Jennifer, a co-worker, and I were on a monitoring trip to Los Angeles. Things had been a bit stressful at work, so part of my job description for the week was to get her to relax a little. My directive was to get her to step out and have a little fun. Well, I take my job seriously, especially when it involves fun!
While walking to the car for our evening out, Jennifer revealed to me that she had never been to the Hollywood Walk of Fame or the Grauman's Chinese Theater. I thought that since we were already in the area, it would be a fun outing to make our way down there. Along the way, I tried to remember all of the neat little facts and locales that I was shown during my little bus tour, last year. I thought I was thoroughly impressing Jennifer by showing her where Grease, American Graffiti and Fast Times at Ridgemont High were filmed. She "OOOoooo"ed and "Ahhhhh"ed at all the right places.
To my dismay, I noticed that the traffic was getting worse, the nearer we got to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It appeared that there was some type of event going on and they were blocking off most of the sidewalk. I was very disappointed. Then, it dawned on me that there was red everywhere along that sidewalk.
It was a red carpet!
I looked across the street and saw people lined up along a barricade. With all of the people, there were signs. One of the signs read, "We love you George!!!"
Somehow, without a lick of planning, we had just stumbled across the Hollywood premiere of George Clooney's new movie, "Leatherheads". I yelled a bit, did a happy dance in my seat, called a friend to share the excitement, and then quickly drove to the nearest parking garage.
We made our way to the fan section across the street from the theater and had fun for a while trying to guess which celebrity was going to be getting out of each limo. We were at least 100 yards from the action, so we mostly speculated. Jennifer and I began spinning up some very grandiose stories that we would soon be sharing with family and friends.
It was a big event. There were performers walking around and venders peddling the latest products. One such vender was giving out free bottles of energy drinks. We each got one. These cans were gigantic and freezing cold.
While concocting our tall tales and laughing about how late we would be staying up if we drank these enormous caffeine infused cans of cola, some of the fans parted for a split second and I caught a glimpse of another Texas gal, a very famous Texas gal. Making her way down the barricade of screaming fans was Ms. Rene Zellweger. She was shaking hands and signing autographs. I yelled to Jennifer, "It's Renee! She's coming this way!" Then I remembered that we were holding these huge cans of freezing cola. I screamed to Jennifer to warm her hands. Think of the embarrassment of freezing a celebrity's hand as they politely shook yours. Oh the horror!
As she used my back to create her own warming friction for her hands, Jennifer began to scream like a banshee, "Renee!!!!" "I want to shake your hand!!" Renee!!!!" I was completely shocked by the display from my normally very reserved co-worker.
When Renee had worked her way to us, Jennifer begged to shake her hand and Ms. Zellweger obliged. Then, Renee noticed the huge can of energy drink in my co-worker’s other hand. She glanced at Jennifer, then back down at the monstrous beverage, and then back up at Jennifer and said, "My Goodness. You aren't going to sleep for a month!" At this point, my friend was completely star-struck and couldn’t form a single word. I think I heard a bit of a gurgle, but I don’t really know what word it was supposed to be. Jennifer was saved any embarrassment, though, because, just as the star let go of her hand, fans started screaming from across the street and Renee said to the crowd, "Sounds like the boss just got here." And she was gone, but it was more than enough to make Jennifer’s day. She was even giggling at this point and this lady doesn't giggle. That's MY job.
Thinking my job was done, we started to get ready to leave. Then, some fans across the street from us started to yell something that sounded vaguely familiar. I realized that they were screaming this while looking in our direction. I leaned over the barricade to get a look at who was walking our direction. Then, I had to take a moment to pinch myself. None other than the boss, himself, Mr. George Clooney, was making the same trek as Renee. And he was headed our way.
I yelled to Jennifer, "It's GEORGE!!!!" My friend, surprising me again, stood up on the barricade and started screaming at the top of her lungs, "GEORGE!!!!!" I swear, she hit octaves that I couldn't hear. I think she even hit a Mariah Carey note on accident. Poor Mr. Clooney may even have hearing loss, because I certainly do! I had to pull her down from the barricade before she was carried off by security. All she kept saying to me was, “Take our picture! Take our picture!” Well, I was working with my cheap little camera phone, so this was not an easy task, especially when she was shaking me and screaming, all at the same time. The headliner finally got over to us and Jennifer asked him, "Can you please shake my hand?" He glanced at her, smiled, and told her in this smooth and deep voice, "Why, yes I can." And then their hands made contact.
This exchange was permanently documented......kind of. I managed to get a picture of them in the same frame...well, kind of. Really, I got the back of Jennifer's head, but you can totally tell it’s her. And I don’t think it mattered either that I caught George somewhere in between a smile and a hiccup. All that mattered was that it was proof that this crazy evening actually happened. I think my co-worker has that picture framed in her living room, so it can’t be that bad.
So, Jennifer, my friend and co-worker, is much more mature and professional than I. She has children. She is focused on her job. She keeps her cool at all times, but on March 31st, 2008, at a little after 9pm ,on the corner of Hollywood and Highland, my friend did a FULL OUT happy dance WHILE giggling!!!
And my job was officially done!