fat laces), and a sensible umbrella, which he swung in rhythm. The Beauty perched on his arm was fiancee Nancy Chevell who, in my opinion, certainly has a leg up on Linda (insert rim shot).
It should be noted that I'm not a Beatles fan. I appreciate their contributions to the history of music and I can get down to Rocky Raccoon but that's about it. But fan or no fan, I was completely in awe. It was like seeing Jesus or Abe Lincoln or to be more precise, it was like seeing fucking Paul McCartney! My mind immediately switched gears and before long I found myself hatching a plot to touch Paul McCartney. A simple brush of his arm? A tap on the shoulder? A full on bear hug? No. None of these would work without me seeming weird or more specifically, none of these would work without me getting arrested. But how do I record this moment? I reached into my pocket and pulled out my phone. Unfortunately, however, my 8 pound top up mobile's most high tech feature is a backlight (that I don't actually know how to work, which probably explains why I don't have a better phone). Having no camera and no interest in being arrested, I went to plan "C"-- follow Paul McCartney.
I casually strolled along with Paul and Nancy for several blocks, varying my speed, so as to sometimes be behind them and sometimes in front of them, never making direct eye contact. Paul stopped to fondle some cherries. I wished I was a cherry. Paul swung his umbrella. I twirled my finger. For three blocks I followed greatness, which is another way of saying, for three blocks I was great. And then, he turned, and I found myself farther away from my original destination than I was comfortable with and… that was it. No more Paul. No more greatness. And suddenly, I wasn't half the man I used to be.