Why I Never Want to End Up Famous

7 Sep

Obviously, this title is a moot point, I can’t think of anyone who is at all concerned that I will end up famous.  Infamous, maybe.  Famous, no.

I spent the first part of the weekend in Yale with my brother and his new classmates. Famous?  No.  At least I don’t think so.  Happy and settled and excited?  Yes.  They are all embarking on a three year program that they all want to embark on. It’s very motivating to be around that many people that content with where they are.

I spent the rest of the weekend with a couple of acquaintances who are semi-famous.  They play professional hockey. Maybe I’m biased but hockey players seem pretty down to earth and very aware that their success is team success.  I never once felt suffocated in a room because of their ego-space.  I never once felt like I was a lesser person.  Any hockey discussion, and there was very little, revolved around silly team banter or ways they want to improve.

So I’m not going to give another blah, blah, blah talk about how famous people all end up cocky and stuck-up and demanding.  Maybe they do. I haven’t met all (or even many) famous people so I wouldn’t know.

What I do know is that society has expectations.  We have expectations of famous people.  And fame can be quite isolating.

My friends wanted a normal weekend.  And by normal, they meant my normal.  Not their normal.  They wanted to sit at the crappy restaurant table in the back corner by the bathroom because no one recognized them and put them at the front table. They wanted to wait in line at the Sam Adams Brewery for a regular tour instead of being given a personalized tour.  They wanted to not talk about hockey or money or women or whatever things fans expect them to talk about.  They wanted to wait in the suffocating lines at Mike’s Pastry and yell their order just like everyone else (Ok, I admit it.  I hate Mike’s.  I don’t like thousands of Cannoli Crazies touching me, shoving me, and trying to take touristy photos over my head.  I would totally have been fine with using a little famous-flashing to get taken care of sooner.)  But they didn’t want that.

They were shocked by the ordinary things I did.  It was hot so I stuck my head in the kid’s fountain.  Sure, I probably looked like a wet kitten after that but there was no one trying to take my photo, no worry of a soggy autograph.  When I got text messages, they were from friends and family checking in.  No general manager, no press agent, no one working for me.  I wore what I felt like wearing which meant that aside from a nice dress for proper North End evening dining, I spent most of the weekend in shorts and a Red Sox (or a Phillies) t-shirt and flip flips.  I’m pretty sure they wore what they felt like wearing. I’m just also pretty sure that they had to get their clothing choices approved by one of the many people who kept trying to get ahold of them all weekend.

When someone bumped into me and said “Oh, Excuse me!” and I said “That’s okay!” the conversation ended there.  When someone bumped into one of them, there was an added “Oh, are you…no, you couldn’t be…but has anyone ever told you that you look an awful lot like….”

And these were just hockey players.  Without their layers of gear and helmets and possible playoff beards, they look pretty ordinary.  They can pass undetected through a city better than other, more face-focused sports.

I enjoyed being someone’s normal.  But I also enjoyed knowing that normal is every day for me.  There are no expectations following me around, no worries that someone other than myself will decide to transfer me to a new city.  I own my destiny in a way that they don’t, and never will.  I can run and bike and lift weights and do whatever exercise I feel like, I don’t have someone whose job it is to decide what I can and can’t handle.

I don’t worry that every careless word I say will be Tweeted to the masses.  That a teasing jibe to a friend could be taken out of context.  That I am on display and have an audience even when I’m back stage.  Even when I’m in my dressing room.  Even when I exit the auditorium.

If you ever become famous, I’ll be the friend who doesn’t take photos, doesn’t ask incessant questions about your celebrity status and who you’ve met and how lucky you are.  All I ask in return, is that if we ever go to Mike’s Pastry’s, you make a small scene, empty out the buzzing hive, and let me retrieve your preferred sweets without being crushed underfoot.

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One Response to “Why I Never Want to End Up Famous”

  1. Meg September 14, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    If I become famous I will take you to MODERN pastry, which is right across the street from Mike’s and has way better cannoli. Why? Well, Mike’s has become so famous that they have to make stuff in advance and freeze it. Modern still makes everything fresh every day. And then we will go to a sports game and sit in a fancy box but not wear fancy clothes.

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