Suzanne Brockman, long time and well known Star Trek fan, got into an elevator on the ground floor and came face to face with Dr. McCoy, Bones … him who is a doctor and not a brick layer. It was just the two of them riding up and Brockman still talks about wanting to kick herself for not saying hi … live long and prosper … anything that would have shown her appreciation for the influence Star Fleet had on her life.
When people see people they have seen on TV or movies, musicians would count, when fans see them live, in 3D, and life size, it all becomes very surreal very fast. If this person you know like a friend from your favorite show smokes and you didn’t know they smoked you might smell it on their clothes. This makes them less distant now that they are more human.
People are people and most of us respond the same way to celebrity encounters: awe, nervous, uncomfortable. But they are just people. We had our own mornings compared to the morning they had. If they had to change their outfit before your meeting we won’t know about it. We won’t know it’s because they spilled their coffee down their shirt front. The grin they offer is tight because that burned spot still stings. They didn’t almost cancel because they dreaded seeing you, its because that burn really hurts.
I’ve interviewed Nora a few times.
Debbie Macomber. Suzanne Brockmann told me that Star Trek story when we met. I’ve tracked down Joss Whedon for his personal consent and Harrison Ford to assist Brenda Novak’s auction. I’ve hobbed nobbed with all The Boondock Saints and Rockapella, the band from Where in he World is Carmen San Diego. Once, for a newsletter article I was doing for the RWA Kiss of Death Chapter, I corresponded with Kit, Daphne du Maurier’s son who sent me pages about his mom.
People can learn to not be nervous. And if that doesn’t work, they can learn to hide their nervousness.
I remember Paul McCartney talking years ago of driving through Hollywood. He was at a red light and noticed the guy in the car next to him waving his arms. Paul rolled down his window and the guy held a copy of the album Band on the Run. As the light turned green and this exchange came to a rapid end, the other guy yelled over traffic: “Best album in the world. Going up in to the mountains now to listen all night.” Years and years later it was McCartney talking about that brief encounter, vivid in his mind a decade later.
If you see someone you recognize, stay professional, don’t blabber. Don’t be nervous. Just let them know that someday you’ll be their McCartney instead of your missed McCoy. And you will both be better for the experience.