I'm typically not one to boast. But
every now and then, we experience such a fabulous brush with
greatness that the star-struck voyeur in us can't help but blab
about it to the first 500 or so people we happen upon or in this
case, thousands of readers. Especially when it involves a famous
movie star. And we're not talking washed-up, late-night,
run-of-the-mill infomercial standards like Richard Simmons or Dr.
Ruth. This is "movie star" with a giant, gilded, capital "M." You
know, as in, say, Robert Redford.
That's right, I saw the
downhill racing, horse whispering, Sundance Kid himself during a
recent trip to San Francisco. We were awaiting the arrival of a
friend outside the airport when I spied the trademark corduroy
blazer, jeans, T-shirt and baseball hat emerge from the sliding
glass doors. Seeing as how I was not wearing my glasses at the time
and could probably have mistaken my own mother for a movie star, I
asked for confirmation from my cohorts.
"Isn't that Robert
Redford?" I asked, proudly pointing out my discovery.
Every neck in the car
immediately craned and began nodding in unison as he walked by.
Seems the hours of poring over trashy magazines on the plane had
paid off and for once, my faulty vision proved correct. Robby
Redford was standing 15 feet from where we were parked.
Let me clarify that this
wasn't just a chance glimpse of the back of his head as he ducked
into a limo surrounded by a large entourage. No, this was prime Big
Bob viewing, as plain as the nose on my face, which was firmly
plastered against the windshield to which I was now stuck like a
giant bug. In fact, we were in such pole position that we were able
to observe him chatting with a friend (unfortunately not Paul
Newman), rifling through his briefcase and (insert gasp of
disapproval here) lighting up a smoke.
That's right. The
Electric Horseman runs on nicotine.
OK, so this little
tidbit may border on tabloid gossip. But I am, after all, a
journalist, so it is my duty to report the facts. And I saw Robert
Redford smoking like a summer tourist train, which for a regular
purveyor of his so-outdoorsy-and-rustic-it-makes-you-want-to-puke
Sundance catalog, comes as a bit of a let down. It was sort of like
finding out Mother Theresa swears like a sailor or PeeWee Herman is
a letch. All right, so maybe it wasn't that bad. After all, it's
not as if he had his zipper down, spinach in his teeth or, horror
of horrors, was freakishly short. In fact, to his credit, R.R.
wasn't even cheating with high-heeled cowboy boots. And he did earn
Regular Joe points for stooping so low as to fly commercial. So, I
guess I was willing to let the cigarette thing slide, although it
did quash all chances of me ever leaving my husband for him. Which
is good, because it would have been a little awkward introducing
him to my parents.
Although I imagine R.R.
and I would have a lot to talk about. He went to CU; I went to CU.
He once worked at The Sink; I spent so much time there, they should
have offered me a job. He jumped off Baker's Bridge; I've ridden my
bike over it. He owns his own ski resort; I like to ski.
Of course, this is all
pointless conjecture, seeing as how I was purposely restrained
inside a locked vehicle so as not to do anything stupid, like offer
him a light from the car's cigarette lighter. Seems for folks in
California, star sightings (yes, even sightings of The Big R)
aren't anything to let your latte go cold over. In fact, stars are
so commonplace that residents actually get bored with them. So
although I was digging furiously for a pen and anything for him to
sign, my California-bred friends reacted with about the same amount
of indifference they would reserve for a parking valet. But just in
case I decided to do anything potentially embarrassing, like scream
his name or throw my underwear, they made sure the windows were
rolled up and the doors locked.
Not that I would have
done either. Let's face it, Bob's getting up there, and I'm no Anna
Nicole Smith. Besides, by the time I had plotted my escape, R.R.
had dashed off into a limo and was long gone, leaving me only with
memories of the way we were.