As if I don’t have enough to worry about.
We have a celebrity problem in our neighborhood. It’s an infestation really. Too many stars living in a small area. At the top end, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie own the big house on the hill. Then there are the also-rans: the guy who played Jon-Boy in The Waltons lives close by, as do Courtney Love, David Hyde-Pierce, and Michael Feinstein. Alright, not stars per se, but certainly performers whose faces you recognize, even though you might not be able to put a name to them if you met them in Target.
Speaking of which, I came across Angelica Huston pushing a cart around Wholefoods a few weeks ago. I guess she saw me staring at her like Freddy Krueger, because she panicked and veered off up another aisle.
Our current menace in the street is Rachel Bilson. Personally, I couldn’t pick her out from a crowd of one, but Howard Stern nominated her as the “hottest chick” of 2008, and I see her drifting around her driveway sometimes with big celebrity sunglasses on, so at the very least she must think she’s a star. All I know is, she featured alongside Hayden Christensen (the guy who played Darth Vader) in the film Jumpers, which hit number 1 at the US box office last year during a very dull week for movies.
As is normal in Hollywood, the two of them then started dating, and now they’re engaged. Well, the paparazzi are very excited about that. I know this, because the entire street is filled with huge black SUVs, their drivers slumped low behind the wheel, all eyes fixed on Bilson’s driveway.
Normally, not much goes on in that driveway. If this comes up in court, I will happily testify to that. Now and then, Christensen’s yellow Mercedes will be parked there, and I’ve seen the two of them sitting in it at the curbside, chatting. But usually they have the good sense to do whatever they’re doing that’s so newsworthy – talking! – elsewhere, and the media leave them alone. When she’s home, though, photogs love to be on Bilson Watch. There can be up to ten SUVs parked in the street at any one time, engines running, drivers slumped, watching. waiting for this unremarkable waif to go shopping or collect her mail or open a window or, for God’s sake, please, do something, anything, that US Weekly might buy a photo of.
Anyway, yesterday I came home to find that something new had happened. A limo had reversed into Bilson’s driveway! (Could this be more exciting?) The middle-aged chauffeur was standing there staring along the road, unable to believe, like the rest of us, that from one end to the other was nothing but parked SUVs filled with paparazzi waiting to take a photo of her climbing into the limo and driving away. Perhaps the more delinquent among them, those with lots of time on their hands, might then follow her to wherever she was going and pitch camp there instead. It’s such a waste of energy. I mean, who is this woman really? Not a single one of my friends has even heard of her!
Last year, our neighbors and I would call the police regularly to have these vehicles moved on. Initially, we didn’t know they were paps, we thought they were burglars casing the house. Seriously. But after a couple of visits, the cops gave up and stopped coming. You get rid of one pap and three more arrive.
In truth, then, our infestation is not of celebrities, but of photographers. To begin with it was a novelty and quite funny. One time, I walked out of our front door and watched as a black car reversed at high speed from Bilson’s house and screeched to a stop right in front of me, ready to take a picture. In case I was famous, you understand. Then, realizing US Weekly would pay nothing for a snap of me, the desperate driver discarded me like a used tissue, shut his window, and returned to sitting outside Bilson’s house.
Personally, I wish she’d move. I’m not angry really about the inconvenience this is causing as much as I’m probably jealous that some fly-by-night “hot chick” the majority of people couldn’t put a name to and will have forgotten in two years is getting all the attention and I’m not.
Oh dear, now I feel unimportant.
But hey, wait! Last night, I learned that a guy who worked on my TV show got high on drugs at some point early in the production and committed four vicious rapes in one night. He’s currently in jail for thirty years. Now, I know that’s somebody else and not me, but I chatted with the guy, we hung out a bit at the office before he turned to crime. Doesn’t that make me even a little bit fascinating and worthy of a photo?