Archive | June, 2007

helping strangers

29 Jun

Today another stranger wrote me a thank you comment for a problem and solution I posted.

It is so satisfying to have strangers post comments to my site in appreciation for me having posted something that helped them. I encourage everyone, whenever you have a problem and have worked to find a solution to it, to write it up on your blog. Even for the most banal problem, someone out there is most likely trying to find a way to solve it by desperately searching the net. Selflessly putting information up makes a great web of random kindness and it allows more of our efforts to be worthwhile in making this world a better place. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true.

I’m also going to try to be more appreciative and post a nice comment on people’s blogs who have posted things that have helped me to solve problems. That way, they too can get the small satisfaction of knowing that something they’ve done has positively touched someone in the world.

a whole 30 minutes of being a celebrity

20 Jun

Andy Warhol once said “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” I feel lucky since this last weekend, I got to be famous for a whole 30 minutes.

SFShenanigans, the Improv Everywhere-inspired group, had their second antic, called Create Your Own Celebrity, and I got to be the celebrity. So I was the French-speaking Norwegian Pia Haraldsen, who was supposedly rumored to have something going with U2’s Bono, and who was followed around by a group of very-exuberant fans.

walking.jpgAs Pia, I walked down the street, accompanied by my bodyguard who walked behind me and who wouldn’t let any of the plebian masses get too close while I did a little shopping. And this wasn’t any normal shopping. I walked into the most fancy stores around Union Square, such as BCBG, Prada, Emporio Armani and Bulgari. Usually I would hesitate to go into these because I’d be afraid that the people who worked there would turn up their noses at me, but being dressed nicely and being accompanied by my suit-and-sunglass-wearing burly bodyguard made me fearless. I felt like I was right at home casually looking at jewelry that probably cost more than my yearly salary, and saying nonchalantly to those who asked if they could help me that I was “just looking.”

My favorite part was when I went into Bulgari to look around, and a few of the fans rushed in to try to follow me and take pictures. A couple of the Bulgari security guards jumped forward to usher them out, telling them that “they couldn’t do that in here” and that they had to leave.

It was hilarious and awesome to see them move into action to protect me. They locked the stores doors behind me so that the fans were stuck outside, and told me that I could stay there as long as I needed. They could see that I was worried about the fans that were following me, and wanted to make me feel comfortable that I was safe in that elitist place where the special classes could be separated from the lower ones. I couldn’t believe I was being guarded by f’in Bulgari security, as well as my own bodyguard who was stationed at the door, ready for my command.

I told them in my French accent that I would look around a bit more, and then when finally I was ready to leave and the fans had moved on, a guard unlocked the door and said “Au Revoir” politely to me.

When I was out of the stores on the street, I was almost constantly followed by a group that kept asking for my picture, an autograph, or just screamed, “We love you, Pia!” One of the fans even asked me for a date, saying, “What does Bono have that I don’t?” I occasionally turned around and gave a quick autograph, or a demure smile for the camera, but then there were a few times that I blocked the camera from seeing my face or asked my bodyguard in French why these crazy Americans wouldn’t leave me alone.

It sounds like the group of fans got a lot of people curious about who I was. Everyone wants to be able to tell a story to their friends about having got to see a celebrity up close. Some tourists around Union Square who weren’t part of SFShenanigans even took pictures of me, and some even pretended that they’d heard of me when the group explained who I was. It was great fun to be part of an antic that caused such curiosity and excitement. I can definitely see both the attraction to being loved and followed everywhere, and how it would get to be a bit of an annoyance if it couldn’t be escaped.

More pictures of the antics on this Shenanigans flickr set and a debrief of the event on the Shenanigans site.

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