Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Day I Became A Celebrity

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy

The iconoclastic artist Andy Warhol was once quoted as saying, "In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes."

Well, I got part of my fifteen minutes, if not exactly fame then a taste of what it is like to be a celebrity. It happened in Thailand, an amazing and beautiful country with some of the nicest people in the world.

DH and I were doing a 'self tour' of the Summer Palace which is a short boat ride up the river from Bangkok. The palace is actually about a dozen different buildings on extensive, beautifully landscaped grounds. I was walking by myself across a pretty little stone bridge over an ornamental pond, when I heard a huge group of school children approaching. There must have been a couple hundred of them, around ten years old and wearing crisp blue and white uniforms. Undoubtedly they were on a field trip.

I scooted out of the way, and stood with my back against the low stone railing of the bridge to let the big noisy group pass. As the first dozen kids walked by me, they all stared (I was probably one of the first if not THE first American they'd ever seen live and in person). Then, one bold youngster shouted out, "Hello!" To which I answered, "Hello!" This brought a gale of nervous giggles, followed by a raucous chorus of hellos.

After a few dozen more kids, all chirping out "hello" like myna birds, scurried past me, one little boy got brave and stuck out his hand while exclaiming, "hello." I obligingly shook his hand and said hello back. Well, that opened the flood gates! Next thing I knew, about a hundred enthusiastic kids were crowded around me, all shouting hello and grabbing for my hands.

YIKES! It was more than a bit scary!

All those eager little bodies pressing around me could have easily sent me over the railing and into the pond. Dozens of them might have fallen with me! Fortunately that didn't happen. I kept smiling, shouting hello, and grabbing as many outstretched hands as I could, while the teachers herded the kids the rest of the way across the bridge. They also smiled and bobbed their heads in thanks to me.

The whole incident lasted maybe ten minutes, but it felt like a lot longer at the time. When I got back to the DH, I collapsed onto the shady bench beside him and said, "Now I know how Michael Jackson feels."

And I can just imagine the discussions in the school yard days later. While one kid brags about his adventure, another kid whines, "No fair! We didn't get to shake hands with an American tourist at the Summer Palace!"

Have you had your fifteen minutes of fame? Maybe five minutes? Please share your exploits as a celebrity with Aunty and the rest of us here in the Lair!


lindsey hutchison @ United By Books said...

hahahaha for a min i had to think bout this . ok in high school i was if a film class and we had to take a song make a video for it and edit in the music on que for each part of the song i was the main girl in the music video project. the song was No Scrubs by TLC lol

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Lindsey,
How exciting to star in a video! And now you have the dubious honor of taking home the Golden Rooster for the day. He fancies himself quite a celebrity, so watch out!


lindsey hutchison @ United By Books said...

hahaha this is the second time this week he has been partnered with me he may have a fight on his hands im a bit of a spotlight hog

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Just don't try to compete for any chocolate. He is a very wily rooster! ;-)

lindsey hutchison @ United By Books said...

O.o noted but i have to admit chocolate is a favorite of mine i will let him win a few times. and i liked reading your story btw

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Glad you liked the blog post. I LOVED visiting Thailand. It's such a fascinating place, and I'd go back tomorrow if I could afford the plane ticket. The plane ride, however, is HORRID! :-( Took us 11 hours from San Francisco to Tokyo, then another 6 hours from Tokyo to Bangkok. UGH!


lindsey hutchison @ United By Books said...

im across the bridge from san dad normally has to go to amsterdam on business says about the same thing for how long it takes lol but i would love to travel any where over in europe and take the plane ride with pleasure just bring extra books lol

Jane said...

Hello Aunty Cindy,
Congrats on your fifteen minutes. I've been to Thailand, but I wasn't treated as a celebrity. We took a river tour and saw some amazing sights.

Mary Preston said...

I have never had my 15 minutes & I since I don't like the limelight you may have it for me +++ plus extra.

Anonymous said...

Hola AC!

Unless you count my wedding day, I've never been a celebrity. Then again, I'm shy. :)

I love kids in school uniforms!


Helen said...

Well done Lindsey have fun with him

Aunty Cindy

What a lovely story
My only claim to fame was when I was awared Student of the Year for a tafe course I did and there was a dinner and I had to film a clip that was shown on the stage before I went and got my award the auditorium was packed so many people there to congratgulate all the winners that night and I had the support of my family and some work mates. The most embarassing was when I walked up on the stage my son (God love him LOL) sung out at the top of his voice good on ya Mum I went bright red.

It must have been quite a scene with all those school children.

Have Fun

jo robertson said...

Cute episode, Aunty Cindy! I can just imagine those darling little kids so excited about seeing someone "famous"!

Oh, geez, I don't think I've ever had even ONE minute of fame! Maybe it lies ahead of me!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey AC -

You've been to the most amazing places. One of these days I hope to travel the world, just as you have.

I guess winning the Golden Heart in Atlanta was like 15 minutes of fame - but only among fellow romance writers. No one else is quite as impressed (grin).

My son was with me once when I stopped in a book store to see if they had any copies of my book in stock. They didn't. But apparently just talking to the clerks impressed my son. When we left the store, he said with a bit of awe - "Mom. You're like a rock star!" It wasn't fiveteen minutes, but inasmuch as it was from my son - it was easily worth an hour or two.

Deb said...

Aunt Cindy, isn't it funny how people can tell we are Americans even without speaking? When I was in Denmark, Danes would say, "You're from America, aren't you?" I hadn't said a word, but they knew by my hurried pace as well as our clothes being a little different. My cousin Lotte told me that my sister and I always fixed our hair and wore makeup.

My husband and I had 5 minutes of fame; well, actually, the star was our 5-day-old baby daughter. Shary had lost a lot of weight the first 4 days of life, so we had to feed her formula every 2 hours the night we brought her home and then had to go back to the hospital the next day for a weigh-in. A local tv news station was doing a story on SIDS and wanted our input. (Picture it: we are both tired, not dressed to the nines, and I didn't even bother to put the baby in anything cutesie.) First comment my mother says to me after seeing the clip, "Why didn't you at least put a bow in the baby's hair?" :)

Louisa Cornell said...

Good job, Lindsey. Have fun with him. Maybe the two of you can make a music video, but I wouldn't count on his singing voice!

Aunty, what a great post! And what a lovely moment to have with those children. Wish someone had filmed it. I would love to visit Thailand one day.

I've actually had a couple of cool fifteen minutes of fame in my singing days.

I sang some solos with the United States Army Men's Chorus (one of the first females to ever do so.) After one of the performances some young ladies came up and asked me to autograph their programs. It was my first autograph and it was SO COOL !!

During the opera season in Salzburg (and in many European cities) they put big photographs of the principle singers in the shop windows the week of the performance. I had no idea they did this and the week before my debut some of the other members of the company insisted that I accompany them to Getreidegasse. Imagine my surprise when I saw a photo of me in one of the shop windows!

Janga said...

What a great story, Aunty Cindy!

I'm perfectly happy to forfeit my fifteen minutes of fame and let someone else enjoy thirty minutes. Celebrity, even briefly, holds no appeal for me. I much prefer an observation post to the spotlight.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Morning Everyone!

Are we all ready for our close-up? LOL!

Jane, isn't Thailand FANTASTIC?!?! After we finished at the summer palace, we also rode a boat back to Bangkok. Traveling along the river was fascinating. I also rode an elephant while we were in Thailand. ACK! It's a looong way to the ground. :-P


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

That's the beauty of having only 15 minutes (or in my case about 10 minutes) once it is over you don't have to cope with the pressure of fame. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Jen,
AH weddings! Perfect example of getting to be in the spotlight but not having to STAY in it. :-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Helen!

What a fun bit of 'fame' for you! And KIDS! Gotta love 'em coz you get 7 to life if you kill 'em! HAHAHAHA! I'm sure he and your entire family were busting their buttons with pride over you. ;-)


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

*AHEM* Stop being modest, Jo-Mama! I KNOW you had a few minutes of fame when you WON the Golden Heart in Atlanta and went up onstage in front of ALL those people. I remember you thanked your seven children and quite a few members of the audience gasped. :-)

I think you have a few more minutes of fame coming your way.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Donna,
You ARE a rock star! Not only did you take the stage in Atlanta, but didn't you present an award a year or two later? You just have so much 'stage presence' at events with your hat and corset. ;-)

One of the most exciting moments of my limited career has been finding Treasures of Venice in the Pike's Peak library in Colorado. I ALMOST shouted in the library. OOPS!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Very true about Americans being easy to spot. I've done it myself in the lobby of the Louvre in Paris. I could spot the Americans from across the room. Shoes are a dead giveaway, then clothes, and our infamous cocky American stance is unmistakable. :-P

Sounds like your minutes of 'fame' were ones none of us want to have! Thank goodness everything eventually went well with your daughter. What you've shared with us here in the Lair makes us know what a special girl she is!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Louisa m'dear,
You have had and very well deserved MORE than your 15 minutes of fame! But singing with the US Army Men's Chorus? WOW! Just WOW!

And I'm LOL about seeing your photo in the shop window because it evokes images of Old West "wanted" posters. ;-)

who thinks we need to put up "wanted" posters of the GR

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Now Janga,

I'm sure your 15 minutes are just over the horizon. The beauty of it, as I mentioned, is that you don't have to cope with being a celebrity ALL the time. Honestly, I prize my privacy way too much. I'd HATE having the kind of fame that didn't allow you to walk down the street unrecognized. UGH! A little anonymity is a GOOD thing. ;-)


Pat Cochran said...

Hi Aunty,

Does being the first recipient of an
award and then having the award named
for me count? The award was for my
volunteer work in our school district.

Pat Cochran

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I'd say having the award NAMED for you is waaay more than 15 minutes of fame! WTG!!! We are all very proud of you!


Terri Osburn said...

I believe I have had my 15 minutes. I used to be a radio DJ in a very small town. Small town in AR + only country station in town = celebrity status.

Thanks to remotes and MC'ing the annual Pig Out Festival, I was recognizable. I remember one time I was shopping in Walmart and a total stranger started talking to me as if we were long lost relatives. Took me a minute to figure out how she knew so much about me.

Then it hit me and I realized my oversharing on the air meant this woman felt like she knew me. Very strange feeling and taught me I never want to be truly famous.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

WOW TerriO!
YOU were the EmCee at the Annual Pig Out Festival?!?! Can I have your autograph?

Seriously, I can see that even being a local celebrity can intrude on your privacy. Um... no thanks!


Terri Osburn said...

I know, it sounds soooooo glamorous, doesn't it? LOL! Better than being the Pig Out Queen, I can tell you that. But I got to introduce big name acts, so I loved it.

It was weird because after my divorce (which was public fodder) I had to be careful about going out and being seen doing something...unseemly. LOL! Couldn't (or wouldn't) go out to a bar and knock back some beers. It was like being under a microscope and it's WEIRD.

Anna Campbell said...

Testing, testing, one, two, three...

Anna Campbell said...

Blogger ate my lovely long response! Whaaaaah!

Lindsey got the chook!

Cindy, fun post!!! Love that you did your bit for international relations!

Nancy said...

Lindsey, congrats on snaring the rooster!

AC, I've been thinking since I read this earlier, and I don't believe I've ever felt like a celebrity. Loved your story about Thailand, though!

Hellie Sinclair said...

Sorta. I've sorta been famous.

It was 2003, I think. June 21, 2003. The fifth Harry Potter book was coming out at midnight. I was dressed as Harry Potter; my friend was dressed as Hermione. And I was a very convincing looking Harry Potter, which should alarm me because I have boobs and Daniel Radcliffe does not. We were volunteering at the Barnes & Noble, helping entertain the kids until midnight--man that was FUN! We did Wizard Bingo. Good times. I was quite popular.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey AC! How cool for you!

I have never hadmy 15 minutes of fame, so far. Hey, maybe it's still waiting to happen?

Jenn3128 said...

My 15 minutes are coming, I can feel it.

MsHellion is cracking me up!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I think I too shall pass on being the Pig Out Queen. ;-)

And I'd HATE to have my divorce or any other personal relationship be public knowledge. I'll leave all that to the REAL celebrities.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Fo,
Blogger has been so bloody tempermental lately... :-(

I'm afraid we Americans have a bit of an image problem in other places, so I wasn't about to make it any worse. Those school kids really were cute in their uniforms and bright & shiny faces.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Don't forget that we all did have our moments of glory in Atlanta in 2006. Plus, you've had that lovely WIN in the Maggie contest, and my fingers are XXed that you'll bring home the Golden Heart this year after mounting the stage in NYC.



Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I am SURE it is purely a testament to your acting, costuming and make-up abilities that you were such a stellar Harry Potter. ;-)

Wizard Bingo sounds like fun! Were brooms and wands involved?


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

You had some moments in 2006. Twice as many as me... you were a DOUBLE GH finalist that year as I recall. :-) And I'm sure the remainder of your 15 minutes are coming up very soon.


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Jenn,
I too can feel your 15 minutes. They are lurking just over the horizon. Just keep the GR FAR AWAY! He really is a spotlight hog. :-P


Christine Wells said...

Hi AC! I can just imagine your bemusement at being mobbed by little people!

Hmm, I think the closest I've come to fame is being on a game show called "Now You See It" when I was 11. It was a 'wordgame' show, which was right up my alley, of course. That was a lot of fun.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Wow Mme!
You were a child prodigy! Why am I not surprised?!?! And Fo was once on a game show too. Is there some connection between Oz romance writers and game shows?


Sheree said...

I was never famous but at one of my previous jobs, my right hand was used for a promo video (I did the mixing and so forth).