By Lucie Simone
One of the great things about living in Los Angeles is that on any given day, you could run into an A list celebrity at the doctor’s office, encounter a cavalcade of cars and police cruisers escorting the president to a party at a movie star’s home in the Hollywood Hills, dine alongside a megawatt pop star at a trendy restaurant, or even rub elbows with a style icon at a posh bar in downtown. It all happens here. All the time.
With so many celebrities roaming the streets of Los Angeles, it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy and excitement of star gazing. Oohing and aahing over seeing a famous actor at In & Out Burger is all very fun, but after many years in Tinsel Town, I barely even notice them anymore. Well, unless Johnny Depp ever crosses my path. I’m pretty sure I would drop to my knees and propose my undying love. Or throw up. Either way, Johnny would not be pleased about it one bit. Because in Tinsel Town, you gotta keep your cool.
The trick to not geeking out over a celebrity is to simply ignore them. Sure, take a gander. Size ‘em up. See if they really are as attractive in person as on the big screen. (The answer is always yes, or even more so). But gushing over them, squealing with excitement, or making public proclamations of undying love (except in cases of Johnny Depp, of course) is considered to be the height of impropriety. Acknowledging them with anything more than a head bob or a bored, “hey, man” is likely to send them running for cover. For you see, celebrities (I’m not including reality TV stars here – they crave that kind of attention) are like animals in the wild. They’re skittish, and if you try chatting one up while standing in line at Trader Joe’s, they’re going to bolt.
Over the years, I’ve spotted loads of celebrities just out and about, carrying on with their personal business like regular people. Tim Robbins at CVS; Josh Brolin, Eliza Dushku, Meg Ryan, and even Dick Clark at the grocery store; Edward Norton at the mall; Steven Spielberg at the gas station; Arnold Schwarzenneger in a parking lot off Sunset Strip where he very nearly ran me over with his Hummer; Giovanni Ribisi at a French restaurant; Dustin Hoffman at a video store; Vince Vaughn at the farmer’s market; Ben Affleck at The Coffee Bean; Jason Lee at Starbucks; Dave Chappell at a Greek restaurant; and on and on. (And yet, Johnny Depp still eludes me!).
It’s always a little fascinating to see celebs out in public like that. Like a tiger that’s escaped from the zoo. What’s even more interesting is to watch all the regular people slowly realize that there’s a star among them. Heads turn, whispers float. You can feel the buzz of energy rise through the crowd as everyone takes a peek at the tiger on the loose. A quiet hum making its way across a busy restaurant or winding its way through fruit stands at the farmer’s market. But no one, not a soul, ever dares ask for an autograph, a picture, or in any way acknowledges their celebrity status. They aren’t at a red carpet event, after all. They’re just hanging out. Or running errands. Or just, you know, keeping it real. So, like the sign says at the pet store, Keep Your Fingers Out of the Cage!