Papparazza Jane
Saturday, June 28, 2008

We were in London, and that day we were celebrating my daughter’s eleventh birthday. We had just visited the Globe Theatre, and followed it up by having a fabulous lunch near the Thames. Next stop: Herrods, to buy seven dollar sour jelly beans (all we could afford!). As we crossed through the side yard of St. Paul's Cathedral heading toward a tube stop, we spotted the child actor Skandar Keynes; he plays Edward in the Chronicles of Narnia movies, dressed in typical English schoolboy garb, chatting with friends. I felt my blood pulse and just knew I had to get a picture of him with my daughter as a birthday memento.

Backstory. I grew up in LA—the west side of LA, where actors are like palm trees, at least one on every block, sometimes whole strings of them, swaying in the wind, trying to attract more attention than the tree next door. My brother was a child actor, starring in more than sixty commercials. My grandfather was a prop master. I went to school with Charlie Sheen, Dean Cain, and Rob Lowe. Even I couldn’t escape Hollywood’s grasp. I was a stunt double in an MTV music video-a good/bad experience that convinced me of my distaste for most things Hollywood.

All my life I have ignored those celebrities who are not acquaintances. They're everywhere and they really don't need to be bothered by anyone's fussing. Let them drink their latte's and chew their panini’s in peace.

So what got into me in London when Skandar Keynes crossed our path?

We were having a fabulous day--every decision made to promote happiness for our birthday girl. When I saw young master Keynes all I thought about was getting a photo of him with my daughter-how we had just seen Prince Caspian the week before, and that it would make for a fun memory in the scrapbook. But by the time I'd determined to ask him, and my daughter had said that she could handle the embarrassment, he was on the move, across the street, heading somewhere fast. Armed with my camera, I ran to the street corner, but the traffic light turned on me and cars flew past. I sprinted the other way, my middle-aged skirt flapping around my legs, looking for a bridge, an underground tunnel, some secret, miraculous way to cross. My family was yelling for me, \"Mom!\"

I was star struck. My first time ever, by a skinny brown-haired boy... I zoomed in and snapped a series of photos across the wide street before he disappeared from view. Oh my. I slunk back to my family, defeated, feeling utterly silly. A papparazza in the making. My heart was still racing. I took a look at the photos and then tucked the camera deep into my bag. My daughter didn’t seem half as disappointed as I was. Hmmm...

We're home again now and I believe I've returned to normal. John Cleese and Oprah and the gang will be roaming the streets, and you know what? I think I'll make some plum jam.

Then maybe send a jar of it to Skandar...