05 March 2007

Celebrities in Paradise

For thirteen years, Pinks and I have been coming to this paradise because we think it is Paradise. I have frequently seen in the press a mention of St. Barths as a gathering place for A-list celebrities, but not counting my plumber, the only celebrity I have ever seen on this island was David Letterman. Beyond that, we have never seen a single movie star, television celebrity, or Vice-President of the United States. We of course see Ron Perelman's boat all the time, but never have actually laid eyes on the little bald guy in person.

This week, Stephanie is here with her highness three-month old Audrey Viola Madoff, (who has more bathing suits than I do) and last night at dinner at L'Espirite de Saline, we were discussing celebrity sightings. Stephanie is big on this subject, but not nearly as focused as Petal, Audrey's baby nurse, who scans the room desperately seeking even a B-level personality. The four adults pursued this conversation at some length while Audrey Viola evinced her disdain for this subject by napping, blowing spit bubbles, and smiling at the waiters.

Petal was crushed to learn that celebrities were not strewn among the diners restaurants like so many boats riding at anchor in Corossol Bay.

Me, I take the blasé approach. Who cares? They are just people, and though they go to the Academy Awards presentation, they have to worry about their hair and clothes and be photogenic all night long, while I can watch the first hour in my shorts and then go to sleep while they still have three hours of torture. Besides, I have some difficulty with names and faces, and would likely not recognize any celeb other than John Wayne, Jimmie Stewart, Spencer Tracy, or Humphrey Bogart, and given my atheistic leanings, I regard the likelihood of an encounter with one of them to be slim to none. Well, perhaps I exaggerate. There a few people I think I might recognize; perhaps one of my "girlfriends" as Pinks refers to them—a small group of women who are distinctively to my taste, i.e., Catherine Zeta-Jones, Nicole Kidman, and, well, maybe one or two others I cannot think of right this minute.

The Letterman Sighting:
One day last week I had come down the road from the FedEx office, waiting to turn right into the stream of traffic on the airport road, when I saw David Letterman drive by right to left, in his Moke—a distinctive small open vehicle formerly quite prevalent on this island, but for some reason or other, now almost extinct. I knew it was he, because it looked just like him, and Pinks told me Letterman had a home here and drove one of the few remaining Mokes on the island. So instead making my intended right turn, I cut off a motorbike and hung a fast left, trailing Letterman by one car. Exciting stuff, huh? He made a left into the Match parking lot, and I followed him in. Now I have him trapped.

Only it wasn't the Match parking lot, it was the driveway just before that, and it dead-ended in auto repair shop, and the guy got out of the Moke, kissed a mechanic (I am not kidding about this) and now that he was standing I could see he looked exactly like Letterman except he was about seven inches shorter, maybe forty pounds heavier, and his face was different. So I made an elegant three-minute long six-point u-turn to get out of the driveway without smashing into the scattered cannibalized Mokes (so that's where they have all gone), motorbikes, and Smart cars—the latter, it appears, endure island fender-benders as well as motor scooters. Yuch, that was embarrassing.

Now to this morning. Steph and I were in the Jeep, and Pinks, Petal, Audrey Viola, and two hundred pounds of baby cargo were preceding us in the Terios, on the way to lunch at CocaLoba in Grande Cul de Sac. About five minutes into the drive, we were in St. Jean, just past the Eden Rock Hotel, when Stephanie screamed "Nicole Kidman, there she is, with Keith Urban!" As we passed the woman on the sidewalk walking toward us, I did get a momentary glimpse of a tall skinny woman in baseball cap and sunglasses walking toward the shops on the north side of the road, but I doubted this was my Nicole and said so. Stephanie said "Trust me, I am good at this, that was Keith Urban (whom I gather has the distinction of winning the shortest-time-between-wedding-ceremony-and-entering-rehab award) and Nicole Kidman." So blasé me stepped on the gas, roared ahead into one entrance of a small shopping mall and out the other, in the process scaring a pedestrian couple out of their shoes (well, only she, and then only one flip-flop, but they were strolling in the driving lane) hung a left to go back the other way, (Steph screamed because I had to make two moves to do the left , and that left me broadside to the heavy traffic for a few moments, but she is a New York City person and not yet wise to our local customs) and I sped back to the place of the sighting.

Yikes, there she was, my Nicole, very tall, very skinny, white T shirt, skinny jeans (egad those legs are long) sunglasses, baseball cap, standing outside a store, looking pissed, doubtless cause her husband left her there while he ducked into a shop to …. Whatever. What do I do now? Abandon the car in the middle of the road? I actually considered it for a second or two while traffic behind me started to pile up. But then what? What do I do after getting out of the car? Throw myself at her feet? I do not collect autographs, had no camera, I am already happily married, and she, at least is married for the moment. While I ponder, traffic is piling up behind me. Especially on that road, one stopped, (no less abandoned) automobile can, in a few minutes, bring the entire island to a halt. Out of options, I resolved the quandary by doing the distinguished retired lawyer thing: I tromped down on the gas pedal, sped down the road to the Suzuki dealer where I pulled in and made a tire-screeching U-turn and drove back to make another pass at my Nicole. But she was gone. Must be inside on of the shops, balling out her husband who doesn't deserve her.

Sigh, Stephanie and I would just have to be content with torturing Petal and Pinks at lunch, which we did, quite effectively I thought.

And who is that short guy Keith Urban anyway? And what kind of name is that? Was he really born Marvin Yablonky? I never heard of him before. Does he do septic tanks? Maybe I'll throw some business in his direction.

A bientot.

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