Growing up in the city, I’ve definitely seen my fair share of celebrities. But I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t get giddy each time. As a kid, I remember walking with a friend through Chinatown when we saw some trailers. I shamelessly knocked on the door and found out that Ben Affleck was inside. We ran to the nearest bodega, bought a disposable camera and camped out the rest of the afternoon. When he finally came out we ran over to say hi but he just kept walking. I took a picture of his back. It was the best day.
In eighth grade, on the way home from a field trip our school bus pulled up at a pizza shop. Right in front of us was a trailer and Tom Hanks was standing at the top of the steps. Apparently, they were filming You’ve Got Mail. Well, I shouted “You’re Forrest Gump!” and he waved. At me. Forrest Gump waved at me. (Confession: I hadn’t actually seen the movie yet.)
How about the time I exited the elevator near my apartment and saw Hector from Ghostwriter coming out of my neighbor’s apartment (OMG, does anyone remember that show???) — now that was way too close to home. Hector was friends with my neighbor? Wow. That somehow made us friends as well, right?
Or did I mention that I interned for Rachael Ray in college? Every Tuesday, I would slowly walk past the holding rooms and read the names on the doors. Half the time I had never heard of them, and this was before smart phones so I couldn’t quickly google enough info to strike up a conversation. One day I saw “Jeffrey Dean Morgan” on the door. That name sounded familiar and then I had my OMG moment — it was Denny Duquette from Grey’s Anatomy! He was supposed to be dead! I may have hugged him. I was totally shaking; it was actually the best day.
There have also been all these little run-ins, like the time I saw Tim Gunn buying his coffee on the Upper West Side, Jennifer Garner at the zoo, Rachel Dratch in the sandbox… okay, I know I’m doing a lot of namedropping, but I’m almost done. Let’s see, there was Marc Ruffalo who watched me nurse Lisi at a restaurant, Padma’s daughter who played with Annie while popping bubbles at Washington Square Park, Katie Holmes shopping at Crewcuts (they’re just like us!) and loads of reality-TV stars who probably don’t count but they totally do.
As awesome as all those sightings have been, nothing compares to yesterday.
It was a Sunday afternoon at 16 Handles on the West Side, and Craig was starting to get cranky since he had been dragged shopping. We’ve reached that milestone where Lisi now requires her own bowl of ice cream, so juggling the three kids and five bowls of ice cream isn’t exactly stress-free. And then we were in line for the toppings. As I was finagling with the hot fudge dispenser, Craig mumbles “There’s Paul McCartney”. Oh, another thing you should know about me: for all of the celebs I’ve actually seen, there are about three times as many celebs that I’ve thought I’d seen. So when Craig told me he saw Sir Paul, I quickly nudged my friend and asked if it was actually him. It was.
We all immediately hop off the 16 Handles concession line, none of us actually paying attention to the melted ice cream (I know, they insist on calling it yogurt, but come on) or the children who were helping themselves to healthy portions of gummy bears. I went over to him and a friendship emerged: