Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The post where I name drop too much...

Since moving to the Big Apple I've had my fair share of celebrity sightings. From way random (Phillip Seymour Hoffman yelling into his cell phone at a grocery store; Danny Devito too small for his SUV; Steve Buscemi beside me at a bar; Mr. Belding drinking heavily) to the ones that make your repeat "Oh my God" like an idiot: Madonna almost bumping into me on a sidewalk; Josh Hartnett seated across from me at a restaurant; Hugh Jackman eating at my go-to sushi place; Lindsay Lo, Cameron Diaz and Elijah Wood at my brother's concerts; and through work (the highlights): Bono, Matt Damon, Natalie Portman, Sarah Jessica Parker, President Obama, Al Pacino, Renee Zellweger, Michael Douglas, Babs Walters, Uma Thurman, Martha Stewart, Ted Danson, Susan Sarandon, Anna Wintour and, uh, the Dalai Lama.

Excuse the shameless name dropping, but I promise I'm building to a good story.

Here's the thing; I used to be a star struck mess.

When I was 13 at an NSYNC concert I saw Joey Fatone's sister on line to get nachos. Not Joey Fatone or even a brother that looks like him but Joey Fatone's chubby sister with an Italian girl-stache. To say I spazed out is an understatement. I literally started jumping up and down, pointing and screaming so wildly my friend (also 13) had to pluck me out of the line, push me into a corridor and coach me into normal breathing again. So, to review, I not only knew who in the world Joey Fatone's sister was but I hyperventilated at the sight of her.

For years this insane reaciton to celebrities lingered. I just learned how to play it off better. I kept an MC Hammer autograph like a love note in my journal for years and can still remember what I was wearing when I saw Goldie Hawn, Kurt Douglas and a young Kate and Oliver Hudson at an airport (denim overalls and, for the record, Goldie said no to an autograph. Kurt said yes.)

Then I moved to New York where a week doesn't go by without at least a SNL star or Bravo housewife sighting. After two years of this, I thought I was totally cured of my star struckness.

I frequently choose to leave work on time rather than wait around for whatever celeb who's hosting the event I'm planning to arrive. I don't get the same rush. I'm not mesmerized anymore.

Well, at least this is what I had convinced myself of until about two weeks ago when one sighting left me utterly handicapped.

I was putting the final touches on a long banquet table I had set up for a dinner party- adjusting the napkins, straightening the chairs, checking the glasses for smudges- when someone standing directly across the table, leaning in to read a place card, made me look up.

The instant my brain registered Leonardo Dicaprio's perfect face, I'm fairly certain my heart paused. My mind blanked. My limbs went Gumby beside me. I was a zombie, mouth open, eyes unblinked for at least a minute. He's tall- a broad, thick, dreamboat of a man. His tan glowed. His gelled hair glistened.

A waiter bumped me out of the way to light a candle in front of me. I tried to regain use of my feet and legs. Then the adrenaline rush came. I sprinted to the other side of the table to squeeze my coworker's arm until she also spotted him. We silently freaked out together then attempted to snake through the crowd forming around Leo to get another good look. On our way, my boss, also a little giddy from the excitement, grabbed my arm, spun me around and announced, "Do you want to meet Dicaprio?"

As he said this I realized I was now standing less than one foot away from Leo. If I had proper use of my arms I could have touched him. But, at this point and for the remainder of my time near Dicaprio, I was an bumbling mess. I couldn't speak more than "Oh my God." My heart was pounding so hard I worried I might faint.

My coworker, aware of my freak out, suggested that we walk out of the crowd. I went where I was tugged. I wish I could say I confidently introduced myself and shook his perfect hand (like I had every opportunity to, dammit) but controlled speech and movements were just not possible for me that evening.

Seeing him up close was everything the little girl who went to go see Titanic in theaters 8 times could have hoped for.

The reaction should probably embarrass me, but it doesn't. In a lot of ways it's comforting. Just when I think too-cool-for-school New York has changed me for good, I get a reminder that I'll always be the dorky Floridan who flipped out over a Fatone. And that's quite alright with me.


  1. I would have done the same!!! Romeo and Juliet still makes me die everytime I see it.

  2. Somewhat related thought: why aren't you a writer of some kind? Some people's blogs about their lives are mind-numbingly boring because they can't write their way out of a paper bag. You, my friend, have a gift with words that would make watching paint dry exciting.

  3. I die. I love him. I'm pretty sure that I would have done exactly the same thing you did. Either that, or I would have lunged over the table, into his waiting arms, and we'd have made out for hours. Probably the second one.