"The Day I Almost Met ____"

Monday, May 3, 2010

DC is no LA or NYC, but famous people do make it here with fair regularity, & I creepily track their presence with the help of @DCCelebrity (Did you know that Nick Jonas lobbied Congress for juvenile diabetes research funding? Or that Justin Bieber has been here twice in one month? And why am I only interested in teen heartthrobs?)

I've had a couple of cool run-ins. In a now-infamous flub, for example, I once asked Senator-elect Mark Warner for directions to the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Nevermind that I'd just asked a Senator for directions inside the Senate: As the elevator doors closed, my brain screamed, "YOU DOLT, YOU CAMPAIGNED FOR THAT DUDE!" A quick Google Image search confirmed my idiocy, which I've yet to live down.

In the realm of Marginally More Famous Folks, Katie Couric once held the door for me as we waited to enter the U.S. Capitol Building. She held up security (for wearing lots of jewelry, not for being famous), & apologized repeatedly for the long wait. That same day, I sat behind once-upon-a-time "Lost" star Maggie Grace at a press conference where I also met actress/activist Maria Bello. Oh yeah, & there was the time Norman Lear came to my office to light Chanukah candles.

And then there are the folks I didn't meet. Namely? John Glenn. Little-known fact: I REALLY LOVE JOHN GLENN. Ohio's hometown boy not only orbited the Earth but also served the Buckeye State in Congress. And dotted the "i" during the OSU's Script Ohio marching band performance. And is awesome. Because really, what's more awesome than an astronaut-cum-politician? I once spotted him across the room at a memorial ceremony where he was chatting with my boss as I stood at a safe distance, paralyzed with awe & nerves. When I later told my boss of my deep-seated JGlenn love, he asked why I hadn't sought out an introduction. Um, what would I have said to John Glenn? "Hi. I like Ohio. And outer space. And you." Yeah, that would've gone over well. With much regret, that day will live on as The Day I Almost Met John Glenn.

My pal Jessie had a similar almost-run-in with then-Senator Hillary Clinton, shortly after the Power-Suited One bowed out of the 2008 presidential race. As they stood together waiting for an elevator, Jessie couldn't bring herself to say a word - because she was embarrassed that she hadn't yet changed out of her flip-flops. Indeed, the simple matter of summer footwear kept my friend from meeting one of the most powerful women in the country. So even though our boss is friends with her, too - meaning a simple, "I work for so-&-so" would actually have been a perfect conversation-starter here - that day became The Day Jessie Almost Met Hillary Clinton.

And this weekend, Rachel had hers. On a regulation Saturday trip to Rite-Aid, she happened upon Chris Matthews, the hard-nosed host of Hardball, & had the cajones to strike up a convo. In fact, he invited her to come to a taping of the show, though he provided no details on how, exactly, one does that. As he turned to leave, she made eye contact with his buddy... making it The Day Rachel Almost Met Ewan MacGregor.

Much to my dismay, I recognize that this post is disgustingly Beltway-centric. Let's recap: John Glenn? And Hillary Clinton? And who recognizes a political TV show host over Ewan MacGregor?! And more importantly, how did I become a part of this alternate celebrity universe?
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