Alison Berkley: That’s no way to treat a princess
Sarah Jessica Parker ran away from me on Saturday night.
One of the two guys she was with saw me coming and yelled, “INCOMING!” at the top of his lungs. The trio did a quick 180 and headed the other way, leaving me standing alone in the middle of the street with nowhere to pretend to go.
Of course I know this is Aspen and it’s an unspoken rule that we don’t care about celebrities here, we leave them alone, they are just like everyone else and da-da-da. I get it. I’m sophisticated, too ” I only buy Us Weekly magazine like once a week and I read the New Yorker from cover to cover whenever I’m at the dentist’s office, so there.
It’s not like I was stalking her or anything. I was hanging out at The Red Onion minding my own business when one of my fans came up to me and said, “Hey, I read your column and I thought you might like to know that Sarah Jessica Parker is standing outside right now.” (I saw him coming, mind you, and I didn’t try to avoid him. I was very nice and friendly.)
I was ready to leave anyway, so I chugged my beer and went outside. There she was, in front of The Grottos chatting with those two goons and looking as though she was in no hurry to go anywhere.
I tried not to stop and stare, but glance casually, like my eyes just happened to point in that direction by accident. I played it real cool, like back in high school when you pass your crush in the hallway. I strutted forward like an ice queen, chin up, shoulders back, nose in the air, without a care in the world that this favorite celebrity person of mine was standing 10 feet in front of me. It’s like what-ev-ah skinny bitch, I am so above groveling at your feet.
But beneath my composed façade, my heart raced and my mouth dried up like Aspen after a midsummer forest fire. I thought for sure I might have an anxiety attack right there in the street so that the only thing I’d get to say to SJP is “Help … Call … 911.”
Of course that didn’t stop me as I beelined straight for her. I don’t know what it is that I thought I was going to say, maybe something like I loved the show, or how did you get so skinny after having a baby, or why do you wear so much eye makeup, or what is it like to be married to Ferris Bueller?
Maybe I’d just introduce myself as the local columnist who picks on fat retarded kids and she’d say, “Of course I know who you are! I’ve been meaning to call you on behalf of my producers at HBO, but The Aspen Times wouldn’t give me your number,” or something like that.
So I’ve got all this on my mind as I’m closing in on her, with another 10 feet to go, my high-heeled boots going click-clack-click-clack on the street.
That’s when they yelled, “INCOMING,” and woke me with a start from my delicious little dream.
It was a moment Carrie Bradshaw would have appreciated, alone in the street with only my embarrassment to keep me company, not to mention my six best friends who are standing at attention on the sidewalk like a god-damned peanut gallery.
Oh, but this is Aspen and I’m not supposed to care. Whatever! Since when does a chance celebrity meeting, sighting or, even better, that coveted celebrity client go unmentioned?
I have a friend who grew up here, so he is allowed to call himself a local now that he is 40-something. He was the first to explain to me that “no one in Aspen cares about celebrities,” yet I distinctly recall a story he shared with enthusiasm about the night he was seated next to President Clinton at the sushi bar. And this was no chance meeting. No sireee. Someone at the restaurant tipped him off to Slick Willy’s reservation, so he made one, too, and requested the next table. “No one cares” so much that it is one of his most favorite stories.
I rode the lift with a local caterer last week who managed to tout her celebrity clientele in the short ride up Ajax Express. The Aspen Times pulled Kate Hudson off the street to come in and sign an “Almost Famous” poster that now proudly hangs in the window to be viewed by anyone walking down Main Street who pretends not to care.
People love to talk about how “pretty she is in real life” and Goldie this and Kevin Costner that and “I waited on Catherine Zeta-Jones and she was really nice, but Michael Douglas was an a–hole” or “I had Sean Penn’s kids in my snowboard class” and “Martha Stewart asked me for directions once, imagine that!”
The day people in Aspen stop caring about celebrities is the day Carolyn Harvey and Meredith Cohen stop talking about the Academy Awards and other movie trivia on KSNO all the livelong day.
I get it that it’s rude to bomb rush famous people or to scream and point or request they autograph your baseball or your boob or whatever. I get the whole respecting-their-privacy thing and oh, how hard it must be to be rich and famous and have people recognize you all the time. Believe me, I know what that’s like ” I have been on the Jerry Bovino show twice for god’s sake!
But you don’t hear me complaining, and I’m not even rich yet. And once I am, I won’t forget the little people. I might even stop to say hello and I certainly won’t run the other way when I hear the pitter-patter of their tiny feet.
[The Princess is now available for any future writing projects at HBO. Producers may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org]