Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Brush With Who?

This is going to be my first non-drinking day since going off the cleanse - and I'm ready for it. The weekend was ... awesome! But I didn't over-indulge. No hangovers. No problems. Just a lot of fun!!

We were able to toast the hubby's new job. We were able to toast the first party weekend after the cleanse. We toasted Uncle Eddie, a WWII vet who died right around Remembrance/Veteran's Day two years ago. And we toasted a record-breaking high temperature yesterday (it was almost summery). Hell, we practically toasted toasting.

Then last night we dashed out into a suddenly cool drizzle, down the street for Indian food - our first real dinner out since before the cleanse.

Even though it was almost 10, the resto was quite busy. We sat in our favorite table for two. Another empty table separated us from two men chatting quietly with each other on my right. I immediately noticed that the smaller man was kind of artsy looking. He had a sort of hip/humble slouch to his shoulders. In the next instant, I recognized him. "Is that Gary Oldman?" I asked the hubs.

(I was impressed with myself for recognizing him so quickly. It's not so much that Mr. Oldman is an obscure actor ... as he is a brilliant one who disappears into his roles completely. Making him waaaay harder to place than, say ... John Travolta ...?)

The hubs tried to act casual, kind of stretching his arms up and glancing over his shoulder - sort of like a guy trying to put his arm around a  new girlfriend at a flick.

Then he's like, "Yup. That's him, alright."

I started to get excited. I know Oldman's better known for his role as Commissioner Gordon in The Dark Knight series. He also plays Sirius Black in the Harry Potter flicks. He's so prolific, I sincerely don't have the energy to count - let alone list - all the movies he's been in.

But I'll always remember him most for playing Drexl Spivey in the Tarantino flick True Romance. This sexy thriller was one of the first movies the hubs and I ever went to way back in the fall of 1993 (speaking of sneaking an arm around a girl, the hubs corralled me into an empty storefront afterwards where we engaged in a long and enthusiastic PDA). As for Oldman, he gave such an unforgettable performance as the nasty one-eyed drug dealer, that I still get chills thinking about him almost twenty years later.

Anyway, I always get a little self-conscious when I see celebrities. (Like when I saw what's-his-name - the Irish lad with a bad attitude - it'll come to me - jogging down Avenue Road last year. Man he was tiny!) I get anxious about it because I know actors say they like working in Toronto because people don't bother them. They can just walk around like normal folks. That's refreshing for famous people, apparently. To feel normal.

But then I think to myself ... but they're celebrities! They're just saying that so we won't think they're vain! Won't it depress them when nobody recognizes them? I mean, isn't that the point of getting famous?! I just think it's rude to not bug celebrities when you see them. So I was really hankering for an autograph or a little nod of the head to Gary, at least.

"You're not gonna say anything, are you?" the hubs asked.

"Who me?" I said. "Nahhhhh."

Meanwhile, the tables on the other side of us started to fill with old ladies. It was after 10pm, but there they were, straggling in, all wearing funky spectacles of different shades, all with different kinds of old lady hair. Four of them altogether, they looked bright and spry, probably retired professors from U of T out for some intellectual discussion and/or curry.

Of course, I was more interested in eavesdropping on Oldman and his dinner companion - someone who appeared to be an agent or producer type. Meaning he was sort of loud and overbearing - at least compared to the mild-mannered thespian who was very softspoken and had the plummiest English accent I've heard outside of Downtown Abbey. 

I couldn't really hear them, especially because the whole time, this table of old ladies on the other side kept getting bigger and bigger. And bigger!! Finally, groups of younger women - girls, really, students - started coming in to join them. The waiters just kept adding more and more tables to accommodate the expanding gang. Meaning they just kept getting closer and closer to us. At one point, one girl's ass even swiped right across the hubs' basket of naan bread. By the time it had all settled down, there were at least 20 women having dinner together and the ones on the end were practically in each other's laps.

And ours.

It was clear that the polite thing to do would be to give up our table - and move to the empty one ... which just happened to be beside Mr. Oldman's. I kept putting up my hand to get the waiter's attention. "Hey, we'll just switch!" kind of thing, but the hubs knew I was probably planning a celeb ambush, so he kept saying, "Wait till they ask! Wait till they ask!"

Well, they finally did ask. But rather than switching all our food, they just slipped the empty table out of its slot and then pushed our table down ... right beside Gary's. I was better able to hear the conversation ... though it was the producer type who did most of the talking, natch. All I could really glean from Gary was that he found the food "almost too spicy" - which it was. My tongue was on fire and the hubs looked like he'd just had a hot shower by the end of it.

Anyway ... about these girls/women on our left. A table of twenty. It's after ten o'clock on a chilly, rainy night. They're arm's length from a fully-stocked bar ... everyone is of age - some of them by whole centuries. And yet nobody was drinking! There was one beer bottle waaaay at the other end of the table, but even the young girls ordered water.

I said to the hubs: "There's something you'd never catch me doing in university. Sitting down to a dry dinner with a bunch of professors. Um ... no thanks."

Back then, if there wasn't booze involved, I usually didn't show up for anything. And that included going to class very much. (It often helped that I was hungover in class, which when you're a kid is almost as good as being drunk.)

Anyway, our Indian dinner went by without incident. I didn't even ask for Spivey's autograph. Though I regret it. He's probably depressed nobody bugged him last night. He's probably on the phone with his fancy L.A. shrink right now lamenting how he's lost it.

"I mean I'm in fucking Canada f'crissakes and nobody bloody recognized me?! When can I kill myself? Or my agent?!"

A more interesting (or at least more booze-related) celeb sighting happened to me earlier this year. I saw Julianne Moore in my local liquor store. Yep. I'm a huge fan of Ms. Moore's and was happy to learn we must have a love of cheap wine in common. Because there she was - no makeup, her long coppery hair down and stringy - and partly graying - wearing drab clothes, not in the schmancy Vintages section where you'd expect to see an award-winning star, but in the cheap 10-bucks-or-less-a-bottle aisles. I don't know - maybe she was planning on going to the expensive section and was just marveling at the fact that - "gasp! Really? You can buy wine for 8 bucks?!" But who knows?

Unlike how she appears in film - ageless and stunning - Ms. Moore looked every year of her early fifties. It made me long for a world where we could all run around with Hollywood lighting and makeup artists at our beck and call because they sure do a hell of a good job at primping people up.

Anyway, I hauled out my iPhone to take a pic of her. I snuck in behind the Chilean section and held the phone up above a shelf. Her face was very pale and expressionless. She was looking down at the shelves, her eyes not even glancing up once. I strained to get a good angle of her, but then I felt a tug of regret.

I wouldn't want anyone snapping a picture of me shopping for wine by myself. Would I?

So I tucked the phone away and wondered ... How desperate do you have to be for a drink that you'll go shopping by yourself for a bottle of cheap wine? Without makeup? Or an entourage? When you're famous? I mean - don't people want to get famous so they can send people out to do things like that ...? 

Nope. See? Stars. They're just like us. ;)

They even look like us. Sometimes, anyway.


Gary Oldman on IMDb
Ditto Julianne Moore
And while we're at it: The Irish lad with the attitude - Colin Farrell
For Ms. Moore's next solo shopping spree: a list of 16 of the best cheap wines!