In a Home Depot parking lot in mid-town Los Angeles, my friends and I are about to be mobbed. I can understand why we would be appealing, considering how many times we changed outfits for this occasion (more than I brush my teeth in a month). Some seedy workers have decided we are better looking than their sub sandwiches and I am starting to think that meeting the cast of “The Office” may become my last fulfilled hope.
But our connection, Oscar, along with my favorite gay accountant, become our saviors by beckoning my friends and me down the street.
This pavement is about to become sacred ground. While I’m dying to meet the characters of Pam and Kevin (The real-life latter does not keep M&M’s in his trailer; what a disappointment to his TV counterpart!) there is no comparison to the epic presence of Steve Carell.
I feel like a soda bottle exploded in my stomach. Not ten feet from my denim flats is Michael Scott in the flesh; why fireworks aren’t going off is beyond me. I make conscious effort not to drool, stare blatantly or take thousands pictures. Staying calm is harder than I think.
But meeting Steve is surprisingly easy, perhaps because he makes it so. Aside from a huge bodyguard and the fact that I’ve seen him in fifteen movies, he seems so normal. He’s caked with foundation, squinting in the sunshine, his hair an intense black I can tell looks better on screen. I just gape, but he shakes my hand and smiles as though I’m normal.
“Oh, wow, okay,” Steve says in such a “Michael Scott” way I want to laugh. He nods to the three of us so dressed up. “Not twenty anymore, Oscar. You got lucky today.” He cracks his wry jokes signature sans-smile and I cannot get over the uncanny resemble he has to Dunder Mifflin’s famous office manager.
What surprises me the most is that as Steve’s bodyguard hovers (I have no idea what harm he expects a few teenage girls to inflict on Michael, besides burn a hole in him with our eyes), is not how down-to-earth Steve is, but discovering that he is shy! Soft-spoken, looking at Oscar while we talk, Steve bows out gracefully with a nod; he leaves behind insanely happy people, watching as his trailer pulls away.
So while I miss out on meeting Jim and we mourn the lost opportunity of a picture with America’s funniest man, I can’t be disappointed.
I am already making plans to erect a monument on this surreal slab of concrete or at least take a piece home. I think Michael Scott would understand completely.