There are two vivid memories of meeting a celebrity. Both times, I appeared much in need of ‘ I don’t always look like this, promise’, but of course one cannot say that. It happened today, the second time.
First time I was entering the sauna at the local gym. The activity required a seriously non-sexy full costume, the black throwback ones to school galas in the Convent. avec slipslops and the obligatory blue cap. I looked like a blue headed something to be exact. Not glamourous. Once the steam had lifted, I was the but one in the wooden box, the other, a Wimbledon tennis champion. He left within seconds. C’est la vie.
Today. Today was the waitron morning. Am loving this stint, although practicality demands a sturdy pair of shoes (and I have only one pair for I am not practical) which are the Converse takkies my daughter received as part of an ad campaign. Comfort is all so imagine me, beginning at the feet, with black and white Converse, ankle socks (not the trendy ones but the fold over school types) and a summer dress. I was Maria, the novice nun. Julie Andrews without the guitar, or the voice, or the Austrian alps.
Hair hastily pulled back in a bun, and the most unglamorous denim apron to boot. Prancing around I was, undeterred by the vision presented as anyone doing a straight up six hour shift tends to be, when I … you know when that feeling descends, stop in your tracks and slowly turn your head towards the table from which an all too familiar voice emanates.
Is it? Could it be, am I dreaming.? It was. Mr. Masterchef from Down under. You would be proud of how cool I was, despite being literally the only on on the staff who knew this person. Legend in my eyes, relaxed, with family and simply chilling in the London burbs.
Same gorgeous person actually, yes actually came over to the counter to chat to moi. The accent you see, recognised the accent and an amiable chat of familiar things. The ordinary of it was lovely. And I was just thrilled to have met him. Not thrilled that he spied me in my garb (would have been so much better in designer heels and looking less like I lurched from bed this morning), but as they say, C’est la vie. Perhaps he wondered at this Silver Streeter in her apron serving lattes? Perhaps one day, we will meet again and laugh about the lady in the apron.
The day became lovelier. Waiting on a elegant French lady, who spoke no English, I, perhaps for the first time, forgot the nerves and tried to parlez in French. My utterly broken, Duolingo, maybe one day french.
‘Sel ou poivre?’ I asked. Oh my word, I got it right! She smiled and rattling gun replied.
‘Whoa!’ I thought, but smiled instead, nodded and showed the thumbs up, grinning profusely and hoping the game would not be up with a shudder of disappointment. But Non! the gracious lady embraced my feeble attempts and soon we were talking of the Luberon, Cote d’ Azur, Avignon and my love of France in general. Bolstered I asked:
”L’addition?’ (pardon my french) I asked.
The elegant French lady threw her hands in the air and uttered, in a few words I captured, that the way I said it, was charming, simply charming.
Cheshire cat happy. Before she left, at her insistence, she proceeded to pencil on a till ripped piece of paper, all the special, unknown spots she loved in the french area she lived in. In French she explained each place, each little restaurant, favoured hotel and church I should visit in the future. Got a few words, but what was more important, is that she said I made her feel special, trying to speak in her language, made her feel welcome. I pray to visit these places, paper tucked firmly in the apron pocket.
Okay, were we NOT at the Cafe de Flore. Would love to have been, but it felt like it.
For those six hours, working hard, the hard work paid off. In a little café in Parsons Green, that I love so much, at St. Clements, I met the most amazing people today.
La vie est belle today. Coffee shops bring the most wonderful people together. The feet are still sore, the back still aching, but the heart is full.
As a dear friend would say, goodnight and good luck.
Images Peintres, trippy drawings