Pop Culture
Aug 11, 2008, 05:47AM

I Spy

A real famous person! Not that we, like, care about celebrities or anything.

Marykate.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Photo by fimoculous.

The first question they ask you is always the same: "Who have you seen?"

As if my time living in Los Angeles wasn't complete until I locked eyes with at least one celebrity. As if I collected star maps. As if I watched TMZ. As if I waited just outside the gates, standing with the other insects, for a profile, or maybe just a silhouette, in the backseat of a black SUV, driving away.

I've been here for six months, and the only celebrities I've seen are what’s-his-name, tip-of-the-tongue, and might-have-beens.

I've seen that guy from Boston Public. You know the one I'm talking about—that one with the hair. He was at an outdoor mall. But it doesn't really count because I didn't really see him, someone else recognized him, stopped him mid-stride and asked if he really was the guy from Boston Public. The one whose name I can't remember.

But this morning, I saw a real one. A big one. One you would know.

Celebrity sightings have inspired people to create their own celebrity blogs to blog about celebrities, and finally become celebrities so they can blog about themselves blogging about celebrities. This happens all of the time. It's like writing a sad poem after the death of a grandparent. Everybody does it.

My friend BJ was leaving town last night after a summer in LA as an intern for a celebrity director. I offered to drive him to the airport this morning before work—one of those tipsy favors you're willing to offer at a quarter after midnight. Usually, you're still just as willing at 7 a.m., but by then you've realized that, for instance, a trip to the airport also necessitates a night on a mattress in Crenshaw, a morning spent in traffic, and a bit of creativity: some creative toothpaste (Wrigley's chewing gum), a creative shower (Banana Republic cologne) and, finally, some creative wardrobe (yesterday's, but without the collared shirt).

Those additional favors weren't on the table the night before. But I went along with them anyways and they led me to a Starbucks on Venice, about an hour early for work. I sat down near the window, drinking my coffee, reading a book about a man who goes to Nicaragua to sit by a window and drink coffee (and also kill a guy). It was boring, really—the type of experience Starbucks works so hard to create, so naturally my eyes wandered off the page and searched the room until I found something interesting.

And interesting she was—a short girl with a baggy flannel shirt and skinny black pants. She was a dichotomous one, this girl. Her hair was almost white and her face strong. Her fashion was at once old and new, nostalgic and fashion-forward. I couldn't look away—she was either the youngest old person I'd ever seen or the oldest young person. Like the world's tallest midget.

I stared at her as she walked in. I got the faintest impression she was staring back at me through her sunglasses. She ordered, paid, and walked past me again. This time with her sunglasses in her hand, waiting for her coffee to percolate. This time I could see that my beloved, beautiful old/young girl was in fact Ashley Olsen. Or Mary-Kate. One of the two.

The most obvious advantage of being a writer is that you have complete control over how the story is told. For instance, I could write that I gave the Olsen sibling a defiant and strong look, meeting and holding her gaze as she met mine. I could say that I looked rugged and awake after my night away from home.

If she were writing, the Olsen twin would probably describe how I stared at her in a way that revealed a lack of anything resembling manners or class or taste. How I was obliviously sucking the frosting from an apple fritter off my thumb. How I looked like I hadn't taken a shower yet. How I was just another guy who thought the nature of celebrity was preposterous and wrong and yet just … could not … look away.

Maybe she has a blog I could check.

  • I've never seen a celebrity, nor do I really want to. I also wouldn't want to be one. Who would. Paparazzi following you everywhere you go. You know, now there's a company that you pay to have the Paparazzi surround you all night. I wouldn't want that. Who would?

    Responses to this comment
  • I think a lot of people would like to be celebrities, not only for the money, but the fame. It always seems hypocritical to me that celebs complain about media gossips--who are sharks, but that's their thing--and photogs tailing them. Movie stars, athletes, musicians, etc. chose their career, and if intrusive attention is a downside, I doubt most would trade it for being an unknown.

    Responses to this comment
  • I saw jack black in a video game in manhattan circa 2002 - other than that, I haven't had many run-ins with celebrities. I'd imagine you've seen your fair share of paparazzi by now, though.

    Responses to this comment
  • or rather, I saw him in a video game store - I don't think he's been in any games yet. anyway, I imagine you'll see more celebrities in the coming months.

    Responses to this comment
  • This was fun to read, as I have seen the both of the Olsen twins here in New York. They are strange looking in person. Almost like little aliens. I try to act like I don't care about celebrity sightings, but it is always a strange feeling when you see one. At least for me. I have to go get a copy of US magazine now.

    Responses to this comment
  • I haven't seen many Celebs, you guys are really lucky. Jack Black and the Olsen Twins! Well, I'd love to be a celeb myself, but it doesn't look like it's in the cards for me, though there's still time. Fame, money, power, I want it all! Muwahahahahaha!

    Responses to this comment
  • Wait till you've been in LA for several years. It's all routine. If you have guests and want to get the celebrity thing out of the way, go to the Ralph's in Malibu off the PCH. Cher without makeup, Dick Van Dyke snarling at any onlookers and so on. It's everyday life here.

    Responses to this comment
  • I once saw Gary Cole (the boss from Office Space/Ted Jones in Pineapple Express) eating a burger in a mall food court in L.A. Doesn't get any more candid than that.

    Responses to this comment
  • Flannel shirt? I'd say Mary Kate.

    Responses to this comment
  • Not long ago, I saw Tim Wakefield and rookie Jed Lowrie of the Red Sox at the Union Oyster House in downtown Boston. I was tempted to ask them about the Rays, but thought better of it, and just waved. Wakefield gave me big smile, and seemed relieved I didn't disturb them.

    Responses to this comment

Register or Login to leave a comment