Friday, March 28, 2003

Brush With Fame #1: Val Kilmer

About a dozen years ago, I went to L.A. to visit my friend Paul, who seemed to be supporting himself solely on his work as an extra on tv shows, which I didn't think was possible. I was also out there to visit my friend Christine, who I met during college, and whose husband's firm had relocated them to CA completely without my input on the matter.

While staying with Paul and his boyfriend Eddie, we went to a coffee show in West Hollywood, where Eddie's sister worked. They had this one unisex bathroom in there, down a narrow hallway from the sitting and chatting area. When you got to the end of that hallway, the bathroom door was to your left, and an open doorway to the street was on your right. These facts are not mentioned here because I have some strange compulsion to map out the whereabouts of bathrooms and rear exits, but because they are important to the story.

I went down the hallway to use said bathroom, and as I waited for the person in there to come out, a man walked up to the doorway to outside, and asked the person on line in front of me if we were waiting for the bathroom. When told that we were, he proceded to lean up against the door jam, read a magazine, and wait his turn. It was only after I moved forward in line to be standing right next to him that I realized that the man leaning against the doorway was Val Kilmer! An actual star sighting on my vacation! I was thrilled.

I surreptitiously stole glances at both him and his reading material while I waited to "go", not believing my luck that I was sharing a door jam to lean on with Val Kilmer! How many times had my friend made me sit through Top Gun? I was certain that it was him, despite his tweed cap pulled down over his eyes.

When the bathroom door opened again, I took the opportunity to speak to him, and told him that he could go ahead of me. He thanked me and went in. I wish I could say that I was offering that to be magnanimous, but really, I just wanted an opportunity to get my friend over, so he could corroborate my star sighting. As soon as Val was in the bathroom, I waved frantically to my friend, and mimed that he had to come over to me that instant! He dawdled a little, so I stamped my foot and pointed to the area approximately one foot in front of me on the floor, and made my best "I MEAN it!" face, so he came over to see what I was having such a fit about. When I explained, he mimed over to Eddie that he should get on the bathroom line too, so all three of us looky-loos, and one unsuspecting woman, were on the line when poor Val emerged. He said a quick, "Thank you" to me, and then quickly went out the same door he came in. Of course, everyone on line immediately compared notes, and they all agreed, I was correct, that was indeed Val Kilmer!

Now, I'm embarrassed to admit that I got a small, stupid charge out of knowing that I was using the same toilet seat as Val Kilmer! But it gets worse than that. When I returned to the table, other diners had noticed him outside, using a payphone, and Paul dragged me outside to pretend to look at the newsstand magazines, but we were really spying on poor Val. When I had my fill of embarrassment, we went back into the coffee shop, and our fellow spies told us that then he was sitting on the bus stop bench, until a car came up and picked him up.

Thrilled with this little episode, I was still talking about it when we left the shop, and I joked that I wanted to share another seat with Val Kilmer!, so I ran over to the bus bench to rub my butt over the same stop he sat in, much to the amusement of my friends. When I got to the bench, I found that he had left his cigarettes on the bench! What a souvenir, Val Kilmer's Marlboro Lights! I kept that pack, and used it as a visual aid whenever telling people of my brush with fame for months afterwards, until I broke down during one particularly stressful time, and smoked my souvenir.

Val, if you're reading this, I owe you half a pack of cigs, buddy.

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