I Remember When I Was Younger, I Thought The Answers Were Locked In People, So I Admired The Ones Whose Lives Were A Source Of Envy To People Like Me
I always compare her to the innocent and sweet young lady I met at Universal Studios in 1995.
I had been working there for the last eight or nine months when I reported to work as if it was any other day. There were no warnings, no signs, and definitely no alarms going off in my head that this was to be the day I got to meet probably my favorite actress at the time.
The way my workday usually went was that I would get their in my civies, go into wardrobe, and change into my plain white uniform that marked me as an employee as the melancholiest place on Earth, Universal Studios, Hollywood. I had arrived to work with plenty of time to spare so it was with a leisurely place that I first saw her by the front gate. At least I thought it was her? But it couldn't be, could it? After all, I'd only recently watched her first (and definitely best) film only a month prior and had been obsessing about her for quite some time by then. I honestly thought I was imagining it all. She looked smaller in person, younger, less glamorous, more like a normal person. And she was smiling like any other person would smile. I passed her by, thinking the resemblance was uncanny, but that my luck wasn't of sufficient quantity to arrange for the planets to align in such a way that I would get to meet her. I shrugged my shoulders and continued onto wardrobe.
I was about one hundred yards away from where she stood with her family and manager/uncle/bodyguard. I began to doubt myself. I started to think that if it was her and I didn't at least try to talk to her that I'd be kicking myself ten years later. It couldn't hurt to make sure, I thought. Besides it's probably not her. I'll just verify her identity and put the whole issue to rest.
So I walked back to where she was still waiting to get in. As I walked closer and closer it became painfully that this celebrity, this goddess of the big screen, was, in fact, standing less than a car's length away from me. But what clinched it, what sealed the deal, was the fact that she had formed a small line--no more than three or four people--of people asking for her autograph. Yet, seeing the line and seeing that she was with her family I did a most regrettable thing.
I chickened out.
I decided I was too nervous to actually talk to her and walked to wardrobe to get ready for work. I was sad, to be sure, but I've always had a problem with nerves around people who are better than me. That's why a lot of people say I tend to gravitate towards people, especially women, who are younger than me, in order to even the playing field in my mind. That day was no different. Celebrity is a trump card that I just cannot compete with. I was positive that a big-time star like her would not want to meet a nobody like me. I was almost happy to get away from her so that she couldn't see how nervous she made me.
But as I was walking out in my crisp white uniform the doubts began to skulk again. Ten years from now would I be regretting having never at least said hello? Did I want to be that person that ran from people and events that were a tad bit intimidating? I finally bullied up the courage to try and get her autograph.
Butterflies, ringing bells, angels singing, spinning--all these sensations flashed through my entire body at the knowledge that I was going to meet her. I was nervous and scared, so much so that I almost chickened out again. I was almost turned around, ready to leave again, when the couple in front of me stopped talking to her and I was next in line to chat with her.
"Hello, it's so wonderful to meet you."
"It's nice to meet you too."
"I loved you in Interview With The Vampire. You were just so awesome in that."
"Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was really fun to make."
"So are you here with your family?"
"Yes, I am. Hopefully, it'll be a fun day today."
"Do you think you could sign something?"
(Searching for something to sign, anything would do, please, Lord, let me have something to sign)
I finally found a paycheck stub. How embarrassing. This poor girl has to know the pittiance I make at my first ever job.
She had her father (?) bend over so she could use my pen to sign the stub.
"My brother's a really big fan of yours. Could you just make that out to Patrick?"
"He'll never believe I met you," I said as she was signing.
"Here you go," she said when she finished. She then walked through the front gate with her family, yet another entourage of curious fans behind her. I looked at the signature:
From Kirsten Dunst
Take no heroes,
Its no good
They don't stand up to you
Just take the bit you think they can use
Yeah, I still chickened out in a way. Somehow saying the autograph was for my brother made the whole experience a little easier. And, yeah, the whole meeting wasn't this overblown deal, but, as aforementioned, she was my favorite celebrity at the time and I have never come close to matching the nervousness and excitement upon meeting anyone else famous.
I think that's due to the fact that most celebrities don't impress me much these days, including her. I think there's something inherently tied to childhood that makes you fall head-over-heels into crushes on celebrities. As you get older and you start to realize that the individuals who you look up to are not famous by any means. You start to realize that there are a lot of amazing people in the world and most of them will never get their name printed in any magazine, never have anyone ask their autograph, and probably never even be recognized on sight on the street.
So, yes, it puts a smile on face to think of how little 'ole me (to borrow a catchphrase) met Kirsten Dunst. But it's nothing compared to the smile I had when I met my last girlfriend. It's small potatoes when placed against the joy I had saw my good friend's name in the paper. And it's definitely doesn't hold a candle to the time surprising a friend on her fifteenth birthday.
Those truly were magical times.