Have you imagined how you would react if you ever met someone famous? Do you think you'd be the epitome of Calm Cool Collected? Or would you freak out?
Last week, my older sister and I watched Michelle Obama's documentary on Netflix. It covered her book tour and watching the reactions of the people who met her was pretty enlightening. For the most part, people were calm and respectful. A few got emotional and one girl was crying so much she could barely get any words out. For the record, if I'd had the chance to meet her when she rolled through here, it's a safe bet that I would've reacted the same as that girl. Not an Ugly Cry, mind you, but more of a "You are an amazing person and an inspiration to black females everywhere and I'm honored and privileged to be breathing the same air as you" kind of cry.
Watching the public's reactions reminded me of the times I've met famous people and how I reacted.
THAT TIME I MET DANNY ROMALOTTI (AKA MICHAEL DAMIAN)
Are you a Y&R fan? Yeah I was, too.
The theme song is iconic.
The longevity of the show is astounding. It's been on, for like, what? A 100 years now?
And this dude was major eye candy for me back in the day. It's 1989, the year I graduated from high school. That same year, a movie with the two Coreys (Corey Feldman and the late Corey Haim) came out called Dream A Little Dream. One of the more popular songs off that movie soundtrack was Michael Damian's "Rock On."
The dude can't dance for shit, but I loved the song. He was doing a mall tour to promote it and you can bet your ass I went down to Paradise Valley Mall to see him. To be honest, I didn't really meet-meet Mr. Damian. It was a mall tour after all and it had to be a quick in-and-out thing. As he was being escorted through the crowd, he grabbed my hand as he walked by and quickly thanked me for showing up.
Uh, you're welcome Danny, I mean Michael. It was a no-brainer really.
Because you're Danny Fucking Romalotti.
From The Young & The Restless.
A soap opera I'd watched for, like, YEARS.
And then you record a song and I get to see you in person?
Hells yeah, I'm there.
The handshake happened so quickly that I didn't have time to react. I just remember that he smelled really good and I didn't wash my hand for the rest of the day. LOL
THAT TIME I MET NEO (AKA KEANU REEVES, not the R&B singer)
The year is 1999. My BFF at the time had heard that Keanu was playing in a band called Dogstar. I'd heard that, too, but their music wasn't being played on the radio so I'd never heard it. To this day, I don't remember how she got the tickets.
They were playing at a venue called Alice Cooperstown. Yes, that Alice Cooper. Before it closed, his restaurant and sports bar was located in a not-so-great part of downtown Phoenix, but the food was good and the patio was huge. The whole time Keanu played, he didn't look up once. He paced his side of the stage in between songs and would keep rubbing his nose.
In that way.
Now, to be fair, I've never read Keanu's name in the tabloids when it comes to drug use, so he could've just been on a nervous-musical high. Anyhow, when we thought the show as over, my BFF and I walked around to the back of the building to see if we could get an autograph.
There was no security.
There was no line.
There were no people at all.
Just Keanu. Standing by himself. Smoking a cigarette.
He looked up and when he saw us, he flashed that "Ted" smile.
I'm freaking. The fuck. Out.
In my mind, I'm having an Ally McBeal Moment (if you've ever watched that show, then you know what I'm talking about) where I'm jumping around and screaming "OHMYGOD! OHMYGOD! IT'S KEANU REEVES! YOU'RE KEANU REEVES! IT'S TED! IT'S NEO! IT'S FUCKING NEO! YOU'RE MISSSSTER ANDERSON! I JUST SAW THE MATRIX LAST WEEK!"
Externally, I'm Miz Calm Cool Collected but smiling so hard I'm sure I look like the Joker.
"Can you sign my check?" I ask dreamily.
Oof. Can you sign my check? WTF was THAT?
Yeah, I carried around a checkbook. We paid for everything by check back then. #Don'tjudge.
I completely forgot he could've signed my event ticket.
Which was on my person.
I wanted to tell him that I'd seen The Matrix the weekend before and how much I loved it. But I could honestly feel that Ally McBeal Moment trying to bubble up and I didn't want him going back and telling a story that started with "So, we had a gig in Phoenix and this black girl..."
Thank God for besties with bigger personalities than mine. This particular bestie was great with people and was able to converse in a normal manner.
I don't remember anything that was said. LOL It was all a blur, to be honest.
But he did sign my check and he was laid-back and friendly while doing it, didn't rush us off or anything.
We didn't get to see the rest of the show, though. Bummer.
Because it wasn't over like we had thought. LOL Just a break in between sets and they wouldn't let us back in.
I wasn't even hatin' though because I'd met Keanu Reeves.
THAT TIME I MET THE JOKER (AKA JARED LETO, not Heath Ledger, or Tommy Lee Jones, or Jack Nicholson, or...)
It's 1994 and one of my favorite shows back then was My So-Called Life starring Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress Claire Danes as the main female character. The guy she crushed on was this hawtie named Jordan Catalano, portrayed by Jared.
That was my first intro to him.
Totally grunged-out and moody, but those eyes, man... KAPOW!
The show was pretty short-lived, only 19 eppies, but that was enough for me to keep an eye out for him in the years to come.
Flash forward to 2002.
By this time, my music of choice was alternative and my favorite band was--and still is--Linkin Park (RIP Chester). My favorite radio station was just starting to play music by Jared's band, 30 Seconds to Mars, and they were promoting their first self-titled album. They were playing at a dive bar out here called The Mason Jar and my BFF came with me.
We were waiting out in the parking lot so I could get my CD jacket signed. We didn't have to wait long and it was like a "hey, let's hang out" kind of vibe. Just like his character from the show. The venue was incredibly small, so it provided a more intimate setting, and we got to chat with him for a little bit.
I was dating Mr. Ex at the time and he gave me his copy of Requiem for a Dream DVD to be signed.
Yeahhhhhh, it didn't get signed.
You wanna know why?
Laser-beam blue eyes.
Yes, his eyes are really that round and really that blue in person. And when he's talking to you, he focuses on you and listens to what you're saying. It's a little unnerving, to say the least. Once again, thank God for besties with personalities bigger than mine. She carried the convo, cuuuuz...I got nothin'. LOL I think I silently handed him the CD cover because he was ready with a black Sharpie in hand.
I wanted to tell him that I really loved him on that TV show.
Yeahhhhh, all he got from me was crickets.
I did manage to tell him that I liked the new album and which song I liked (because he looked directly at me and asked), and that I was looking forward to the next one.
His band plays in arenas now and they've become one of my favorite bands. The last time I saw him perform was Sept 2014 when they opened up for Linkin Park. I nearly lost my damn mind when I heard that lineup and was ALL OVER those tickets like white on rice.
That was also the last time I saw Linkin Park live before lead singer, Chester Bennington, committed suicide. So that concert was extra special for me. Just like Linkin Park, Jared and his band sound so incredible performing live, it's like listening to a live version of their CD's.
I got to meet Jared when his band was just starting out.
And I didn't have to pay extra (like you probably have to do now). He was so chill, so humble, and kept thanking us for coming to the show.
I'd like to think that part of him hasn't changed.
I've heard the phrase "famous people are just like us." And they are.
Some of them came from modest and humble beginnings.
Some of them came from nothing.
Some of them may have even come from money.
But they put their pants on one leg at a time, they take their kids to school, and they go grocery shopping.
We put these people up on a pedestal, then tend to crush them underneath it when they fall out of favor.
We're quick to praise them, to judge them, to criticize them, to accuse them.
Yet, when we get the chance--or do anything to get the chance--to meet them, we act like it's all good in the neighborhood.
And then it's all over but the cryin'.
Black goddess musings on life and becoming a sustainably-conscious human being.