Amy Roberts: When agreeing to play tour guide, a quick Google search isn’t a bad idea
While the cause remains unclear, my life tends to have one recurring certainty: Things that happen to me don’t happen to normal people. The line between absurdity and reality has been blurred for as long as I can remember, and it’s not uncommon for me to nod my head and shrug in response to a comment that goes something like, “I’ve never heard of this happening to anyone else.”
Some examples for reference: Many years ago I was nearly traded for several hundred camels in Morocco; once I accidentally found myself on a plane to Belgium instead of Barcelona after a night of drinking in Greece; and during a trip I took in college, I was an unsuspecting contestant on an Asian game show. My prize was a choice between a pet monkey or a month’s supply of razors. I chose the razors.
If nothing else, the situations I tend to find myself in make for equal parts confusing and amusing.
But even by my hard-to-faze standards, what happened over the weekend raised my eyebrows higher than usual. A friend of mine who lives in London called to tell me my picture was in a number of British gossip magazines. I didn’t believe him at first, I’ve done nothing noteworthy in America lately, let alone England. But he insisted it was true and then sent me the links for proof. It was indeed me — taking up space in the British version of “US Weekly.”
Days prior, a producer friend of mine in L.A. emailed me to let me know one of her employees was coming out to ski. She asked if I could show him around the town and perhaps ski with him. The Park City ambassador in me took over. “Of course!” I eagerly replied. A few introductory text messages later, everything was sorted: We’d meet at Deer Valley to ski each day, enjoy a meal or two, and hit the pubs on Main Street one night.
I thought nothing of this request from my friend. When you live in a ski town, introductions like this are common. Over the years I’ve played tour guide for the neighbors and cousins and in-laws of people I’m somehow connected to. I’m always down to show someone my town. Though generally speaking when I agree to do so, the possibility of paparazzi following us isn’t something I inquire about.
Out of respect for his privacy, I’ll skip the identification process. But suffice it to say, the Brit I befriended is something like the UK equivalent of a Kardashian. Had I Googled him first, I would have known this. Not that I would have done anything different — I still would have skied with him, showed him around, and chatted with him just the same. Although I would have might have worn more flattering ski pants for the photos.
After learning of his status, and mine as his “mystery friend” in the tabloids, I joked with him about his celebrity and my obliviousness to it. He commented how refreshing it was to be anonymous for a bit. More than once he seemed pleased that no one in Park City knew him. Or relieved that anyone who did recognize him hadn’t seemed to care. It was nice to go to a bar and not be hounded by selfie seekers. Sure, he makes a living by people knowing who he is, but that also makes it quite difficult to be who you really are sometimes. You have to always be ‘on.’ Any off moment makes headlines. It’s not the most authentic way to live.
Though I couldn’t relate, I found myself sympathetically nodding my agreement. Fame and fortune come with an unnamed price. And no matter how randomly absurd my life can be at times, at least I get to call it mine.
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The skiing conditions are bad, the coronavirus is still raging and the news is frightening. So Tom Clyde went outside. He didn’t regret it.