I often wish I had started a long list of all my NYC celebrity sightings. I think by now (eight years later) it would be a pretty impressive collection of names. There have been some really legit ones. Leonardo DiCaprio, Sarah Jessica Parker and Will Ferrell to name a few. And I just had a lovely exchange with Brooke Shields at my neighborhood bodega. She couldn't have been any sweeter. But there's an unspoken rule in NYC regarding celebrity sightings: you have to act like it's no big deal. Sure, steal a couple glances but don't stare. And you definitely can't talk to them. New Yorkers don't make a big deal out of celebrities - it's just part of the deal. Actually, I was having this exact conversation with a date recently and he asked me if there were some celebrities that I would have to break these rules for, celebrities I loved so much that I would screw protocol and go up and talk to them. A few came to mind; Conan, Tom Hanks, The Indigo Girls.
After that very date I hopped on the 3 train in Prospect Heights to take me back to the West Village. About two stops into my ride, Ira Glass got on the train and stood right in front of me. He was basically straddling me and our knees even touched a few times. I kept my cool, obviously but inside, I was freaking out. This was a perfect example of the type of celebrity my date had just asked me about! This was totally a celebrity that I would break all the rules for! And I had just had this conversation so clearly the Universe was telling me "Yes, Amy! Talk to Ira!" But, how would I do it? And what would I say? Would I say hello randomly during the ride and then have to sit here afterwards in a cloud of my own awkwardness. Like when you say goodbye to someone only to realize you're still walking next to each other. I practiced what I would say. I didn't want to make a huge production of it, I was going to simply say "hello there, I'm a huge fan." Short and sweet. I decided waiting to talk to him when one of us got off the train made the most sense. I was watching his body movements like a hawk to try and predict when he would be getting off. Chambers? Canal? But then, before I knew it we were at my stop. I gathered my things and stood up, I positioned myself so I'd be facing Ira ready to deliver my loving hello.
But out of nowhere two old people squeezed between us in an attempt to get the much coveted seat I had just vacated. Oh I hated them so much at that moment. I was pushed away from Ira and he stepped back to give the terrible old couple room. And then, in the blink of an eye, the doors were closing. I dashed out onto the platform and Ira rode off, uptown and out of my life. I missed my opportunity to tell him how much I love his work and how amazing I think he is.
It's kind of a sad story. But, I've learned a valuable lesson. If I'm ever faced with another opportunity to talk to one of my break-the-rules celebrities, I better take it. In New York people ride in and out of your life at an alarming speed so you have to be ready. Because you never know when a stupid old couple will ruin your one and only chance.
Do you have any celebrities that you would break the rules for?
And if you're reading this Ira: hello there, I'm a big fan.