So last night I confessed on Twitter that I once stalked a celebrity. This was, for some reason, not only accepted in my family, but encouraged. I was also encouraged to stalk all the boys I ever liked, and unfortunately for them, I worked in the school office so I had access to their addresses and phone numbers. Also, I provided my friends with the personal information of their crushes. One year, on Rene’s birthday, we were picked up from school in a limo and we told the poor driver to drive past Howie’s house like 40 times. Poor Howie*. Poor limo driver.
The whole stalking thing is pretty upsetting to me now, as I can see it as a major invasion of privacy. My penance has been to mainly avoid celebrity gossip, and I’m certain that it will play a large role in my inability to ever approach anyone famous ever, even if they are at Comic Con and, at a table signing autographs FOR the fans. It just makes me feel guilty and stalky. I may be slightly neurotic.
Anyway, when I was a young teenager I saw a movie and it had an actor in it and I developed a crush on him. And, as we all know, I don’t do obsessions half-assed. I won’t say what movie because it’s embarrassing, but the actor went on to be in Empire Records and That Thing You Do. The names and places in this story have been changed to protect the innocent. We’ll call the actor “Ethan” because that is his name (I’m not very good at this, am I?), but we’ll change all the other names.
I knew, through extensive research (Bop Magazine), that he lived in Paradise California (the fictional one by the beach, not the actual Paradise out in the desert somewhere… which doesn’t sound paradisey at all), right on the beach, and that he surfed every day. So my mom thought a great idea would be to drive up there and go to the beach. My grandma was game, too. It was a good old family stalking road trip. Ah. Memories.
At some point we stopped on the way up, maybe to stretch our legs or something, I don’t remember, and my grandma and I walked down to the sand where I saw this graffiti which amused me. But my grandma controlled the camera that day and refused to take a picture of funny spray paint (frivolous!) unless I stood in the picture. Just look at that retro sports bottle. Probably filled with Diet Coke, because that is what I was raised on, and I didn’t discover
other good sodas until high school.
The houses just above us in this picture all fell off cliffs the following winter. Because California does not handle weather very well. And rich people keep insisting on paying shit tons of money for houses that are just about to fall off cliffs. If I ever buy a house, you better believe it will be far away from cliffs. And valleys.
We arrived in Paradise and didn’t see him surfing anywhere. We did see a stretch limo truck, though. This was before every other limo was a Hummer, so we were excited enough to stop and take a picture of it (also with me in it, because, that’s how my grandma rolled) that I can’t currently find. *sigh* But we weren’t stalking Limos of Unusual Size, so we found a phone book and looked up Ethan’s parent’s names. Interestingly, we found his mom’s name at the same address as an office listed as his dad’s profession. BINGO. It wasn’t in Paradise, though. It was in Oxnard. (No, it wasn’t. I just watch too much TV.) Despite his dirty lie, we tore the page out of the phone book (you know, to protect him from dangerous stalkers. Also for a souvenir), and drove off to find the address.
Which, now that I am spoiled by GPS, I’m not sure how we did. But my grandma was a whiz with a map so I bet that’s how. (Before the internet, my grandma WAS my MapQuest. Also she did my taxes.)
So we find the address and, THANK GOD, no one was home. I don’t remember how we knew. Maybe we knocked on the door? At some point some neighbor kid came out and asked us if we were looking for “the boy from the movies” and we said yes. He assured us that the boy was “really nice” and then we took a picture of him, too. (But, dammit, I can’t find it right now. Maybe someday I will.) And also of some initials carved into the curb right in front of the house which were probably famous initials.
And then we drove home. With the phone book page. It’s dangerous to allow a teenage girl raised by stalkers to have the phone number of anyone stalk-worthy. I annoyed his family. Repeatedly. *sigh* At some point he wrote me a very nice letter, two pages long. His handwriting was small and neat. He told me about the movies he’d just finished and the ones he was about to start. In between the lines I think were the words, “Please, for god’s sake, leave me alone, you scary girl. Please?” And I think I did. But I’m not totally sure because all this happened 100 years ago. At SOME point I obviously stopped stalking him because I don’t even think I have that phone book page anymore. And also the area code probably changed like 67 times since then. Cause that’s how we roll in California. I also lost the letter he wrote me. We didn’t find it in my mom’s house, so it must have been lost for many years now. Or maybe it’ll turn up again. Who knows?
Years later, when I was in London (which I still can’t link to because I still haven’t written it) I halfheartedly tried to stalk Douglas Adams. I think I kept that phone book page, too. I am such a vandal.
But I’m done now. No more stalking (probably). So, Ethan, if you ever happen to come across this blog (which would be… surprising), I’m sorry. And I hope I’m not the reason you changed your last name. *cough*
*This particular Howie is not the Howie I currently know. Just to be clear.