hollywood, hollywood sign, los angeles

Have you ever unknowingly met a celebrity and not realized it?

I reside just north of Los Angeles, and lots of celebs live in this area. I run into them fairly frequently. I’m an outgoing, chatty kind of person – I’m the person who strikes up a conversation in the grocery line. However, I am also apparently quite unaware of celebrity status, which leads me to the two stories I’m about to relate.

The first happened about 15 years ago. I was on a treadmill at the local Gold’s Gym, warming up before a session with my trainer. A big guy got on the treadmill next to mine, and was checking out his new bicep tattoo while walking slowly to warm up. I commented that it looked like it hurt, because the skin around the ink was red and swollen. He said, yeah, it hurts more than any of the others I’ve gotten. We then proceeded to have a whole conversation about tattoos and their significance. At some point my trainer came over, and she was being all flirty and starry eyed, and I’d never seen her act that way before. After we made our way to the free weight area she asked me if I knew who that was. I said no, just some guy with a new tattoo. She gave me a look of disbelief and said, “That’s The Rock!” My expression must have been completely blank, because she explained that he is Dwayne Johnson, a World Wrestling superstar and EVERYONE knows who he is. Except me. I’d never heard of him. This was prior to his movie career taking off, so even though he was well known he wasn’t yet a household name. But he was very friendly and I enjoyed talking with him.

The next incident happened much more recently. I was shopping at Michael’s (the craft store) and was in the scrapbooking aisle. A young woman came up and asked if I knew where she could find stickers that look like band-aids. This was “my” store, so of course I knew where everything was, and I walked her to the correct area. I asked what event she was scrapbooking, and she said her eldest son had just gotten a scooter and promptly fell off it and scraped his knees. We laughed about the things kids do, and I made a couple of suggestions about how to commemorate the event (I’m a veteran scrapbooker). She started telling me about other events she wanted to scrap, and we began discussing ideas for those pages. She said she lived in Calabasas, which is a bedroom community with plenty of restaurants and boutiques, but not much else. I told her about a scrapbook store that was literally 2 miles up the street, and she was super excited because she didn’t know about it. She thanked me profusely for sharing my ideas for her pages and for telling her about the other store. Then she caught herself and said, “I’m so rude! Hi, my name’s Brit,” and shook my hand. I, in turn, introduced myself and said I hoped to run into her again because we had such a great exchange of ideas. She said, almost wistfully, “That would be so nice.” At that moment I noticed a guy standing at the end of the aisle with his arms folded and a very impatient look on his face. She saw him too, and said, “Oh well, looks like I’ve gotta go.” She grabbed her stickers and left and I continued shopping.

A short while later I went to the checkout lane where all the employees were freaking out. “Did you see her?? Britney Spears was in our store! OMG, Britney Spears bought some stuff in our store!!” It was at that point I realized I’d been giving scrapbooking advice to Britney Spears for 10 minutes, and that the guy at the end of the aisle was her bodyguard! She had no makeup on, hair in a ponytail, sweatshirt, shorts and cowboy boots. She seemed very friendly and eager to share creative ideas and learn more about her hobby. I wish I would have exchanged numbers with her; she seemed like someone who would be fun to hang out and get creative with. I felt really ignorant that I didn’t recognize her, but many people have told me that I gave her a tremendous gift that day, by simply relating to her as a “normal” person and not as a celebrity.