One of the greatest things about living in L.A. is that now the objects of my affection are sometimes within reach. They pop up at malls, and beaches, just to say hi to those of us that adore them. And that was the case yesterday.
In case you don’t actually know me at all, let me inform you now that I am obsessed with The Hunger Games (see previous blog post, my facebook or twitter). And yesterday the cast began their mall tour (a mall tour is where select members of the cast show up at some big malls to sign a few autographs and have a short Q&A session) here in Los Angeles and the Westfield Century City Mall. And you had better believe I was there (um, Josh Hutcherson was there, of course there was no way I was letting him get out of there without seeing me)!
The day began bright and early. Okay, that’s not true, it did begin early, but because it was only 5am, it wasn’t so bright. The sun hadn’t even come out yet. Any time I have to get up before the sun I want to throw up. But, I endured the awfulness because Josh Hutcherson was going to be within my reach (yeah, that’s dedication right there). Please keep in mind that the Q&A session didn’t even start until 6 PM. So, anyways, got up at 5am, and got ready for what had the potential to be an awesome day, and then headed to pick up George.
So, George and I are driving to Beverly Hills, and just kind of talking about how the day is going to go, when we notice that something is different. And strange. There is no traffic. None at all. I have never experienced anything like this since I got here. All five lanes were basically empty. I took the no traffic as a good sign for the day. Then we got to the mall…
The event doesn’t even start until 6pm and there are already like 275 people in line. Whaaaaat? The rules of the event state that no one is permitted to line up until 8am, and yet, here is this line at 6:45 am. Clearly that has backfired. I feel like the mall underestimated the will of crazy girls. So, now I’m a little bit frustrated. The parking garage doesn’t open until 7am, so George and I go to The Coffee Bean down the road so we can formulate what our next step will be. We can either: go home and admit defeat; go get in line to be one of the 1000 people let in to the Q&A; or go back and take our chances and try to be one of the 100 people who get to meet the cast.
I haven’t quite given up hope. I have on my lucky dress (hey, I had to look good for Josh), and I woke up too early to give in to defeat this easily. So we hang out at The Coffee Bean until like 6:55am, then we head back to the parking garage. Naturally, there is a line of cars. And people are not being polite, or even doing legal things. Apparently the thought of getting to meet the cast of The Hunger Games is enough to turn people crazy. So, it takes us like 10 minutes to park. When we get out of the my car, we wander up the steps and end up right outside of the Microsoft Store (this is the place where you’re suppose to line up to be one of the 100 people who get to meet the cast). There is a barricade, some security and a group of about 15 people already waiting there.
There is one particularly loud girl there. She’s complaining about how their official rules say that you can’t line up before 8am and how it’s not fair that she can’t get a wristband for the meet and greet. She’s complaining about the 275 people who have lined up on the bridge, and how they shouldn’t be rewarded for breaking the rules (come to find she’s been there since 11pm the night before, talk about breaking the rules). The staff of the mall is in crisis mode. They clearly didn’t anticipate all of this chaos. So, they spring into action. George and I wait there for like five minutes, all the while the loud girl has begun to cry and spread her sob story. Her dad just had surgery and she left him for this, she had to drive soooo far, blah blah blah…until finally a member of the event staff comes back.
She explains to us that because the line on the bridge wasn’t official that they are going to spread out the meet and greet passes to the multiple lines. She instructs us to get in line. George and I scramble into the line and wait. They begin handing out passes…and guess who gets the last two?
George and I. We get passes numbers 99 and 100! How freaking ridiculously is that?! We were so close to not getting to meet them! But, we are ushered to the Microsoft Store to wait in line with the other 98 lucky people. While we’re waiting in line, it starts to dawn on me just how lucky we are. I’m listening to these people who are talking about how they’ve been here since 2am, or since the night before. And how they had to fight for their place in line and all the drama that they seem to have experienced. Um, we just walked up like 10 minutes ago? We decide not to tell anyone that. We don’t want to get on the bad side of these people.
The crying girl from before got in, and she’s a little inappropriate. She’s a potty mouth, which is definitely not okay seeing as there are younger kids around, and she’s saying some vulgar things about Josh. Dude, he is just 19-years-old. I am not under the impression that he is completely innocent, but I’m pretty sure the things you’re saying would make him blush, and not in a good way. She is just totally offensive. But, apparently we have all formed this bond now. So I guess we’re friends? As offensive as I find her, I’d rather have her on my side than the other way around.
While we’re waiting in line we start to read some of the posts on Westfield’s facebook page. People are mad. I was a little concerned that there was going to be a riot. While reading the comments, I am beginning to feel really fortunate that I got a wristband…and avoided the chaos from the infamous bridge.
Once we have traded our cards for wristbands we are free to go do whatever until 2:30pm, when we have to be back at the Microsoft Store to get back in line to actually meet the cast. When we leave, George and I wander down to the area where the Q&A is taking place. It basically a big pin that people are forced to sit in. Once you get inside it, only a few people are allowed to leave at one time. So you’re basically trapped. You have to have a lanyard pass thing to leave, and I guess those are in short supply. Orrrrr, if you’re lucky, you have a really cool wristband and can come and go as you please.
I begin to feel a little bit superior with my wristband. I’m a VIP. I can basically do whatever I want, and I’m getting to meet the cast, can you blame me? I also feel a little bit like a target. People with lanyards do not like the people with wristbands. So, I try to avoid them as much as possible. And I try to hide my wristband whenever possible. It also seems that those 100 people with the wristbands have formed this strange alliance. It’s like we’re all friends now. Apparently surviving mass pandemonium will bond anybody. People I don’t know wave and say hi to me, just because I have a wristband.
So, as the day goes by I’m internally panicking while trying to decide what I’m going to say to Josh Hutcherson. What do you say to someone you’re pretty sure you’re going to marry? But seriously…what do I say? I have all these scenarios in my head of how things could go down. They’re not all totally ridiculous, some of them could actually occur (they won’t, but they could). I mean, surely they notice people who they meet, don’t they? I’m sure most of it goes by in a blur, but they have to notice some people. He’s a young guy; he is hardwired to notice girls. How do make him remember me? So this is what’s bouncing around in my head all day (not that any of my planning matters, Miriam ruins everything).
There is a lot of waiting, but finally we are inside the Microsoft Store, and there he is (yeah, Jennifer and Liam are there too), just sitting there being his usual adorable and charming self. And that’s when Misty makes her exit, and is replaced by Miriam.
Miriam is painfully shy and awkward. She can’t talk to regular people, and she most certainly can’t talk to celebrities. Where Misty is a little bit charming herself, Miriam is just awkward; where Misty is witty, Miriam is awkward; and where Misty can speak in full sentences, Miriam can barely string together simple words. Unfortunately, this is the girl that replaces Misty during celebrity encounters.
For some dumb reason we weren’t allowed to take cameras in to meet them (they say it’s because of contractual issues, but I’m pretty sure the store just hates us), so there is no actual proof I met Liam, Jennifer or Josh, but I promise I did. When we got to the front of the line we were rushed through with our own personal security member.
Liam was up first at the table, so Miriam talked to him first:
“Hi, how are you?” Miriam says.
“I’m good, how about you?” says Liam (in his very attractive Australian accent).
“I’m good, too” says Miriam.
Liam was nice. He signed my store provided poster and we shook hands (he shakes hands like of like a girl though, especially to be so huge). And he is very handsome, the screen doesn’t even do him justice. Miley Cyrus is a very lucky girl.
Next was Jennifer:
“Hi, how are you?” Miriam asked.
“Hi, I’m good,” answers Jennifer as she signs my poster. Then she offers her hand out for a handshake. “We can shake hands, but they are kind of fussy about hugs,” she says with a laugh. (George had just asked to for a hug, and security said no).
Um, she is a babe. She’s currently my girl crush (her and Zooey Deschanel). She is absolutely beautiful, and so funny! I’m pretty sure we could be friends (she and Misty could be friends, not Miriam).
Finally, the moment has arrive, Josh is sitting right in front of me. I think I’m going to say something witty, something cute, something that’ll make him remember me (in a good way). Instead, this happens:
“Hi Josh, how are you?” sputters Miriam.
“Well, hi. I’m doing great. Thank you. And how are you?” Josh responds after he signs my poster. He looks up and maintains eye contact the whole time, which of course only manages to fluster Miriam even more.
“I’m fantastic,” Miriam manages to blurt out while her face turns what I’m sure is an awful shade of red. He holds his hand out to me and I shake his hand. He holds on a little longer than I’m anticipating and he says “that’s great. Thank you for coming.” And I am ushered away.
Josh is seriously the nicest guy ever. And he’s so adorable. He’s like miniature, but totally adorable. If only he could have met Misty and not Miriam, then he would have definitely asked for my number.
The whole thing only lasts about 60 seconds, if that. All that waiting for 60 seconds of interaction. But, it was totally worth it and I’d definitely do it all over again in a heartbeat. I (well, Miriam) got to meet Josh Hutcherson. How cool is that??
After that we were corralled inside the VIP section of the Q&A. We were like 4 feet from the stage. It was pretty cool. But what was not cool was having to stand like sardines with a bunch of crazy girls. One girl who was just on the other side of the VIP section was literally sobbing because she didn’t get to meet them. I may have morphed into awkward Miriam, but at least I wasn’t that girl. I actually felt bad for her. For the next hour the crowd begins to grow, and to get excited and to scream more. Until finally the moment all these people have been waiting for all day arrives.
Out walks Liam first. Then Josh. And finally, Jennifer. It pushes people to hysteria.
They wave, and wave, and smile. And finally the crowd settles down enough for them to talk. Questions are asked, but I’m only halfway paying attention. Number one because Josh Hutcherson is mere feet from me, and number two because I can basically tell you verbatim what their answers are going to be (I’m obsessed, I’ve watched a lot of interviews). They receive several marriage proposals, one of them coming from George (Jennifer did agree to marry him. I expect to be invited to this wedding). She had no choice but to notice him when he yelled because a.) he was one of like 3 guys there b.) we were right in front of her and c.) he was taller than everyone else. So her eyes fell on him a lot.
I (and Miriam) played on a different strategy to get Josh’s attention. I played the normal card. In a sea full of crazy, screaming girls, I was the isle of sanity. And it totally worked! He looked at me pretty regularly and we made eye contact a lot. And it’s not one of those crazy wishful thinking things, we really did. I think he might be in love with me (that might be a little bit of wishful thinking).
The Q&A lasted roughly 17 minutes, and then they were done. Throughout the night I found myself pinning their character’s traits on them, and they seemed to match up pretty close. Well, except for Jennifer. She was much funnier than I imagine Katniss to be, she was also a lot more outgoing. Liam was kind of quite, like Gale. He wasn’t cold, or rude, he was charming like the rest of them, just quite. And then there was Josh, who is Peeta. He is charming, charismatic, funny and slightly self-depreciating. He truly is Peeta, which only solidifies my love for him.
Finally it was time to leave. It was a long day, and unfortunately the drive home wasn’t as easy as the drive there had been, but that’s okay, I was still in a pleasant state. It was the longest day ever, but I would do it all again.
The odds were ever in my favor.