Friday, July 25, 2008

(Minor) Celebrity Sighting

I've worked in Chicago for 10 years or so; in that time I have bumped into several celebrities.

Last year I saw Matthew Modine walking in the Loop - he really blended in and looked just like a tourist with his camera around his neck. The next day I read in the paper he was in town for a play he was in. Then there was Jerry Springer and Chris Farley (they each lived in the residential side of the building I worked in), Stedman Graham (got to stand right next to him in the elevator for 5 floors). Various athletes too - Frank Thomas (had an office in the same building I worked in), Phil Jackson (he practically filled up the entire revolving door at Water Tower Place), Toni Kukoc(at Bob Chinn's Crabhouse), Bill Cartwright (riding his bike down my street).

For those of you who know Chicago the names Harry Caray, Steve Stone and The Cubs are familiar to you, you know their relationship to each other and their level of Chicago "celebrity".
Before Harry Caray died a several years ago he opened a restaurant called Harry Caray's; of course it is a Cubs themed restaurant and bar and it also has pretty good food too. I go there every so often for lunch and for speed's sake we usually sit in the bar area so we can get our food quickly and get back to work.

Yesterday a friend and I were sitting at a table in the bar and in walks Steve Stone (on his cell phone, of course). He went straight to the back of the bar area and sat down (this happened to be at the table immediately behind my friend and I). I noticed him walk in but didn't really think much of it other than "he sure is short!". I also had my back to him once he sat down so it was easy not to look. However, the tourist family sitting in front of me were very excited to see a Chicago celebrity and the woman (also sitting with her back to Steve Stone) kept twisting her head to look behind her and see what SS was doing, or perhaps who he was meeting for lunch. She did this repeatedly - probably 10 times in the period of 20 minutes; each time she craned her neck around she had to look at me first, since I was in front of SS. After the first two times I have to tell you it became really annoying and I wanted to say "could you just sit forward and please eat your lunch!".

So, while I'm no celebrity I was unexpectedly able to experience what it's like when someone is gawking at you while you are just trying to quietly eat your lunch. Worse yet, this was just one nosey woman - imagine what it's like when there is a hoard of people or if you are an A-list celebrity, it really must be a nightmare.

In the past I never approached these people or acknowledged them anyways - mostly because 1) I like to give them their privacy, 2) I don't want to make their heads any bigger than they already may be and 3) I guess I like to have a little dignity and somehow gushing over them or asking for an autograph just seems silly. However, now that I have had a taste of what it feels like to be in their shoes I'll be sure to continue to pretend I don't notice them.

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