This is what I love about New York.
I was sitting on a park bench at The Water Conservatory Pond in Central Park this afternoon, when a slim, attractive, blonde haired women walked by. She was followed by her toddler son and the boy's Mexican nanny. The three of them stopped in front of me, as the toddler reached to pet two passing dogs.
"Oh, isn't he adorable," said a group of white haired senior citizens that were seated on the park bench next to me. The mom smiled a toothy grin and thanked the women for the compliments. "C'mon Cheech," she said, now trying to pull her son away from the dogs.
Oh, you really need to get him a dog," offered one of the seniors.
"Yeah," the mom said politely," we plan to."
Wow, I thought, this mom looks just like Gwen Stefani. I again looked at the toddler and suddenly recognized him as Kingston, Stefani's 18 month-old son. I had seen their picture in People Magazine numerous times.
Dare I approach her?
Of course I do...I'm the "Conductor to the Stars."
They started to walk away, but I followed close behind. "Excuse me...Are you Gwen Stefani?"
"Yes I am." She said.
Kingston made a b-line for the pond but Gwen quickly grabbed his arm. I was slightly embarrassed by my intrusion, but I continued on. "I'm sorry to bother you, but my wife and daughters are big fans of yours, and they saw you in concert at Mohegan Sun Arena, and I'm a railroad conductor from Connecticut and I'm on my swing time, and...
"Okay," she said calmly. "Maybe I could sign something for them. Do you have a pen?"
"No,"I said, now patting the pockets of my gym shorts.
"Neither do I." She said.
"I'm really sorry to bother you," I blabbered,"but would you be willing to pose for a picture with me?
"Sure," she said.
I handed my cell phone to the nanny and showed her how to take a picture. I then stood next to Gwen, as a crowd of teenage girls looked and pointed in our direction.
"You are so nice to this for me," I said. Thank you for your time.
"No problem," she said.
After our photo shoot, I ran to a park bench on 5th Avenue and immediately text messaged the photo to my wife and two daughters. The accompanying message read: Guess who I met in Central Park today?
Though they were still at school, my daughters returned the message a few minutes later: R U serious? Is that Gwen Stefani? OMG!!!
When I came home tonight, I ran through the door singing "Hollaback Girl." I half expected to be greeted like a conquering hero. Instead, my younger daughter met me with a scowl on her face.
"Next time," she said, "CARRY A PEN!"