It was my last full day in New York. My plans hadn’t worked out and truth be told, I was feeling pretty cranky. I walked down to 5th and…
Wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. The story actually starts on my FIRST day in New York. My dad and I went out for dinner and as we were walking home, I saw this poster:
And I got really excited. Because I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am a grade-A nerd who LOVVVVVES Star Trek: The Next Generation. So the thought of Captain Jean-Luc Picard–so deliciously stern but fair!–in the same city as me…well, I got excited. And when I get excited, I start scheming.
And I do so out loud and in public. Sometimes on Facebook. Which I guess is the same thing.
Anyway. I figured that, since Manhattan is only about twelve miles long, I was BOUND to run into Patrick Stewart eventually. But honestly, I’d made the stalking-Sir-Patrick-Stewart joke a few times before, including once when he was in Chicago, and I wasn’t any more serious about it this time than any time before.
So this brings me back to where I started: It was my last full day in New York. My plans hadn’t worked out and, truth be told, I was feeling pretty cranky. I walked down to 5th and across to Radio City and 30 Rockefeller plaza to live my Liz Lemon life & check out the view from the top of the building. I paid my twenty bucks, looked at New York from way up high, took some pictures and got hit on by a security guard. One invented husband later, I started the long meander back home.
I was walking down 45th street when I saw the marquis for A Life in the Theatre. Might as well take a picture, I thought. It’s as close to Patrick Stewart as I’m ever going to get.
But as I got closer to the theatre, I realised that I was stuck. There was a giant mass of people in front of me and a giant black SUV to my right, effectively keeping me from cutting around them via the street–unless I wanted to take my chances with traffic. I was trapped! TRAPPED! Behind a frizzy-haired wall of humanity. I wasn’t happy about it, but I decided to wait until they cleared out of my way.
After about two minutes, I realised what was going on: these people were getting autographs from T.R. Knight. Who is on Grey’s Anatomy. Who is a very, very tiny man, incidentally. And who is starring in the play with Patrick Stewart.
As he was whisked away down the street, I realised what was going on. I was at the stage door. I was at the stage door after a performance. And that meant…
Then the door opened. And I almost started to cry.
Patrick Motherfucking Stewart.
Sir Captain Professor Jean-Luc Picard Xavier.
I freaked out. And when I say that I want you to know that I really, really FAH-REAKED OUT. I felt like I was having a panic attack because this is basically my hero! And here’s right there!
My hands were shaking so hard I almost dropped my camera, and it was absolutely all I could do to keep taking pictures. As I was pushing my way through the crowd, I realised that I didn’t have a plan. The other people around me had playbills that he was signing; I had nothing. All I had was my camera, my wallet and my keys.
So I did.
Eye contact established. Hand out. I said something along the lines of “I just wanted to say that I think you’re awesome.”
Patrick Stewart took my hand in a double-handed handshake. He looked in my eyes. And then, in that wonderful voice, he said:
“Aren’t you a LOVELY thing?”
And then I died.
I walked away so dizzy and lightheaded that I thought I was going to pass out. I made a couple of overexcited phone calls which consisted of little more than me yelping “CAPTAIN PICARD CAPTAIN PICARD BLARRRGGHHH OH MY GOD!” until I dropped my phone in the street.
And that is the story of the greatest moment of my life.
In retrospect, I really wish that I had something for him to sign or that I’d asked someone to take a picture of me standing with him. But honestly, I’m amazed that I kept my shit together enough to form a sentence. I don’t think I had the capacity to also talk to a stranger.
I don’t really remember how I found my way home, but I did. And I immediately took to the internet.
And there you have it. Now if I ever feel bad about myself, I just think “Patrick Stewart thinks I’m a LOVELY thing,” and goddamn if that doesn’t make me feel fine as all get-out. Because if Captain Picard thinks you’re lovely, you know it must be true. A starship captain would never lie.
And neither would I, which is how you know I mean it when I say: