My sister once worked at a pretty swank hotel just south of Portland, and had the honor of meeting the King of Red Sox Nation: Theo Epstein. He stayed in her hotel while on scouting trips to check out the Sox farm team, the Portland Sea Dogs. One day he was checking out while she was at the front desk and asked her coworker to grab his receipt off the printer. The coworker bent over to get the receipt and as she did, her pants split open. There she stood, before her colleagues and God and the general manager of the 2004 Red Sox (so he might as well be God) with split britches and her underwear peeking out to say hello. His eyes immediately shifted to the ceiling, my sister’s to the floor, silently agreeing that eye contact would be disastrous, and his checkout went on in silence until my sister had an opportunity to collapse in gales of laughter.
I thought that was the most embarrassing way to meet a celebrity, until I met Josh Holloway in the hospital nursery less than a day after giving birth.
Permit me to explain–I never watched “Lost” until we moved to Oahu and Tom was gone for a few weeks on business and I had no friends yet. I mean I REALLY had no friends, I went to see the Sex and the City movie alone, had no friends. But I did have Tom’s DVDs, and so I started and now I’m hooked. When I first got pregnant, Josh Holloway (“Sawyer”) announced his wife was also expecting. I made a few corny jokes about how funny it would be if she delivered at the same time and pretty much forgot about it until my OB and nurse were discussing Josh Holloway’s presence in Labor and Delivery in between my pushes. Because having an 8 pound baby, y’know, hurts, and because Maggie was taken away immediately because she had fluid in her lungs and couldn’t breathe, I forgot again.
Given the choice of remembering the nurse fit my tiny girl with the world’s smallest O2 mask and then rushing her away, and the splendid visage of Josh “Hey Freckles” Holloway, well, I know what I picked to remember.
Thankfully, Maggie came out of it fine and didn’t even require extra time at the hospital, which makes all the worry seem rather frivolous but at the time it wasn’t. Which is why when I had roused myself from the bed, walked the 100 or so yards to the nursery braless in a hospital johnny, I wasn’t thinking about celebrities. I wasn’t thinking about the shower I hadn’t taken, the contacts I had ignored in favor of glasses, or the stringy hair piled on my head. Nor was I thinking about the blood I hadn’t *quite* cleaned off my ankles or my horrible odor. Just my wee girl’s lungs and how we would get through the next attempt to breastfeed on those godforsaken hospital chairs while wrestling with the oxygen tubes.
When the pediatrician started the rundown and all appeared to be well, I stepped to the side to wash my hands and looked up to a knock on the door. There in exquisite, tanned, well-rested glory was Josh Holloway, needing access to the nursery. I mutely opened the door, noted that he smelled fabulous while thinking of the reek I was projecting about three feet in all directions, and showed him in. We exchanged nods, one new parent to another. He went over to his daughter (Java, I think her name is) and said “Hey there, that’s a mighty strong grip.” The accent is real, and he is really tall, and under any other circumstances I would have demanded Tom rush to the room to find something for him to autograph. I struggled valiantly to pay attention to the pediatrician’s insanely long-winded explanation to tell us she was fine as the shaggy-haired Mr. Holloway wheeled his daughter off to her life of celebrity-by-proxy.
He didn’t see me, I know that. He has no memory of me, just as I have no memory of any other parent who was in that nursery. But damn, if there was ever a time to meet a celebrity who easily ranks at 3 or higher on your Celebrity Five, hours after being wishboned by an 8-pound ham loaf is so not it.