Recently, I met a couple of famous Canadians; sports figures whose names would be instantly recognizable. I’m embarrassed to say I lost my professional dignity and gushed all over them. I was able to regain my composure only by exercising great restraint. Also, they promised me autographed pictures. My behaviour reminded me of Greg Kinnear’s line in You’ve Got Mail when he told Meg Ryan about his star struck reaction to a TV interviewer. “I slobbered all over her,” he admitted sheepishly. Yup, that was me.
Many years ago, while on a road trip, I stopped for gas. It was a full service station, and the young man who jumped to the pump bore an uncanny resemblance to Tom Cruise. My jaw dropped as he leaned in my rolled-down window to ask if I wanted my oil checked.
I believe it’s important to mention at this point, that if asked, I would deny any particular feeling one way or another about this actor. But the resemblance startled me so much I had a momentary brain freeze.
Interpreting my stuttering as affirmative, the handsome young man asked me to pop the hood so he could check my oil gauge. To be sure, I’d popped the hood on that car more times than I could count. In fact, I usually checked the oil myself. I’ve even changed a tire or two in my day. Yet, in my fugue state, I could not find the latch—really. I couldn’t do it. After a minute or two, he came back to the window, leaned in again, and asked politely if I would like him to do it—release the hood, that is. He had to repeat the question before I could even nod. I was feeling light-headed by this point. He opened my door and had to bend down very close to my knees to grab the hood release. Everything moved in slow motion, and with crystal clarity, like in a disaster movie. After pulling the latch, he turned and gave me a brilliant Tom Cruise-like smile. I’m ashamed to say, I giggled incoherently—like a star struck teenager. He seemed amused at the effect he was having on me. This probably happened to him all the time; that women mistook him for Tom Cruise, and “slobbered all over him”.
Looking back, I see that perhaps his smile held more irony than warmth; as if he couldn’t believe that this
idiot poor soul was allowed out of the house, let alone drive a car.
I will add this in my defense; if the real Tom Cruise ever decided to masquerade as a gas jockey for a day, I’ll wager every female who stopped for gas would want her oil checked and would not be able to find her car’s hood release latch, either!