Monday, July 28, 2008
Weekend Update: Just Hanging Out
Since Larry and I both had Sunday off to ourselves, we decided to go to Rafaella's on Ninth for brunch.
We were seated at a table in the middle of the room with Larry facing the windows and me facing the counter. Instantly, I envied Larry's seat as most of my view was of the cakes under the counter. And I wanted all of them.
As I read the menu, Larry snapped at me. "Take those off. You look ridiculous." I took my sunglasses off and glared at him. He glared back at me in disgust.
I hooked the arm of my sunglasses in the collar of my polo shirt and turned my attention to the menu.
After ordering, we sat silent, with Larry looking out the windows, and me staring lovingly at the cakes. I examined all of them. A chocolate cake, a cheesecake, a carrot cake, an incredible fruit tart, a few pastries. All were mouthwatering and all of them said, "Take me home, fatty."
"Look at him," said Larry, motioning to the window. I turned around to look out the window and saw a burly man with a shaved head leaning on the side of the building, talking on his bluetooth.
"He's up to no good," said Larry.
I turned back to Larry. "Hustler?" I surmised.
Then I noticed an Asian man with a camera. The lens was huge, long, and white. It looked incredibly expensive.
"My God. He can probably see what's going on in Times Square with that," I said.
"Look. There's more guys with cameras out there."
I could see that they were now increasing in number, standing on both corners, cameras at the ready. They were aiming down the block, getting ready to shoot whoever was walking towards them.
Because we couldn't see down the block, we had to imagine just who it might be that had attracted this sudden swarm of paparazzi. Naturally, I fantasized that this would be Madonna. But then I thought, "No, Chris, the potential for humiliation is just too great."
Then I revised my thought. Anyone but Madonna.
It took a while for this person to finally get to the corner - and I had no idea who the hell it was.
He wore a white t-shirt, shorts, a panama hat, and a messenger bag, draped across the front of his body. Could have been about 55. He was walking a dog. And he did not look happy to see these paparazzi who were photographing him from all angles.
Since I couldn't hear what he said to them, it must have been on the order of, "If you follow me, I'll have you all killed," because none of them followed him, preferring to stay on the same corner as he diverted and walked up 9th avenue towards 22nd street.
"I have no idea who that is," I said to myself. I was so devastated, and annoyed that I didn't wear my glasses.
I had plenty of time to watch the paparazzi. Some were walking, some were on bikes. I realized that, however lucrative, I could never do what they do, because I'm a big chicken. A star would scowl at me and I'd run down the block, dropping my camera equipment all over the street.
Ten minutes later, the mystery star returned, and the paparazzi attacked again. I still could not figure it out.
Even though I was dumbfounded, I found myself continuing to look behind me, over and over and over again through the meal. My neck was starting to hurt. "Stop staring, Chris, you're starting to freak people out." I believed Larry, even though it seemed like no one else cared.
As we signaled for the check, the paparazzi returned to the same corner yet again. By now, Larry was starting to become interested.
"We should ask them who they were following," I said.
"We will," said Larry, as he got up to go to the bathroom.
As we left the cafe, I put on my sunglasses, pretending that the pack of paparazzi were here for me.
Larry paused for a second before asking the burly bald guy, "Who are you guys photographing?"
"Oh, we're just hanging out," said the paparazzo with an unconvincing smirk.
"Yeah, right," we laughed as we walked away.
This outright denial makes perfect sense. Why give up the scoop to someone who can easily run home, get his own camera and join in on the fun?
We crossed the street, and I noticed just how spy-like the paparazzi are. One woman stood casually next to a bike with a wire basket mounted to the handlebars. She wore a big straw hat and sunglasses. If you looked fast enough, she just looked like she was meeting a friend for lunch - until you saw that the basket held a camera case.
We approached the Asian with the Massive Lens. "Who are you guys waiting for?"
"Nobody," he said.
"Yeah, okay," we laughed.
I went home and thought, "Look what I've started. I'm going to have to search every celebrity gossip sight on the Internet so I can figure out who the hell this was."
But at least I finally have a good weekend update.
Labels: Weekend Updates