star-struck…

I periodically stay in a really posh hotel in downtown Chicago… so posh that many famous people also stay there… famous people like Kanye West – who I met last night.

As I was leaving the hotel for dinner last night, I noticed three guys standing around near the hotel courtyard looking suspicious.  When I returned from dinner over an hour later, they were still there.  I commented about that and asked if they were waiting for someone from the hotel.  They replied “hope so!”.  Accustom to famous folk staying there, I asked “someone famous?”.  They replied “hope so!” and hefted a couple of cameras near eye-level.  I went up to my room and then couldn’t resist… I went back outside (where it was a brisk 38 degrees) and started chatting with these guys.

Apparently, they were not the paparazzi I thought they were… they were just “super-fans” of Kanye West and were waiting for him to come out of the hotel to head to his concert.  Three grown men, giddier than teenage girls at their first dance.  They showed me the CDs they brought for him to autograph and then gushed about how long they’d be willing to wait in the cold for a chance to meet him. 

I?  Am actually not a Kanye West fan… I doubt we’d have much in common since I voted for Bush.  But I stood around with these guys for another 20 minutes because it was fun and exciting to watch them wait for someone so important to them and because – by this point – I was pretty curious myself.

Kanye finally came out and as his body-guard led him to his car, he heard my new friends begging for an autograph.   Late for his own concert and standing outside in the cold and windy Chicago weather, he walked over to the guys (who were careful to not be on hotel property) and signed their CDs and even posed for a few pictures.  I would not go so far as to say that he was “nice” because that would totally contradict his tough-rapper persona anyway, but he was generous to take the time for these fans.

So after the excitement of that, I wandered back up to my room and tried to think of anyone I would wait out in the cold weather to possibly see from a distance like that… maybe it’s because I’m no longer a giddy teenager, but I honestly can’t think of anyone who would be worth my fingers going numb in the cold.

Prior to my “night with Kanye”, I’ve had a few run-ins with celebrities… Rosie O’Donnel as she was checking into my hotel,  Jamie and Bobby Deen (Paula Deen’s adorable sons) who bought me drinks on a flight to New York last year, Biggest Loser winner Heba Salama at a speaking engagement in Raleigh, and Richard Dreyfuss while at a cyber cafe in London about 15 years ago. 

It’s always a kick to meet someone famous, but… they really are just people, right? 

Is there someone you would wait for hours in the cold to see?

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