One degree of separation from Rob Reiner, who isn’t very nice

I saw Rob Reiner on Sunday morning TV as I was checking my emails and Tweets. It’s the twenty-five year anniversary of The Princess Bride and he was reminiscing with some of the cast. Every single time I see him, I am reminded of the time the captain and I met him in Kauai. Reiner had just won the Academy Award for A Few Good Men so it must have been 1993. Yes, I do remember, it was in April. I had flown to Hawaii over a long weekend to meet the captain–we were in the relationship stage between serious and engaged. (There’s a whole long huge story here about why he was in Hawaii in the first place, but I’m saving that for another time. And the other part about how my ex was staying at the house to take care of my son while I was gone, a TOTALLY other and maybe even more interesting story…)
He met me at the airport in Honolulu and we immediately boarded another airplane to Kauai.  I haven’t travelled much, but to me, Kauai is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I really, really want to go to Bora Bora, but if there’s no surf there, I’m sure I’ll never see it. That seems to be the criteria around here for vacation spots.

The captain had been there during Hurricane Iniki and the devastation was still overwhelming. He had been part of the rescue efforts to bring people away from the island and to bring food and water and other supplies to Kauai because the airport was closed. 140 mile winds had destroyed most of the trees and buildings and they were still in clean-up mode when I went there. But it was still gorgeous. We did a lot of touristy things and hiked the NaPali coast trail, took a romantic boat ride down the river, and visited all the places he’d lived when he spent a few years there as a little boy.

One night we went to a sushi restaurant. We were sitting at the sushi bar and noticed a large group sitting at a round table in the middle of the restaurant. They were very obviously celebrating, happy, loud, making lots of toasts, and in general causing the rest of us to take notice of them. The captain thought one of them looked like a celebrity. He said, “Don’t be obvious, but take a look over there. I think that’s Rob Reiner.” Telling me not to be obvious never really works. I am pretty much always obvious, I’m not the shrinking violet, I don’t blend in with the wallpaper. I looked and he was right, it was Rob Reiner! I shook out my hair to give it a bit more height and volume (remember, it was 1993) and decided that we should walk over there and congratulate him on his Academy Award win.  I was really excited. I thought this was going to be my chance at the big time. He would take one look at me and tell me that he’d been looking everywhere for someone JUST LIKE ME to cast in his next blockbuster film and I would become a STAR! I could already see myself on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Jennifer Aniston would be my new BFF. I’d guest star on Friends. And then…

We walked over to the table and approached Rob Reiner. We stood there for what seemed to evolve into awkwardly longer and longer moments of being ignored.  Tick tock, tick tock. Finally, I said, “Mr. Reiner, we wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed A Few Good Men, and congratulations on winning an Academy Award!”  He turned to me with the meanest, nastiest possible look on his face and said, “We are trying to enjoy a private moment here and you are intruding. Go away.”

I was speechless. I was mortified. I was so hurt. I was pissed. We turned around and went (slinked) back to our seats at the sushi bar. The couple sitting next to us had witnessed the whole thing and commiserated with us about how rudely we had been treated.  There was no way I deserved that kind of reaction. We weren’t bothering them, they were drawing attention to themselves. It’s not like I asked him for an autograph or anything. Sigh. There went my dream of becoming a famous actress. If only there had been cell phones with video. If only there had been You Tube. I would have captured that moment and preserved it for eternity. Don’t be mean, famous people who depend upon the public for your success. It’s not nice!

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