Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Feel So Old!!!!!

I'm really bad at celebrity spotting.

A couple of my co-workers came back from lunch all giddy because they think they may have seen Hugh Jackman.

OK. I know who he is.

Another co-worker was moved to reminisce about a Ryan Reynolds sighting she'd had sometime last year.

Er...Ryan who? OK, beginning to feel a little behind the times.

Well, I'm really bad at spotting celebrities, so in the spirit of conversation, I decided to share my ultimate "Just how bad AM I at spotting celebrities? This bad!" story.

There was a period of time in the early 00's when I was taking classes at a gym that had been all the rage among the stars in the 80's, still had a scattering of luminous clientele when I was attending, probably still does today. I ended up there because the guy I thought of as my kayak coach at the time had been an instructor there for years & was running winter classes for paddlers - it was tons of fun, he was a really good trainer. We had a really stupid falling-out a year or two down the road, never patched things up, but to this day I still have to give him credit for being the first person to really teach me how to do a good, balanced, non-boring, dry-land workout (before that I only really knew how to work out in the water).

For a couple of weeks, my class schedule was such that I was always in the locker room at the same time as this very nice, very attractive older African American lady. We got to the point where we'd chitchat a bit as we were getting ready for class - I can't really remember about what (except that she mentioned her daughter a couple of times, with a lot of affection) - well, finally one week she was talking about how she was getting ready for a show & it finally dawned on me that she was Eartha Kitt.

Eartha Kitt!!! I had failed to recognize Eartha Kitt!!!

So that (less the explanation of what I was even doing at a gym with famous people in the first place, which I just threw in here because hey, it actually makes the story kayak-relevant!!!) is the story that I occasionally tell to entertain people with my total inability to tell the famous from the unfamous.

So I spun my yarn, expecting the usual laughter -

And co-worker #4 looked at me & said "Who's Eartha Kitt?"


PS - A note about that lovely picture of Eartha: NO, I did NOT suddenly go all crazed fangirl on her & demand an autographed picture. I borrowed the picture above from a true autograph hound (speaking of cute! hee hee). I think part of why people like her went to this gym was because it was pretty small & pretty serious & they could attend & work out like normal people - we were all there to do the same thing, get fit, not gawk or be gawked at. When the light finally did dawn, I guess I did have a brief "OMG, you're..." impulse, but I quelled it, didn't think it would be very nice.

But I still think it's pretty amazing that I just didn't figure out who she was right off the bat, y'know?


Michael said...

Pretty cool of Ms Kitt as well! She could have got annoyed you didn't recognize her and blabbed about who she was, etc. I wonder if she ever read your blog and sighed...

bonnie said...

Well, this is actually the first time I'm writing about it. I mean, I just felt so silly - what kind of maroon doesn't recognize Eartha Kitt?

Carol Anne said...

Well, there was the time I was sitting next to Tony Hillerman and didn't realize it. It was at a writing conference where he was the scheduled guest of honor and keynote speaker, so I really should have realized who he was.

Yeah, Eartha Kitt's a great lady. Must have been interesting to know her as a person and not as a celebrity -- and she may have been glad to be regarded that way, too.

bonnie said...

Tony Hillerman? Wow! That's pretty high magnitude literary stardom, there!

So was it his keynote that inspired you to start writing mysteries? I don't think I left any comments but I enjoyed Murder on the Sports Desk.

The apostrophes thing in particular cracked me up!

Back to the original topic - I think that most people who get to be famous probably do like being famous. But when you get to be Eartha Kitt level famous - well, it's got to be nice to have a few places you can go without people asking you to sing "Santa Baby" or make that Catwoman growl or something.

pia said...

Uh I wouldn't have :) I lived on 63rd off Fifth from 76-91. Must have encountered celebrities everyday. Only recognized Diana Ross because she had an office on my block and would stand there and wave to people. Kind of gross
I used to joke that I could have bumped into Woody Allen at a phone booth (still had them then) and wouldn't have recognized him. Probably did

clairesgarden said...

I am very uncool, I can flick through a 'glossy' magazine and not know who anybody is or why they are famous.
there is currnetly a microsoft advert which has the theme of recognising famous people, they applaud the inventor of the microchip etc....
I do not recognise politicians either.
so am I stupid or 'unwordly'?

Ol' Philosophizer said...

"Who's Eartha Kitt?"

I got a similar reaction when I told my kids that I had a phone conversation with Henny Youngman. But at least I got him to tell me a joke. Did you get Eartha to sing you a song?

Kristen said...

Too funny. Loved Eartha Kitt. No one could "growl" like her.

PeconicPuffin said...

You've got great taste in people to not recognize!

I was once stuck in an elevator with Robert Duvall in his heyday (well, two years after Apocalypse Now came out) and didn't recognize him, despite talking with him for ten solid minutes (I had to be told afterwards why everyone else in the elevator was paying attention to the conversation.)

But Eartha Kitt! Very very cool.

Carol Anne said...

Actually, I was dabbling in mysteries before I met Hillerman, but meeting him did increase my enthusiasm for the genre -- I'd mostly been working on science fiction at the time. And then I also got into journalism as well, and somehow journalism and mysteries go together.

Raef said...

Wana know my first sighting of a celebrity.Well you are gunna hear it. I was an entrant in the energy challenge which is about environmentally friendly cars. So I enters this challenge with a car that I built at the local technical college for about $100.We left Sydney central and proceeded to Penrith at the western side of Sydney.The next day we were in Orange in the middle of the state and all the camera crews came to interview the teams Then it came my turn and this bloke turns up and he says his name is Earnie Dingo. So I says who?Earnie Dingo came the reply...Never heard of ya before...By this time the blokes thinks Im pulling his leg and I thinks hes pulling mine. Then one of my cousins says to Mr Dingo he don't have TV and he don't know who you are.Cause this guy then has a laugh so me being polite laughs as well.Cause I'm a bit deaf as well.It wasnt til later I found out who he realy was..So there you are I didn't recognize him even when I was introduced to him....Cheers Stewart

bonnie said...

Stewart, I don't have a t.v. set either! I am aware of some of the famous-est U.S. television personalities, but I bet that I'd have exactly the same reaction to being introduced to about 98% of current US tv stars as you had to being introduced to Ernie Dingo!

"Ernie who?"

Silbs said...

Not recognize Kitt? What, you watching MTV?

Pat said...

Carol Anne groans at some of the "newsworthy" people I don't recognize or know much of anything about. "What one-design classes does she sail?"