Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Celebrity Encounter {Proof That I'm A Huge Dork}

As if you needed any more proof than I’ve already provided.

It should be noted, before I begin this story, that I was really into movies as a teenager, so I was pretty familiar with famous actors, even some the more obscure ones. Maybe it was because I knew that I would never in my lifetime join the ranks of the Hollywood elite (because I had no acting skills, but also mainly because I had trouble speaking to anyone I hadn’t known for at least five years, let alone in front of a camera), but I just really enjoyed all genres of movies and learning useless trivia about actors.

Wouldn’t you know it – this knowledge actually came in handy (well, sort of). When I was 17 I had a summer job working at the front desk of a hotel spa. One morning I arrived a half hour before we were scheduled to open, as usual, and was surprised to find a man already waiting in the lobby. I greeted him (awkwardly, of course), and he said he had an appointment for a massage.

“Ok,” I said. “For what time?”

“6:30,” he said.

Huh? It was 6:30, and we weren’t open yet.

“Um…oh…really? We don’t open until 7:00.” I fumbled around as I located the schedule book. “You’re sure it was for 6:30?”

He seemed certain, so I checked the schedule, and sure enough someone had written “Patton - 6:30” at the top of the page. It was even underlined. Weird, I had worked the evening before and no one had informed me of this.

I kept stealing glances at him. He was a very regular looking guy, but there was something oddly familiar about him. I honestly felt like I knew him. This made it even more awkward because I felt like I should know his name – like perhaps he worked in the hotel, and I just didn’t recognize him because he wasn’t wearing his uniform.

I mumbled an awkward apology and told him I needed to go downstairs to get my cash drawer. He seemed very patient and forgiving of my awkwardness, and as I hurried off, I wondered why this polite, quiet man was special enough to get a massage before we opened. Surely, he must work here in another department, and I will be terribly embarrassed when I finally figure out who he is.
When I returned to the spa, I saw that my boss and coworkers had arrived and Mr. Patton was quickly being ushered into the massage area. Relieved, I took my place behind the counter and began setting up my register.

“Did you know that guy is in movies?” my boss remarked to my coworker.

“Really?” she said.

“Yeah, he’s an actor.”

And then, just like that, it clicked. Patton. WILL Patton.

Celebrity Encounter
Photo - www.StarsColor.com

“Yeah, he was in Armaggeddon. He was the guy who left the toy space shuttle for his son.”
WHAT? That’s all you people know about him? You do not know the treasure that is lying on a massage table just beyond those doors.

“Oh, that’s my son’s favorite movie! I’ll have to get his autograph.”

WHAT? You don’t even know the epicness of this guy. The Postman. Gone In Sixty Seconds. Remember The Titans.

Anxiety swelled up within me. I only had one shot at this. One of my favorite actors, and I hoped I hadn’t blown it by my initial stupidity. Sure, I was caught off guard, but I really liked this guy. I needed to let him know.

It felt like an eternity, but he finally exited the massage area and returned to the counter to pay. I rang him up and then handed him a scrap of paper I’d found in my drawer.

“Can I have your autograph?”

He paused. Considering I hadn’t shown any signs of recognition earlier, I’m pretty sure I caught him a little off guard.

“Sure,” he said. He asked me my name and began writing his message. I struggled internally to come up with something wonderful to say…something that would express my profound appreciation for his work…something that he would always remember and carry with him on those long days of shooting when he would doubt himself and question if it was all worth it.

He handed over his precious autograph, and I said the only five words I could think of:
“Can I shake your hand?”

Sheer awesomeness right there.

“Sure,” he said slowly, furrowing his brow in confusion. He was undoubtedly puzzled by my sudden boldness after all of our earlier exchanges.  And probably wondering if I had one of those hidden hand buzzers that clowns carry around.

We shook hands as I grinned like the silly schoolgirl I was, and then my coworker requested an autograph for her young son.

“What’s his name?” he asked.

“Justice,” she said.

“Justice? That’s almost as bad as my parents naming me Will,” he joked.  (I told you he was Epic.)

He signed the autograph, and I thought it couldn’t get any more awkward than it already had been.

Then, as Epic Will turned to leave, my boss pulled out a camera and snapped a picture of him, blinding flash and all.

“HAHA! I got you!” he said.
Oh dear God. The absurdity, make it stop.

“Yeah,” Will said slowly. He gave a hesitant chuckle. “Ya got me.”
The bewildered smile never left his face as he headed out the door, and I’ve always wondered if he went back to his room, called up Denzel, and told him all about his uncomfortable encounter in a small-town hotel bathhouse.

Dearest Will,

If you ever read this, please know that I deeply regret the clumsy nature of our first encounter, and if we ever meet again, I promise to tell you how awesome you are. And I won’t ask to shake your hand. But you can ask me if you want to.

With Fond Memories,


Celebrity Autograph