Have you ever been out on the street, just walking, a bit pigeon-toed, schlubby in your worn hoodie and leather coat, idly scrolling through your blackberry, enjoying the surprising warmth of the sun on a chilly January day, when suddenly you begin to sense that someone is following you, frantically, at a very close range? Not too close to be fully detected but still very clearly there?
If so, you might be Paul Rudd.
Two fun facts:
1. I have no game (especially when it comes to celebrities, remember this? Yikes.)
2. I loves me some PAUL RUDD. And errrrybody knows it.
This afternoon, just moments ago, I was sitting at my desk working hard as I always do because I am a powerful Book Publicist, when a few colleagues popped into my doorway.
“Liz. Paul Rudd. At Pret. Right next to the garbage can.”
I flung my computer mouse into the air (literally), threw on my coat and ran, RAN for the elevators. This Pret of which they speak is Pret A Manger which is a popular takeout restaurant. The name means Sandwiches For The Stars in Francais, so it’s really very little surprise that The Ruddster had chosen there for his Tuesday lunch.
I entered the crowded restaurant and there he was, as promised, alone next to the trash cans. I wavered in the doorway, considering my next move. Say hello? Not while he was eating. Stand and stare, awkwardly? Already doing that. Accidentally trip and pour soup all over him? Solid plan, but the soup line was far too long.
I decided the best option was to buy a pre-made sandwich from the cases near to the door. I was not hungry, but the activity would allow me to buy some time to think while Ruddmasta finished his lunch.
And then, as I stood there, ham sammie in hand, the Love Of My Life walked out of the door – and my life – forever.
“How fleeting life is!” I thought to myself. “How swiftly these beautiful moments pass us by. If only I could look upon that shining face for just one moment more!” I threw caution to the wind, tossed my sandwich back on the shelf and raced out the door behind him.
He was a few paces ahead of me, but my legs are longer, my passion more powerful so I quickly fell into step a few paces behind him. We walked one block, we walked two, we walked a third. What a tableau! The charming, every-man actor walking down Hudson Street, enjoying the day while a gangly, frizzy stalker crept up from behind. So beautiful! So inspiring!
So, so, SO weird.
At this point I’d tailed the Ruddski for four blocks, literally, like an amateur spy (I was even wearing a trench coat!!). We’d walked past my office and any other place I may need to be. We were reaching the point of no return. As we approached a natural stopping point, a red light, I weighed my options. I still held a burning desire just to say “hi!” but from where I stood, three feet behind him, the task seemed impossible.
- I could race ahead, and cut him off at the pass.
- I could speed up and bust out my patented Accidental-Bump-And-Apologize move (you ain’t the only man for that, Ron Livingston.)
- I could yell out, “Hi Paul! Paul, Hi!”
- I could reach out and tap him on the shoulder, grab his arm…pinch his butt!
- Or I could turn around and head back to whence I came.
I chose the final option. Chicken, perhaps, but what did I lose, in the end? What was my ultimate goal in this stalking expedition (in everything, really) besides a good story? There is, of course, the very likely chance that he would have invited me back to his loft apartment, made me a grilled cheese sandwich and made tender, passionate love upon me but he is married and I don’t roll like that. And there is the equally likely chance he’d immediately notice my sparkling wit and talent and invite me to star in his next film but if we’re all being honest here, and I do think this is a space for honesty, the life of a celebrity seems all too invasive for me. I don’t need freaks chasing me around the West Village on their lunch breaks.
So yeah, I’d say it was a success. Who have you stalked today?!