Randy and Me
I walked in the grocery store through the entrance on 58th Street (by the piano shop). I wasn't sure what I was going to get, so I thought I'd take a look at the hot food bar. I strolled past the yogurt section, vaguely considering buying a yogurt, when I noticed a very tall man taking a couple of yogurts off the one of the higher shelves. He was with a woman. She was a normal-sized woman but she looked very small standing next to him.
I think he was taking La Yogurts or Yoplait-style yogurts (the kind in the smallish container with the foil top but no plastic snap-on lid like Dannon has, as if you actually need that plastic lid to save your uneaten yogurt for later).
My celebrity sightings always follow the same pattern. I see the person and something clicks in my brain and my first reaction is "wow that person looks a heck of a lot like XXX." It takes me a second to recognize that it actually IS XXX.
Well, as I walked past the yogurt aisle, the thought occured to me "wow, that tall guy looks a lot like Randy Johnson."
It only took me two beats or so to realize "Hey, that actually is Randy Johnson." And it definitely was.
I was a little bit taken aback. I had just watched the Yankees game last night (though Johnson did not pitch). I went and took a look at the hot food bar and was unimpressed (I wanted something more breakfasty, not barbecued ribs at 11:00 a.m.) so I went back where I came from, past the yogurt, past Randy Johnson, and grabbed a 32-ounce Tropicana grapefruit juice (golden, not ruby red). I said "Hey, go get 'em Randy" as I walked by, and he ignored me or didn't hear me but probably ignored me.
I could have paid for the juice right there at the 58th Street registers and left, but I wanted to see Randy Johnson again, kind of to see how other people were reacting to him. It was weird that he wasn't being mobbed, but the grocery store was pretty empty. The lunch rush hadn't begun yet. He was just grocery shopping, doing his thing, same as me. Me and Randy Johnson, grocery shopping.
He got in line by the main bank of registers on 57th Street to pay. There, people started to recognize him. I was standing near one guy, in his late twenties, who was talking to his friend and getting out a notebook and pen to ask for an autograph.
The guy was wearing a Yankees jersey but it was a Derek Jeter jersey, and he asked his friend something to the effect of "Is it okay that this is a Jeter jersey?" His friend agreed that it was okay (not ideal, but okay), and the guy went up to Randy Johnson in line and touched him on the arm to get his attention.
Randy Johnson slowly turned his head to the guy, and slowly took the pen and paper. That's when I went back to the 58th Street registers, paid, and left. I could have paid in Randy Johnson's line, but it was too long, and I was kind of in a hurry to get back. You see I'm not that star-struck. I still want to be in the fastest line.
Randy Johnson has a reputation of being kind of unfriendly, but he seemed pretty cool in the grocery store, not super gregarious, but reasonable, all things considered. I can imagine it must be tough when you get recognized everywhere you go, and when you're 6'10" there's really no hiding. Maybe making $15,419,815 a year takes the sting out of that, though.
Randy Johnson was wearing a Nike windbreaker, some kind of track pants, and Puma shoes. When I got back to the office and told my friends about my Randy Johnson sighting we agreed that he must live around here somewhere, possibly in the new Time Warner building on Columbus Circle or the Trump Tower on Central Park West.
As for the rest of my life, Jenn is in Arizona, catching up with her family. John will be driving up to New York tonight for his weekend visit with me, and Marty might swing by for a hang-out session later this evening. I've got to get to work now.