There, just through the leafy foliage of a potted plant, past the shifting shoulders of the restaurant’s patrons, sits That Guy… That Guy in That Movie… you know, the one about the thing with the other guy who, like, drives really fast or whatever. Yes! THAT ONE. Can you believe it? He and I… both sitting in the same restaurant at the same time? What are the odds? Maybe I should say something – you know, tell him how much I enjoyed that movie, whatever it’s called. Maybe I should…
Okay, before you get your panties in a bunch, let’s address a few things about celebrity sightings. One: Just because they’ve chosen a profession that puts them square in the spotlight doesn’t mean you, as a viewer, have carte blanche access to their entire existence. Though no one wants to hear this, keep your fandom at the ticket window. Two: No matter how good your intentions, the likelihood that your presence in their force field is a welcome one is slim to none. Even as a non-famous person, one of the most uncomfortable social experiences is interacting with someone who seems to know you quite well but who you can’t recall one thing about. And three: celebrities are just people… and, let’s face it, a lot of people are boring.
This is something that even celeb-obsessed magazines like US Weekly point out (in an irony likely lost on most of their readership).
They use garbage cans!
They pick their faces in the mirror!
Their shorts get wrinkled when they sit down!
They drink coffee!
Walk their dogs!
Are affected by the forces of gravity!
We flip through these pages with a rapt curiosity, feeling less small in the world knowing that Angelina Jolie uses the same brand of lip balm we do. So when we see these creatures in person, there is a natural inclination to approach, engage, and conquer – to come away with a jaunty comment to tell the grand-kids one day or an autograph, some sort of emotional taxidermy we can hang on the wall of our living room.
The pedestal our culture has put these poor saps on has elevated them to alien status. Whether it’s a good alien or a bad alien depends on the celeb, of course, and whatever they’re currently going through as human beings. An ever-expanding and pregnant Kim Kardashian? Bad alien! A less anorexic Nicole Richie? Good alien! Madonna. We can’t decide!
It is my hope that one day people become so engrossed in their own lives – in their daily connections, their personal relationships, their very short time in this world – that they lose interest in Angie’s chapstick, that they iron their pants without comparison to Jon Hamm’s, and that when sitting in a restaurant right near That Guy from That Movie, they are so deep in conversation with a friend that they don’t even notice him.