You may think Spokane is a boring, snore-inducing little town, but so far I have spotted three celebrities--two in the past week, and one last summer (Cuba Gooding Jr, wearing a nice white shirt and tie, standing in the doorway of his trailer, which was parked on a street downtown, which was, incidentally, on my way to work. He was filming some movie at the time, and when I walked by I was a little stunned and tempted to flash him, but I spotted some teenage girls standing there and drooling so I thought I'd save him from too much fan lust). Last week, I was on my lunch break in the cafe next to the bookstore in the building where I work, minding my own business, sipping some split pea soup and trying to read. I always take my glasses off when I read and/or eat, so I couldn't see the guy a few tables down who was laughing and talking loudly to a bookstore clerk. I kept looking over, because, you know, I was trying to focus on my reading, and he just wouldn't shut up. Then I realized who it was: Sherman Alexie. He was signing copies of his novels for the bookstore, where he usually gives readings when he's in town. He looks like such a regular guy that I'm always shocked when he's not in waist-length braids tied with feathers and wearing turquoise jewelry. I really was going to make a fool of myself and go talk to him as soon as I finished my soup, but he left before then. It's probably best that way--I'm sure he gets tired of fans coming up to him and saying how much they like his work, and that they're writers too, and would he look at something they wrote? Well, I wouldn't go that far........or would I.....? I was amazed though--he is one of my favorite writers--Jonis introduced one of his short stories to us in Intro to Creative Writing, and ever since then I've been a huge fan. Incidentally, on our trip to Portland a few days later, we stayed in the Sherman Alexie room in the Bluebird Guesthouse (which consisted of pumpkin-colored walls, vintage lamps, and black velvet paintings of wooded landscapes).
My third celebrity sighting was today, in my little store. This woman comes up to the counter and hands me a stack of Christmas puzzles and Deluxe Scrabble and wonders if we could hold them while she looks around some more. I look up and it's Julia Sweeney. Again, I'm surprised at how normal she looks--like she's just another housewife that lives in Spokane. I really don't know what I expected (fur coat? tiara?) but I couldn't believe she was one of the many Christmas shoppers in the store, probably buying the puzzles for her mother and the scrabble for a nephew. Anyway, I did make a fool of myself and asked if she was indeed Julia Sweeney, to which she looked down or away and said yes. I was immediately embarrassed that I asked her, because, of course she was Julia Sweeney, and she was probably worried I'd bring up my favorite sketches and start imitating them (which I would never ever do). To remedy the situation I asked her if she was from Spokane, to which she replied yes, that she comes here a few times a year to visit family. Then I shut up. I'm sure she hates stuff like that. But, I couldn't resist.
On a related note, just yesterday, K's coworkers dragged him to Santa's lap in the mall and made him sit on it so they could take a group picture. I guess they budged in front of Julia Sweeney in the line so they wouldn't be late for their P.F. Chang reservation at 11:15. K didn't realize who they were budging in front of, but today, a coworker revealed what they had done. So we both had indirectly made fools of ourselves to the same person within 24 hours of each other. Boy howdy.