Friday, October 28, 2005

Random Sighting of the Possibly Famous

So the other day as I’m doing my rounds to ask people if they need any help, I approached this gentleman at the magazine rack and something about him made me pause. It wasn’t because he was tall (although he was so very tall, which made me feel short—something not that easy to do), or good looking, but how he carried himself. He was just minding his own business, flipping through the car magazines, doing absolutely nothing showy, but I was struck with the thought, “I should know this guy.”

Now considering I have the worst memory for faces ever, and that I’m much more likely to remember someone because of their reading material, this was an odd thought on its own. Not that I think that he’d ever been in my store before. He hadn’t (I’m positive). So that left only one possibility: I’d seen him on TV.

Which must mean he’s famous, right? Yes, that’s how my mind works: TV = Famous (even if it’s the news at 11). I am a child of the eighties.

Still, I had no idea who he was, and rather than sound like an idiot by blurting something out, I just asked him if I could help him find anything. He said, “No, thank you.”

Ah, hah! So he had manners! A clue! Of course, that didn’t mean anything, but combined with the fact that he was wearing Nike gear worth more than I make in a month and was caring a wadded up practice jersey in a bag, I was convinced that I had a Famous Basketball Player in my store.

Ten or twelve years ago, this would have sent me into fangirl heaven. In those days basketball, not to mention my professional basketball team, was a sport worthy of support, and I knew all the rules. I might not have known the faces real well, of always had a problem with that, but I could call a game better than most refs. It was a bonding experience for my dad and I to sit there at a game, eating peanuts and hotdogs, drinking coke, and cheering for our team.

Staring at this customer I suddenly felt nostalgic for the game, the way it used to before my team traded all the good players (or they retired) and put together the group that made them the national joke they have now (or did last year at least, I hear they traded off half bad players after last season). I wanted to call my dad and say, “Let’s go to a game.” I wanted peanuts.

I wanted confirmation that this guy was, indeed, a basketball player because let’s face facts tall does not always equal professional ball player. It was entirely possible that he was just a guy who played a little practice ball and really, really loved Nike, or that I was over-estimating the worth of his entire ensemble. Employees from Nike come into my store all the time, he could have just worked there to score that much brand wear.

If you haven’t guessed, I was staring the whole time. I was trying not to. I went about my business, helped customers, rang people up, but my eyes kept going back to this guy. Was he or wasn’t he? He really did look familiar, but I could have been fooling myself. He could have had “one of those faces.”

Besides, he’d said thank you, which meant that he had manners, so he obviously wasn’t on my town’s team if he was, indeed, a basketball player.

And the logic circled around again, slowly making me crazy.

He finally approached the counter with his magazines, and I thought, finally, finally I’ll just look him right in the face and it will turn out that I sell stuff to his brother all the time.

Yes, I was still staring in that way that said I thought I knew who he was. I couldn’t help myself. I know it was rude, but I had to know!

And that’s when he did it. No, the it was not when he pulled out that Louis Vuitton wallet, although it was a great indicator that he had a liking for the finer things. He started staring back at me like he thought that I thought I knew he was, and that I should know who he was. There we were, locked in eye contact: me trying to figure out where the hell I’d seen him before, and him grinning a little like he was enjoying the hell out of this. I wasn’t going to break and admit defeat, oh no, I was going to get sneaky. Lowering my eyes to his purchases, I rang him up quickly, bagged the magazines and then told announced his total.

Ha, ha, sucker, I thought, pay with a credit card and I will have my answers.

Apparently not only was he polite (he thanked me again after the transaction), if a grinning fool, he also possessed some intellect.

He paid with cash.

I seriously thought he was going to start laughing at my complete disappointment when he handed over the bills. I know that I’m one of those people whose face show’s everything, and I stared at those dollars for a few seconds unable to process that they weren’t what I expected.

Where was the credit card? Rich people don’t carry cash!!! (Unless you are Brittney Spears and you’re bouncing checks).

Like I know that many rich people.

To his credit, he waited very patiently while I dealt with my disappointment, thanked me again, and then left…still grinning.

As he should. You may have won this time, Mr. Basketball Man, but next time, next time I will be more educated. I won’t say anything, but I will know.

I just have to remember to start reading Sports Illustrated again on my lunch break.


Kate R said...

Did you figure it out? Who is it?

Bookseller Chick said...

Still no clue! It's going to drive me nuts...or at least drive me to watching basketball again (which might be worse than going crazy).

Anonymous said...

I've just started reading your blog. Did you ever find out who it was???