Friday, February 19, 2010

A Hobbit Helps Out

Celebrity encounters in L.A. tend to be strange.  It's rare that you get to exchange a word with one of them.  Usually, you get to stare and eavesdrop on their conversations, like the time I saw O.J. Simpson in a store up on Beverly Glen, and he was excited by a certain display case:  "Oh good," said O.J. "You have the Swiss Army Knife line.  I'm a big investor."

After lunching with my dear friend Robin, I had an actual exchange with a movie star type that made my day.  When I came back to my car,  parked in a narrow strip mall, not fit for anything bigger than a Mini Cooper, I found my personal auto blocked by a truck.  The truck was parked perpendicular to the other cars, its door left open on the driver's side.  I assumed some thoughtless fool had run into one of the shops.  I sat there in my car and waited.  No fool appeared.  I started to despair, until I saw Him.  He was short in stature, but tall in spirit.  He was wise.  Samwise Gamgee, to be precise.  Yes, standing before me, talking on his cell phone:  Sean Astin, Star of "Lord of the Rings," "Rudy" and "Goonies."  And most importantly, Patty Duke's son!

"Excuse me," I said.  Sean Astin turned around and smiled at me.  "By any chance, is that your car?"  I pointed to the vehicle in my path.  He smiled again and came closer.  "Oh, that truck?  Nope, that's not mine.  You want me to help?  I'm a great helper."

I looked at him and laughed.  "Really?  Are you sure?"  "Yeah, come on, I'll guide you."  Man.  He was getting all Zen on me.  I went with it.  Why not?  I felt like I knew him.  Did I mention he was Patty Duke's son?  I trusted him like one of my own.

And so, our journey began.  "Back up.  Come on.  You're okay.  You're good.  Keep going, keep going, STOP!"  I stopped and waited for my next instructions, as if learning to drive all over again.  "Okay," said Sean Astin, "now, turn the wheel.  Keep turning, yeah, that's it.  Whoa!  You almost hit the edge there.  Okay, there you go.  You're clear!"

Woo-hoo! Victory!  Sean Astin had led me out of the forest and into the light.  "Thank you so much," I cooed at my helper.  "Any time," he said with a wink.  And then, out it came.  I couldn't help myself:  "I love your mother," I gushed.  "I love her too," Samwise said, adding, "You take care."  I smiled.  "You too."

Off I went, all giddy and overwhelmed by his genuine goodness.  He'd done a mitzvah for the Short Jewish Gal.  If I'm not careful, celeb encounters like these could be... Hobbit-forming.

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