As if my trip to the BlogHer Food conference in Atlanta wasn’t an exciting enough weekend, I happened to have a thrilling encounter on Sunday morning before returning to Florida. This story pretty much demonstrates how incredibly awkward I can be…and how I will never manage to meet a celebrity in real life. Come on along with me, will you?
It was 8:00am on Sunday morning. My mom and I were getting ready to leave Atlanta, but before doing so we had an incredibly important mission. Sadly, Florida is not home to a single Trader Joe’s, but there are a number of them in the Atlanta area. After a little sleuthing I located the nearest one to our hotel, and we arrived right as the store opened in order to stock our car before driving home. After perusing the aisles and trying to restrain myself from buying everything on the shelves, we walked up to the check out line. I paid for my groceries and then waited as my mom had her items scanned.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a man walk up to the check out lane behind us. He was in a pair of khaki cargo shorts, a gray tee shirt, and Birkenstock sandals. Normal. But, there was something about him…
It took me about 4 seconds to register who I was looking at. Oh…my…gosh. My eyes widened to the size of saucers, and I’m quite sure that my mouth started to hang open ever so slightly. Is it him? No…couldn’t be. But dang it…it looked just like him.
So, who was I staring at? His name is Andrew Lincoln…and you would know him from 1- my all time FAVORITE movie “Love Actually,” in which his character stood outside Kiera Knightley’s door confessing his love to her via posterboard (I tear up every time). Or, 2- more recently: he is the lead actor in the AMC television show “The Walking Dead.”
There he was, standing in line behind us at Trader Joe’s. My mother was completely unaware of his presence, and I suddenly felt the need to inform her and get a second opinion/confirmation that I wasn’t dreaming up a celebrity out of nowhere. I sidled up beside her and out of the corner of my mouth I whispered,
“look to your left. Do you recognize that guy? He’s from ‘Love Actually.’ Don’t be obvious…”
She turned her head and assessed. She looked back at me and muttered,
“that isn’t the guy from Love Actually. Why would he be in Atlanta?”
It was at that moment that I overheard the cashier make a comment to him. The cashier said something along the lines of “glad to know that you’re still alive after all of those zombies.” SNAP! IT IS HIM! I knew it.
My mom and I pushed our cart out into the parking lot, and I was finally able to speak at a regular volume.
“Mom! That is totally him!”
I mimicked holding a posterboard and saying the line “and my wasted heart will love you…until you look like this…”
“Do you want me to ask him to take a picture with you?”
“Ack, I don’t know! I don’t even know his name. Wouldn’t it be rude to say something like, ‘hey – are you the guy from Love Actually?’ Wouldn’t you be offended a little bit that someone didn’t know your name?”
Oh, the indecision! We stood outside for a minute, contemplating what we should do when he emerged from the store. Seconds later, he walked outside carrying his two grocery bags and headed right toward us. He walked to the car parked next to ours (a white Ford SUV) and climbed in. My mom looked at me and said,
“See? That can’t be him! Why would he be driving a Ford? In Atlanta.”
No…I couldn’t be wrong! I thought about it for a second…and then – lightbulb!
“Mom, have you ever seen ‘The Walking Dead?’ It takes place in Atlanta.”
“Oh my gosh! IT WAS HIM! Why didn’t we get a picture?”
It is at time like these that I wish I was a little bit more impulsive in nature. Who knows what would have happened if we’d stopped him to say hi? I’m quite sure he would have been nice about it, but then again…we’ll never know for certain. Clearly, the sighting of/being in close proximity to a celebrity of any kind renders me unable to speak or think properly. My mind turned to mush in the moment, and I’m quite sure I would have rambled incoherently to him if I attempted to speak at all. Ah, well. Maybe next time I’ll be better prepared for these types of situations.
So…have you ever had a celebrity encounter in the past? What happened?