After writing about my former/current fixation on Kevin Bacon and Footloose, Halle wrote to tell me that KB just ate at her restaurant the night before and that she had to kill the urge to talk to him about Footloose.
That's good, I wrote back, I just got to Los Angeles. The first thing I did was go to Trader Joe’s where I saw a woman spooning ice cream into Ben Kingsley’s mouth. I imagined myself tapping him on the head and commenting that I didn’t think Gandhi ate ice cream – obviously a dumb thing to do on several levels - but the thought made me giggle, which is motivation for 90 percent of my thoughts.
If Sir Ben Kingsley/Gandhi wants to canoodle in the frozen section, right on. Live your life, Ben Kingsley. I shall not fuck with that. In LA, one expects to see you and one ignores you coolly. In other parts of the country, it’ll take you more by surprise.
A few months ago, Jocardo and I flew together to New York. On the train to Terminal B at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport, we saw a familiar face.
"That’s that funny guy in those indie movies," we whispered to each other, "What’s his name again?" We were temporarily separated from funny indie guy by the entire University of Cincinnati dance squad who tumbled onto the train into matching track suits, red scrunchies, and bouncy ponytails.
When we got to our gate, indie guy was seated across from us in a section alone. A man approached him and said something while we rolled our eyes and sneered quietly to each other, "Leave him alone," but still with our, "Who IS that? It’s going to bug me."
Finally I remembered. "Steve Zahn!" We googled him on Jocardo’s Blackberry to find out that his family has a horse farm in Lexington which isn’t so far away and explained why he might be departing from our not so celebrity prone airport. That settled, I forgot about Steve Zahn until we were deplaning.
I was trying to get out of my seat with my seat belt still accidentally buckled, which is awkward. I looked up apologetically to whoever was waiting for me to figure out my situation and it was Steve.
He bore an air of disinterest or irritation, looking away quickly and scowling into space. Maybe he was tired. Whatever his deal was, he was not amused by the fact that seat belts confuse me and I secretly had a conversation with him in which I told him that his character Wayne Wayne Wayne, Jr. in Happy, Texas would have said something funny about what a silly knucklehead I am.
In truth, though, fuck that. There is the concept of being cool to strangers and people in general and there is also the reality of being in a rush and tired on a morning flight and having human moods on top of being a public figure with people approaching you to say shit you might not always feel like dealing with. I get it. Not that I was TRYING to get his attention.
There are very few people I’d actually get shit-mouthed over upon seeing: 1. Bono 2. Barack and maybe a few others who I can’t think of right now. Robert Downey Jr.
When I was in seventh grade, I saw Tom Cruise on a movie set. Part of Rainman was shot in a house a few blocks from my dad’s store and my dad knew the owner of the house. Dad had me DELIVER A PAIR OF RUNNING SHOES to the Rainman house, a perfect cover. I watched Tom Cruise walk into his trailer and I knew for certain that I was about to get a lot more popular at school, armed with that killer story.
For my 16th birthday, I saw Sting in concert and I remember thinking, "Sting is BREATHING THE SAME AIR AS ME." Mind-blowing stuff. What the hell? What else would he be breathing? Special fancy air? Nope, unless he's one of those stars who spends lots of quality time in an oxygen tank.
My thinking about star culture has come a long way since then. It’s just funny how you do or don’t get used to the idea that people are people. I mean, some famous types get all entitled and start acting crazy but they probably remember driving a used Subaru to work at TCBY and might be a little taken aback by the current force field of hoo-ha surrounding them.