It’s so weird being somewhat well known.
So weird that it’s even weird to talk about it, actually. But it’s
funny interesting enough that I’m going to try to broach the subject with you today.
Okay so first of all, let me put things into perspective right away – I’m not Rihanna. The two or three times I’ve been paparazzied, I almost went over to talk to the poor misled photographer (THE photographer. It’s not like there were hordes of them after me, let’s be clear) to explain to him that he was kind of wasting his time – but I didn’t have the heart to say that, so
I put my Saint Laurent pouch in front of my face with a look that was both contrite and offended but without wrinkling my brow, of course, because it makes you look 10 years older in photos I waved and said hello instead.
He answered, and then we stood there looking at each other, all surprised at so much civility.
So I’m not Beyoncé, but even so, the more time goes by, the more people recognize me. In the street. In stores. At Whole Foods. At the gym.
At the gynecologist. And it’s often the coolest thing in the world. First of all because:
1/ The people who recognize me are often people I’d already noticed for their coolness (in other words, my readers are so cool!!!)
2/ They’re always unbelievably adorable and sweet.
3/ And they say things that touch me deeply. They often say they feel like they know me and that’s when I tell them NO. You don’t just feel like you know me, you know me.
I even have a violin app on my iPhone for these moments. Okay, okay – Oprah get out of here! But seriously, if you read my blog, I’m not kidding. You really know me.
Since they basically know me, and I, on the other hand, don’t know them, I ask them questions. Because to me, all my readers are my friends. That’s the way it is. But I’ll come back to this topic later on so we can put a nice, emotional, weepy finishing touch on this post, American style.
In the meantime, let’s talk about the real weird moments.
And first of all, I have to say: all of these things happened exactly as I’m telling them, otherwise it wouldn’t be funny, right?
– That moment when you feel like someone recognizes you, so you flash your biggest smile to say hello and show that you’re super approachable, authentic, and friendly, then suddenly you realize that nope, it’s actually your neighbor from the third floor staring you down. And you’re being a total snob.
– That moment in the supermarket when you hear someone behind you whisper: “That’s Garance Doré!” and suddenly you stand up a little straighter and turn around with a big smile to say hello.
– That moment when you’re in the supermarket and you hear someone behind you whisper “That’s Garance Doré!” and suddenly you stand up a little straighter and turn around with a big smile to say hello and you realize the person is saying “Let’s get some creme brulée!!!” to their friend (yes, yes, I promise, if someone says it fast enough and
if you have an ego as big as a house you might think you heard “That’s Garance Doré”)
– That moment when you become completely paranoid because you’re sneaking down the street in walk of shame mode trying to stay as close to the wall as possible (Okay so I’m pretty settled, so I don’t really do walks of shame anymore. And yeah, okay, I never really did them anyway, have to admit it. My walks of shame are when I go grab breakfast at Starbucks wearing Uggs and old worn out sweats with my what I call explosion hair) as if the FBI were after you. It’s ridiculous. Get dressed to go out. Or relax and own the fact that you’re a daily loser ;)
– That moment when you sit down at a cafe and someone from the cafe recognizes you, and without saying anything, they start sending out slices of apple pie, chocolate eclairs, and extra coffees, and shooting you knowing looks the whole time. You’re not sure how to thank them, but you can’t help but stuff yourself with all the treats.
– That moment when you’re at the airport with puffy eyes, in “woman having a breakdown” mode (hey, it happens to the best of us, even Britney Spears, haha!) waiting in the security line when suddenly you hear: “I’m one of your readers, I adore you, thank you for your book, it did me so much good…” And you turn around with cocker spaniel eyes and say with a hiccup “Oh thank you so much, you have no idea how much that means to me, sniff, because you know, sniff, my life is super complicated right now, and…” ten minutes later after a nice therapy session, the stranger gives you a big hug and offers you chocolate and suddenly everything is looking much, much better.
Operation ruining my image: successful.
(Not even true: since my readers are total angels, she left telling me I was even more real and authentic than she thought)(YOU BET)(Sniff!)
– That moment when someone says to you: “I’m sure I know you from somewhere, sure sure sure, I’m certain of it!!!” and you say you’re not sure where, you really have no idea. And then finally after five minutes: “I don’t know, maybe you’ve heard of my book…” and then the person realizes you were in college together. Classy.
– That moment when you’re on the red carpet smiling at photographers, striking pose No. 32 “Celebrity who knows her best profile in action” and you wonder how you were ever thrown into this parallel universe where people find it perfectly normal to take 23 minutes to walk six feet forward.
– That moment when you’re on the red carpet smiling at photographers, striking pose No. 32 “Celebrity who knows her best profile in action” and you decide to take it up a notch to “Celebrity bursting out laughing for no reason” and suddenly you hear one photographer say to another: “Who is that one, again?”
– That moment when you’re with celebrities, real ones, not like you. Like, movie stars. You chat and try to muster up as much naturalness and ease as you possibly can (I did have a moment like that with Jon Hamm, I HAVE TO SAY IT WASN’T EASY) and a photographer comes up and asks you to move to the side a bit…so you won’t be in the photo. A little further to the side, please? My foot is still in the frame? Hahahaha (high pitched laugh) okay! Very healthy reality check.
– That moment when someone recognizes you and comes up to talk to you, but it’s raining cats and dogs, you’re on PMS, you’ve got fifty pounds of groceries in your arms and your Uber has gotten lost for the third time and
you’re yelling at the driver, crying, and throwing your phone violently on the ground trying to explain, with your characteristic patience and kindness, the best way to get to you. Get it together, lady, get it together. Hi, so nice to meet you!!!
– That moment when you see a mother and daughter looking at you in the street and just because, you give them a big smile. And suddenly the mother comes up to you with big, grateful eyes and says:
“My daughter never would have dared come say hello, so I decided to muster up some courage and do it myself. I just got out of a long hospital stay and my daughter was with me every single day. When it got too difficult, she would get out your book, and it helped her so much…so from the bottom of my heart, we wanted to say thank you.”
Yeah, sure, I wrote this post to make fun of my own ego.
But most of all, to say thank you to this mother and her daughter, and also to everyone who’s sent me emails or Instagrams or Facebook messages, and to everyone who’s come to my book signings, whether they threw themselves into my arms or shyly shook my hand — those moments touch me deeply and that’s what anchors me and reminds me why I really write.
Not to be on the red carpet, not so people recognize me at Starbucks. But to connect with profound, funny, fabulous people, who make my life more and more beautiful every day.
So please don’t hesitate to come say hello!
Even if you’re my neighbor from the third floor!
Translated by Andrea Perdue