Friday, 18 August 2017

16. Wanting to be famous




I want to be famous. 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be famous all the time. There must be times when fame is a pain in the bum. 

For starters, I’d have to seriously up my game appearance-wise. A friend of mine once bumped into me during a Sunday morning dash to the shop and genuinely mistook me for a homeless person (no offence to homeless people intended, but it’s hard to avoid looking like you sleep on a street when you do, in fact, sleep on a street. I, on the other hand, have no excuse). I favour a tracksuit/pyjama combo on most days or, when I have to venture further than a hundred metres from the house, a conglomerate of whatever skirt and old shirt I can find, preferably clean and not plucked from the festering mound of clothes sat on top of the compartmentalised washing basket, but that’s only a preference, not a hard and fast rule. (I value comfort above all - the unrealistic pencil skirt expectations of the corporate world were one reason for my hasty retreat from that sphere). 

In short, the paps would have a field day with me. I know we’re into low-key celebrities these days, but there’s low-key and then there’s hairy-legs-and-greasy-hair. I imagine that somewhere betwixt the two is a line the magazine-reading public don’t want to see crossed. 

Also, if I was famous, I’d feel obliged to use my voice for good. If a million people listened to my every word I’d have a lot of power. If I was clever, I would use that power to recommend beauty products and get a big, fat commission from the beauty brands. But what’s more likely is that my interfering, guilt-ridden conscience (which snuck into my skull, fully formed and ready to go at the age of ten) would ruin that for me. 

Everyone’s listening to you, it would whisper, you better highlight the plight of orangutans, stop eating palm oil, provide an opinion on current affairs and attend protest marches (or those other marches that don’t have an obvious point but everyone marches because they’re empowered and radical). As it is, no one listens to me, so I can use my voice to write rambling diatribes about my meaningless life and, I can stay inside - hoorah! 

But, at other times, I long to be famous. I long for it so bad. I know it’s an unacceptable thing to admit. Once you reach eighteen and have failed to exhibit a talent that could lead to fame and fortune, admitting you want to be famous screams of a disturbing need for validation from strangers and therapists should be involved. Nevertheless, it’s what I want, and I reckon everyone else does too. 

You’ll have your own reasons, but the reason I want to be famous is because of airport arrival halls. 

Stay with me. 

I find arrival halls deeply depressing. The build up is too intense. There’s the wait by the baggage carousel; the gnawing feeling that your bag was dropped into the Atlantic en route and then the relief when you see it chugging towards you. There’s the straight-faced walk through the “nothing to declare” customs bit, aware that you have not got a sweet clue what should be declared and dimly wondering whether the woven Colombian table mats stuffed in your case should be declared or not - not that there’s anyone there to check, so who cares. Finally there’s the grand reveal. You turn a corner and are a celebrity for a nanosecond as all the waiting people turn their heads. Then they realise you’re not who they’re waiting for and lower their eager eyes, dropping their welcome home banners and bunches of flowers. They’re not for you - no one’s here for you. 

If you’re lucky they’ll be a cabbie holding a whiteboard with your name scrawled across it - that’s always nice. But imagine if those crowds were desperate to see you. Imagine them calling your name as security guards usher you along, like the precious cargo you are.

Imagine being so popular, you require staff to protect you because people literally can’t stop throwing themselves at your feet. It wouldn’t feel depressing to come home from holiday then. It would feel amazing. 

I tend to pop to the bathroom after a long-haul flight to check the damage. Not bad, I think. Hair slightly ruffled, but in a charming, distressed way. Eyes a bit bloodshot but nothing some dark glasses wouldn't solve, if I owned any (which I would, if I was famous). Purposeful walk with a wheely suitcase - nailed it. It’s not half bad, I think. And it’s all a waste. 

If only I were famous.

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