Essay quiz

Since I’m grading quizzes today, I thought I’d give you one, too.

Scenario: You are in London. Planning to take a brief pause (15 min) from what you’re doing to have something to drink and a snack, you enter a cafรฉ. While scanning the room to see whether a table is open, you discover Mr. Armitage seated in a corner, totally engrossed in a conversation with another person. You do not know who the other person is. It’s clear that Armitage is there for the conversation with his interlocutor, in which he is completely involved.

What do you do, and why?

[In your answer, you may state only what YOU would do and why. Your answer is assumed by me and other readers to be a statement for yourself based on your own personality and principles, not a prescription of behavior for anyone else. You may ask questions about or respond to the responses of other readers, but you MAY NOT say unkind things about the answers of other people. Comments that break this rule will be deleted.]

Lucas North (Richard Armitage) makes a very early morning coffee for himself and Sarah Caulfield in Spooks 8.5. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery. Mmmmm. French press coffee.

COMING ATTRACTION: bccmee sent me her guest post and as soon as I have a chance to arrange it and she can proofread and approve it, it will go live, probably sometime toward the end of the coming week. It’s really interesting!

~ by Servetus on February 18, 2011.

147 Responses to “Essay quiz”

  1. I’d chose a table with good sightlines, not too near him, and sit and observe. With beating heart! And that’s all.

    Why? Because seeing him in the flesh would remind me (and then some) that he’s not actually a part of my life (despite featuring in imaginary conversations in my head a lot). It’d be exciting and sobering at the same time. Maybe even a bit chastening.

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    • Yeah — I think depending on the mood you were in it could definitely be a sort of crushing reminder that you weren’t dating him and didn’t know him ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. !) Double-take. I think it might be Mr. Armitage. Probably not.
    2) Did our eyes meet? If so, smallest of nods. Return eyes to book and cup of tea.

    End of a lovely scenario.

    Why?
    a) Never met the gentleman. Never been INTRODUCED. What on earth would I do with an autograph, anyway?
    b) He is in conversation. Would I wish to be interrupted by a stranger in the circumstances? (Hmnn, if said atranger looked like Mr. A, and was just seeking directions to St. Martins-in-the-Fields? Pause for thought; thought it, give directions with small nod AND sweet smile).

    Finish tea and float on air to hotel, whatever…a nice day!

    Right-O, that’s just me.

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    • Seconded. It would be “OMG is that …? No, it can’t be, I’m hallucinating. Or maybe … OMG IT’S REALLY HIM!” and freeze up. Should he, by any chance, be looking my way, I’d give him a very shy smile and probably look away with red cheeks. (“OMG he looked at me!”) And then I’d continue reading my book or writing in my notepad or whatever I’m doing or, rather, just stare blankly at the pages because I’d be too preoccupied by thinking “OMG what if he walks past? What if he stops to say hello?” and various other romantic and highly improbable scenarios along the lines of being chatted up there and then when he’s finished talking to the other person. And I wouldn’t be able to stop smiling either.

      Chance meetings ftw! They warm the romantic cockles of my heart, they do. The love at first sight thing. Improbable in reality but ohhh so lovely in theory.

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    • I think — and I left this open for the purposes of the question — that one’s actual reaction might have something to do with what one was breaking from. I.e., if you live in London and this is just 15 minutes of your normal day that you’re taking off, you might think of it differently than you would if you were on vacation in London. In the later instance, something like that might appear to me personally, at least on such short reflection, as part of a festive atmosphere in which normal rules were in the background. I’m not saying anything at this point about what I’d do (I’ll answer that eventually), just that I think what one would actually do has a little bit to do with what one is doing in that particular context in the first place.

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  3. Like feefa I would try to get a table with a good sight line. I would feel ambivalence, even turmoil, because I would love to go up to him and tell him how much I love his work. However, he is engrossed in conversation so I would not interrupt. Hell, I would not (and do not) interrupt anyone else in deep and intimate conversation either, so why would it be different for him, and, indeed, his companion?

    Why? Because my parents raised me right and good manners win the day; they show respect. It is neither the time or the place. Besides, just seeing him in the flesh will satisfy a lot of curiosity!

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    • turmoil, definitely, but I also like your point that a lot of the desire to meet the actual Richard Armitage is probably absorbed by just seeing him in person, especially if you consider that even if you did approach him it’s not like you were going to be able to sit down and have a heart to heart with him anyway.

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  4. Wow, you gals are good lot!! I’m impressed. Your mamas raised you right!

    As for me? After the EMTs got me to the hospital…truth is, I tend to clam up in the presence of greatness. I’d most likely sit, watch and smile if he passed by. (I like smiling at strangers just to see if they’ll smile back. I’ll bet he would because he’s a gentleman and an all-around nice guy.) And when he did, I’d nod and try to squeak out a complimentary, “Richard.” or “Mr. Armitage” or sit there and argue with myself on what I should call him until it would be too late to say anything because the guy would out the door by then and I’d spend the rest of my life berating myself for being such a goof.

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    • One wonders if, as he walks around London, he’s surrounded by women who smile at him sweetly sort of from under their eyebrows, with ducked heads ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. I would go to his table, kick the chair from under the competition, hike up my skirt, pull down his zipper and sit on his lap jumping up and down.

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  6. My best scenario is this:

    I’d probably stare for a bit, because:
    1. I wouldn’t be sure as I am a glasses wearer and in all likelihood I wouldn’t be wearing them.
    2. Once I did confirm it, he does deserve a lingering look.

    Then I would give myself an internal slap on the face, because it’s rude to stare, no matter who it is. And sit myself down and order a latte for myself and send one over to him with a note of Thanks.

    Why?
    Because you only live once, and the man deserves to be thanked for his work.

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    • The idea of somehow paying for his drink is an interesting one. Probably most people don’t want another latte, but in a restaurant, telling the waiter that you wanted to pick up his tab … hmmm. I think I could do that if I disappeared immediately after paying so he wouldn’t know it was me. I like the idea of giving a gift that doesn’t have to be reciprocated but that brightens up his day without being intrusive. On the other hand, I suppose some people might see that as creepy. I DO NOT like it when a guy in a bar sends a drink over to me; it’s only happened twice in my life but both times I was really uncomfortable.

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  7. @marylou, you’re a riot! And of course, I believe every word you say ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • @fitz…I believe we may have an escapee from the asylum? ROTFLOL!!! MaryLou…my husband wants to know what’s so hilarious. Do I tell?

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      • NovemberBride, my idea of “an escapee from the asylum” is a gal who sees RA in the flesh and doesn’t bonk him.

        sure, you can tell your husband. He will think there are sane women left in the world.

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        • In a certain sense, the guy is lucky he’s still allowed to walk the street. Probably there’s a secret MI-5 group somewhere planning to imprison him for his own protection ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. I would quietly pay his tab and ask the manager/waitress to return the paid bill with my business card upon which I’ve written the following:
    “Just a small thank you for all the joy you’ve given me through your work. Best wishes- ”

    If he looked up when given this I would then raise my cup in a small salute and acknowledge him with a nod. The end.

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    • I’m not sure I would have the nerve to do it, though I think that’s a nice thank you.

      OML ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • It would depend a lot on the situation. When a man does that for a woman, it reads like a come on.

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    • Yeah, ok. I’d have to make myself leave.

      Then again: if I say to myself that I can’t / won’t write a fan letter, why is it different if I see him in person.

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  9. oops I forgot the why….

    We expect so much from him it would be nice to do something for him. It doesn’t interrupt him or his conversation and requires nothing from him as it is likely I would have left before he was finished with his visit. And it would make me feel really really good!

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    • I’m totally in synch with you on the feeling of “wanting to do something for him if I run into him that requires nothing from him.”

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  10. I would likely do a double take, as well. “Oh my goodness, is it really–him?” And then tell myself to remain composed.

    And then try to find a spot where I could discretely observe him.

    As much as I would want to go up to him and tell him how much I admire him, it doesn’t seem to be to be the time or place for that. And I definitely would not ask for an autograph. He’s engrossed in a conversation with someone else and deserves his privacy and peace.

    If he happened to make eye contact with me, I would smile my sweetest, give a little nod of acknowledgment, and return to whatever I was doing and leave him alone. I would be squeeing and thudding inside because I had at last seen him in the flesh, of course, which would be such an absolute treat.

    I do like D’s idea of ordering him a latte and sending it with a note of thanks. That is not obstrusive and it shows appreciation.

    Of course, the kicker would be if, as he is walking out of the cafe he stops at my table and furrowing his brow just a bit, says, “Excuse me, but–aren’t you Lady Writer? The ChaRActers have been telling me all about you . . . we all love Sloth Fiction!” LOL I have to take these occasional trips to Fantasy Land, you understand. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    MaryLou, you are a shameless hussy and I love you for it. ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • I should have added I like D AND Ann Marie’s ideas–don’t think AM’s was there when I posted but heck I don’t know (oh, it has been a really LONG week . . .) because it’s like giving him a little gift in return for all he has given me through his performances, and just being the sweetheart that he is and such a good role model in his compassion and generosity.

      I DO have business cards in my wallet, too. ๐Ÿ˜€

      This reminded me of my close encounter with a beloved movie star from the golden days of Hollywood. Olivia DeHavilland came to my university to speak one evening. Miss D. was Melanie in Gone With the Wind and appeared in many more memorable motion pictures.

      After the event was over, some of us were standing outside the banquet room where her talk was held. As she came out, she turned and those big, beautiful brown eyes looked straight into mine as she smiled that sweet Melanie smile and lifted her hand in greeting.

      I believe I stood there wide-eyed with a big silly grin. I really loved her as that character in GWTW and I was quite star struck at that moment . . .

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      • And she initiated the contact — which means she is presumably willing to accept the response.

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        • Exactly. It is one of those moments which I will always remember. Coming that close to a screen legend, an icon. A heady moment. How WOULD I feel if this should happen with Richard on whom I have this huge crush and for him I have so very much admiration . . .

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    • And you have RL pictures of yourself in some places, so maybe he could recognize you. ๐Ÿ™‚ Though if I were he I might have some questions to ask you about certain scenes in TAC. ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe he’d tell you that he *really* wanted JP to get together with Katie Dartmouth in True. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • ๐Ÿ˜€ Now that would be hilarious, if he recognized me from my photo (hmmm, maybe he is a secret fan of The Greenville Advocate? “I read your stuff all the time, Angie!” ROFL)

        Uhmmmm. Yeah. TAC . . . “Well, Richard, you are just so good at creating all these characters . . . I couldn’t help myself??”
        Sort of hoping, as much fun as that was to write, that he HASN’T read that one. As if he’d have time to read any of it, of course . . .

        As for Truce, “Well, Richard darling, I am the Queen of my Fan Fic Uni, and Layla was my choice for John, so deal with it, love” ๐Ÿ˜€

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  11. Oh Ann Marie! That is so classy! That is what I would HOPE to do in a perfect world, but I don’t have business cards for one thing and for another I don’t think I could have a coherent thought while gaping awestruck at him and trying not to drool!
    I would probably be imagining Marylou’s scenario but more likely I would do something like Novemberbride. Because no matter what I did, I would probably think I should have done something else!
    Why? Who knows? I’m already too confused. This is so far out of my normal life I’d think I was on another planet!

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    • Phylly you are soo cute. I suspect MaryLou wrote our “dream” scenario *wink*

      @Angie..I think it would be sooo wonderful if that were to happen…and so deserved!

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    • Yeah, it’s a crazily hypothetical scenario, I admit.

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      • @Servetus– Not really unlikely at all — for those who live near him! Certainly not crazy at all! It is a lot of fun to imagine these fantasies.
        I have approached a few “fairly famous” persons in the past, so I know I am not shy. But I didn’t interrupt a conversation to do so, it was more like a meet and greet type thing. I did try to imagine once what I would say to RA if I ever had a chance to do so (I think it must have been one of Nat’s posts). I actually thought I would be able to speak to him! But later as I imagined the scene, and what I would say to him. I actually became overcome with tears! (I tend to be very overly emotional at times to my enduring embarrassment.)
        So now I know, I should never try to talk to him, other then a brief “hello” or something inconsequential. It would be far too dangerous for my dignity (not to mention his!) *rueful grin*

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        • Yeah. A woman comes up to you to say “hi” and then bursts into tears? Hard on the ego. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  12. Since he would be in the cafe in the capacity of private individual and was clearly engrossed in private conversation, I would leave him alone. The only way I would approach him would be if he were outside in a public area and appeared receptive, either through eye contact, body language etc.

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    • I think this is the clearest, sanest answer.

      But for myself, I suspect I’d have to run out of the cafรฉ screaming, first.

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  13. @NB, don’t you dare say a word to husband! Why would you wish to announce that we’re all dubious escapees? Which is why we’re on this blog, after all. Contained in a SAFE asylum. More fun than the other sort, I imagine.

    @Marylou, you’re the escape valve: dare to say what we think ๐Ÿ˜€

    @ann marie, your “approach” mightn’t be mine, but I agree with Philly, it expresses all our feelings. It’s also one of those kindness of a stranger to someone things.

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    • Maybe if there were a bookstore immediately next door, one could run out, quickly buy a copy of one’s favorite recent title, and give it to him ๐Ÿ™‚ Or a flower stand …

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  14. First I would come closer pretending to look for the right table, and try to listen to his voice to make sure it’s him (and also to hear “the voice” live and in person!).

    I would try to find a seat in a strategic area with a good view of him without having to look over my shoulder or look like I’m looking. I would have my coffee and whatever else and steal a glance his way every few second, until he left, or until I absolutely, positively, had to be somewhere else.

    As long as he was deep in conversation with someone else I wouldn’t interrupt him. I would probably be too nervous to approach him even if the other person got up to go to the bathroom and he was alone at the table!

    Now, I have no problem approaching him after seeing him in a play and asking for his autograph, or just telling him how much I enjoy his work, or at a movie premiere when he’s there especially to greet fans, or any social type of activity that people are expected to mingle or network…that type of thing. If by some twist of fate he and I were all alone in an elevator, or just happened to be sitting next or near each other in some mode of public transportation, train, etc. and he was clearly alone, I would talk to him then also.

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    • Did I answer why? I don’t think it would be polite to interrupt his conversation and I would be too shy to do so with so many other people around and watching.

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      • I agree with you, Musa.

        Unfortunately, I’d most probably be too shy to talk to him if I see him in an elevator or if we sit near each other in a train. That is why I’d hope to have a braver friend by my side when that happens. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • An elevator sound like a good place, in my case wouldn’t work because while deciding whether to speak to him or not (even only to say ‘Hi! I’m OML and I’d like just to say I admire your work’) the super-short time a ride in elevator gives, wouldn’t be enough to take a deep breath and do it! LOL

        OML ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • The elevator is an interesting problem. I was thinking this again recently while in Boston. In many parts of Germany or where I live in Texas, when I get into an elevator, it’s considered polite to say “hello” as one enters. In Boston I guess they don’t do that. If you were in a “say hello when you enter the elevator” region of the world, that would be the beginning of an opportunity to say something. If you didn’t fall down dead when you saw him, of course.

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        • Ohh that’s true, I guess it’s an european thing. In Spain usually you say hello and good bye when entering and leaving the elevator.

          OML ๐Ÿ™‚

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          • Here in the American South, greeting people coming in and out of doors, while passing them on the street, meeting in elevators, even driving down the road, is commonplace. It’s just considered polite to acknowledge the other person with at least a “hello” and a smile, if not a bit of small talk, too.

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            • I can testify to that!! In fact, you can get into big trouble if you don’t wave to truck X. It “could” be someone you know so you must wave just in case cause if you did know them and didn’t wave…big oops! My kids used to ask who it was that I waved at and I’d tell them I had no idea. “Just smile and wave boys, just smile and wave!!! ”

              Speaking to RA would fall under the same rule. I don’t see treating him any differently than I would anyone else.

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              • Oh, listen, I have had people come up to me and teasingly chastise me because they waved at me as I passed them in my car while out and about and didn’t wave back because I wasn’t paying attention . . . we are VERY in to all that in the South. Not to mention there’s a pretty good chance they are related to us, even if it is fourth half-cousin, twice-removed ๐Ÿ˜‰
                Don’t want to offend one’s kith and in!

                I have been told I have a folksy charm. Might as well unleash it on RA while I am at it ๐Ÿ˜€

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                • Hey babe! We unleash our Southern charm and the man will never know what hit him. Actually, he’d probably run screaming but we’d have a marvelous time anyway. =o)

                  And NO, as the coach’s wife/BOE president’s wife/deacon’s wife and finally, me, the teacher…we do not want to offend by not waving. So we just wave and wave and hope we’re not waving at a serial killer!! LOL!

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                  • NB,

                    Speaking of southern charm and friendliness reminds me of how my mom would meet someone in her later years and invariably she would want to hug them and they always loved it–who wouldn’t enjoy a hug from an adorable little old lady with fluffy white curls, twinkling blue eyes and an incandescent smile? She made people feel good. I don’t know how many people told me after her passing what those smiles and hugs had meant to them.

                    And they came from her heart. She would often say things after meeting someone like, “Well, he seems like a very nice person.”

                    Benny used to joke, “Your mom could meet Charles Manson, and she’d say ‘He seems like such a nice fellow!'” FYI Manson is a notorious criminal who led his followers to murder several people . . . has a swastika carved into his forehead and is one scary dude . . .

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                    • What’s scary is that we’re explaining who Manson is/was!! So..I’m in Hobby Lobby w/my mom in a town 70 miles away from my hometown. Mother is wandering around looking for lord knows what. I look up and see one of my best HS girlfriends!! We yak & yak. I hear someone saying “I knew that was YOU!” and look up to see a man running towards me, arms out w/a huge grin. He grabs me, gives me a bear hug and commences to chatting. All the while, I”m thinking “Who the heck IS this?” Girlfriend didn’t seem to know him or he, her. I’m going crazy trying to figure it out and make small talk at the same time. (Quite a feat let me tell you!) I finally say I’ve gotta run so he says bye and leaves. Girlfriend says, “Who was THAT?” “Don’t have a clue!” She says, “why didn’t you ask him?” I say, “I wasn’t going to embarrass him!” Case closed. We still don’t know who the guy was, but hubs warns me everytime I go into a HL now to stay away from strange men.Besides he could’ve been a cousin to my brother’s wife’s first grade teacher. You just never know!

                      Angie, I have a feeling your mom and I could’ve been best friends!! What a sweetie!

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                    • NB,

                      I was afraid some of the non-Americans and so many younger people here might not know who Manson is . . . but he sure is someone I hope NEVER gets out of prison!!

                      I think you would have liked my mom very much. She had a really gift of hospitality. She’s been gone almost two years now and I still think of her daily and how much I miss her.
                      When I used to walk into Pine Needle and she saw me coming, the way her face light up. “There’s my Angie.” Oh, excuse me while I cry just a little . . .

                      To be loved like that. Pretty wonderful.
                      She loved Christy, too. ๐Ÿ˜€

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            • There’s also a rural / urban split over the elevator question as well.

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  15. You all seem to have all senses wonderfully composed. I would most likely fall over the next available chair and make a lot of mess, so that my preferred scenario of Ann Marie or the more likely by feefa never could happen.
    By the way – I can count on my luck – he is at the other side of the world when I am in London ;o)

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    • @CDoart I am exceptionally cool and calm in stressful situations..I fall apart later so I do think I could do that at the time but be catatonic afterward! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I’m with you CDoart. If this actually happened, I’m not sure my heart would survive it.

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  16. Notice how many of us are forgetting the “why” part of the quiz? Automatic F??! I think we get so caught up in the scenario and the possibilities that it slips our collective minds.

    Why…no way could I interrupt a private situation. Now if I just ran into him, whole different story. No, that’s probably not true. I’d be so flabbergasted, nothing would come out of mouth!!!

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  17. It appears the consensus here so are is we don’t want to be intrusive in what seems to be a private moment for Mr. A.

    While he is in a public place, a cafe, he is also having a private conversation and not out in an “official celebrity capacity,” as it were–a red carpet event, for example.

    Now, as Musa said, if he were appearing in a play and I wanted to wait at the stage door for an autograph, or try for a handshake and/or a chance to snap a photo at a movie premiere or awards show, that would be acceptable in my opinion and not overstepping any boundaries.

    But whatever the situation, I would hope I would behave respectfully and not be a pest or nuisance. That’s not how I was brought up, either.

    (having the seat next to him on a Transatlantic flight and getting the opportunity to chat a bit–especially if he decided to take a nap and I was forced to glimpse him asleep–squee!!! he is so gorgeous when he’s acting asleep, I would like to see the real thing LOL OOOh, and watching him eat . . . *sigh*) ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • that was one of my two RL Armitage fantasies — seated together for eight hours on a flight to London. But I think that would be unbelievably uncomfortable to me. I think in that situation I’d say something about how I loved his work, and then try to find someone to switch seats with.

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      • OH you WOULD NOT??!! Switch seats that is.

        @Marylou, get over here and talk some sense into this woman!! (Course if she takes over, she might end up sharing a seat with him!) ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love ya MaryLou!!!!

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        • Yeah, novemberbride, servetus’ nose is growing very long. Airplane seats used to recline as I remember. Switch seats, my foot! The only seat I be switching into would be his.

          My first trip on a plane was from JFK to Orlando. It was cold in NYC so I wore my fur jacket (really cute) and fur hat and fur boots. I had to pee about half-way through the flight and the stewardess (they were all gorgeous then) pointed the way to the wc. I walked to the back of the plane, saw a sign that said WOMEN (ignored the arrow under the sign). Right beside the sign was something that looked like a crowbar in a cage. I really had to go, so I grabbed the crowbar and gave a big heave to the left (I was a very strong farm-girl). At once sirens started screeming, the lights were blinking and THEN I SAW THE ARROW pointing to the wc. I quickly ran inside, locked the door and peed. When I got out the co-pilot was waiting for me. The next time I rode that sort of plane the sign was on the wc not the back exit.

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          • Great story, marylou! Today the FBI would probably meet you at the gate, or they’d ground the plane ๐Ÿ™‚

            I have thought about this a lot because until about a year and a half ago I was flying back and fourth to Europe at least four times a year, so it was the most likely scenario for me for a random encounter. I think if it were a domestic flight (four hours or less, no eating, probably no sleeping) it would be different. I think it would be extremely uncomfortable to sit next to someone for eight hours (Chicago to Frankfurt, e.g.) whom you knew admired you strongly. I also think that I wouldn’t be able to just be quiet about it. Ideally, I’d be silent the whole trip and then maybe the last hour, as we were crossing Ireland, if he were awake, I’d say, “I know who you are and would love to ask you a few questions if you’re up for it.” (And he would be stupid to answer the questions in any meaningful way, either, once he found out who I am, I think.) But I’m not sure I could manage sitting next to him that long and not saying anything. Presumably nowadays he’s flying first class, though, and that means I won’t meet him in this way because I always fly tourist / economy.

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          • This is a great story, ML. We were on a plane returning to the US from Paris and some guy who was high on something very potent kept going back and forth to the bathroom and making very strange comments to other passengers in between trips. He ended up trying to open an exit door while we were 33,000 feet in the air. The crew wrestled him back to the rear of the plane and stood guard. We had an unsecheduled stop in Bermuda, during which a contingent of police in (what else?) Bermuda short arrived at the plane, came on board and escorted the guy off in handcuffs. They received a hearty round of applause from us. Bermuda is quite nice, from what I saw of it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  18. What a beautiful scenario. Have fantasized similar things myself. Would love talk to him but what would I REALLY do???

    1. Probably have palpitations at the first site of him and blush like crazy!
    2. Try to remain composed enough to find a seat where I can watch him without being too obvious but also at a table he will have to pass if he leaves before me.
    3. Certainly would NOT interrupt him or go over to his table.
    4. Hope however that he makes eye contact so that I could at least smile at him.
    5. Also hope that he does in fact leave before I have to and if he SHOULD make eye contact (if he hasn’t already done so) as he passes my table that I have the courage to say quietly and simply, “Hi!”

    Why?

    1. Because I would not intrude into a private conversation.
    2. I’d be happy just to be in the same place as he is.
    3. I’d really kick myself later if I didn’t take the opportunity to say Hi when I had the chance, as I know I’d never get it again.

    Lots more thoughts but trying to keep it brief!!

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    • I think you parse this especially well, Teuchter. The privacy concern is the paramount one, and there’s a certain reward to just having seen him (this is why people go to red carpet events, presumably). It’s the potential to speak to him that makes it tantalizing to consider suspending one’s normal behavior.

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      • Well thank you Servetus. I only got round to checking today’s emails now and realized that the mere thought of said scenario put me in such a tizz that I spelled “sight” wrong!! Just bumping into him in my local grocery store is another fantasy of mine but being in South Western Canada makes it the most unlikely possibility. Never thought of sitting next to him in a plane!! My fear of flying might be conquered – at least for THAT flight!!

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  19. Oooo a fan ethics quandary! I rather like Ann Marie’s answer ๐Ÿ™‚ I would stay well clear, find a table at the other end of the cafe and try and pretend he was not there. Seriously. That’s what I normally do when my vision has clocked someone famous in a public space. Take a mental note of what I saw, move on and let them be. We humans are pretty socially astute, I’d think someone would eventually notice if another person was often looking over in their direction and talking about them (even when attempting it subtly). I imagine it can be difficult to be a recognised person whilst trying to go about your private business in a public space, so I wouldn’t want to contribute to the sense of unease that voyeuristic glances and whispers could create. I’d feel like I was invading his personal space, even if it were form the other side of the room.

    Ok, that’s my high moral ground answer. Here’s the more adventurous one. If I were in the cafe alone, single, and looking at my best, I’d take a seat in his line of sight without encroaching on his space as per above. You never know your luck! I’ve met some nice fellas in cafes before ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • I agree that he’d notice uncomfortable, furtive glances.

      I like this subtle variation on the “maybe I could come to his attention in some normal way” position ๐Ÿ™‚

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  20. @Angie – I’ve had two scenarios for that transAtlantic flight. And another, for being caught in a street bomb and knocked off the pins. Neither of which I wish to impart – it’s bedtime here. But it’s grist for imagination on the presentation of an imaginary, chance meeting.

    @Musa, I nominate you as the master strategist, based on your comments. If we, as a group went off to London, and had on our varied agendas, the stage door thing, I could be co-opted. Standing at the back of the group. And waiting for the Voice. Stage door has both a highly honourable (as well as less so), tradition. It’s a tribute to the production, and to the actors.

    Big crash of thunder out there. Still major winter here, and probably snow for tomorrow. But I’ve heard thunder in the middle of a snowstorm before. Still, bed is indicated. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • @fitz – LOL
      I’m still hoping he’ll go ahead with “The Rover” during a Hobbit break and will start strategic planning for the group after the performance…or maybe at one of the premieres for The Hobbit. Why not? An opportunity to say Thank You,in a respectful, polite, and loving way of course ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • @Musa,

        I am thinking we might see “The Rover” happen with Richard during his break next year . . . and I would dearly love to be a part of that group or as you say, for the “The Hobbit” premiere. What a treat that would be!! Respectful, polite and loving . . . that’s the way I would want it to be!!:D

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      • Someone got a replay from the theatre company that The Rover won’t happen this year. They still hope to do it next year but who knows? It might be hard to make fixed arrangement for next year, finishing The Hobbit comes first. There is talk of eighteen months (including breaks) in total and they already lost a month thanks to PJ’s illness. And when they are finished there may be the need to re-shot scenes or film additional scenes. Summer 2012 might be a date when The Rover could happen. But until then he may have offers that are more tempting.

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  21. @Angie – I’ve had two scenarios for that transAtlantic flight. And another, for being caught in a street bomb and knocked off the pins. Neither of which I wish to impart – it’s bedtime here. But it’s grist for imagination on the presentation of an imaginary, chance meeting.

    @Musa, I nominate you as the master strategist, based on your comments. If we, as a group went off to London, and had on our varied agendas, the stage door thing, I could be co-opted. Standing at the back of the group. And waiting for the Voice. Stage door has both a highly honourable (as well as less so), tradition. It’s a tribute to the production, and to the actors.

    Big crash of thunder out there. Still major winter here, and probably snow for tomorrow. But I’ve heard thunder in the middle of a snowstorm before. Still, bed is indicated. ๐Ÿ™‚

    One last thought, Angie, as the wind rattles the windows, what if he SNORES!! No big deal. Sorry to interrupt your scenario. ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • @Fitzg,

      As he has certain character traits that remind me of my dear Benny, I have pondered the subject of snoring. Because Benny has his own rather prominent and aquiline nose and oh brother, can he saw the logs some nights!! However, I would rather have him snoring and all than otherwise.
      Apparently, I also snore, so I can’t say a lot. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
      Yes, I would think actors do expect stage door greetings by fans and would be rather disappointed if one one elected to wait there to see them . . .

      Hey, fitzg, would you do me a favor and send me your email addy? Mine is angieDOTlongATcenturytelDOTnet Thanks!!

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      • I would think it would depend on how one felt about one’s performance on that particular night. If you thought you had done well it would be different than if you thought you had done poorly (I imagine). I am always less eager to talk to students after my lecture if I think it hasn’t gone well — I need time to decompress and think about how to do better in the future.

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  22. @aNGIE. Wind blowing down windows. I’d like to talk off-line, so to speak, with you.

    judithmadoreATsympaticoDOTca

    And let the chips fall where they may. With privacy/hackers/public info. I’ve a facebook thing anyway, thanks to son who urged it, to send me photos. So I’m traceable anyway.

    Talk later, offline. Slainte!

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    • Thanks, fitzg. ๐Ÿ˜€ Well, if you Google my name, I will show up on the front page in all likelihood, so I am pretty easy to find myself. My boss actually made us all get facebook and twitter accounts, although I haven’t ever tweeted. I have made contact with old friends I hadn’t seen in 25 years through FB, so it has its positive elements. Just don’t ask me to play Farmerville or whatever it’s called ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • @fitzg. Slainte to you too!! Didn’t realize you were a Gaelic speaker like me *cough* – I wish!! Would love to learn the language but it would have to be “conversational” only. Makes my head spin just looking at how they SPELL words!! So, oidhche mhath, my dear!

      BTW – love reading all these answers!!

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  23. @Teuchter, ๐Ÿ™‚ my Gaeltracht extends to having learnt how to pronounce a few names from Ballykissangel! Niamh=Neve! Have you ever been in Wales? If Scots and Irish are a spelling-to-pronunciation challenge – I think I’ll pass on the Welsh version.Seeing that you have McDonalds in the family tree, I do apologise for Glencoe. Wasn’t there, but.

    @Musa, not a few will fly across to join you at the Rover stage door. Fat chance of Mr. Armitage being on a Canada to Heathrow flight. Can’t have everything.

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  24. Oh what a scenario! First of all I would get palpitations. I would be in total turmoil”Is it him?” “It can’t be him” “Yes it his him” “I am sure it is him” and so on. Then, like feefa, [once I have gathered my wits somewhat] I would try to find a table where he is in my sight line and I could look at him discreetly without being obtrusive. Perhaps, despite myself, I may have been looking rather too closely [I don’t like to think I would have been actively staring] as the gentleman in question is looking my way, perhaps a little quizzically, and smiles. I think he knows I have recognised him. I smile back and that is all I do.

    Why, when a large part of me would love to speak to him and tell him how much I enjoy following his work? He is here in a private capacity for one thing and he is with someone for another. I would feel it was inappropriate of me to intrude upon it. A matter of respect, I suppose.

    Much as I admire Mr Armitage as an actor, I don’t know him, he is not part of my life, despite my fantasies and imagined conversations with him and/or his characters. I doubt whetether I would approach him even if were he alone, as this is his ‘real life.’ However, if I saw him after a play or at any activity where he is present in his “official capacity” as it were, that would be a different thing.

    I would try to remain relatively composed.

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    • I agree that would be the real struggle. I’ve been thinking about this, and it might just be that that would keep me from approaching him. I’d like to think that it would be ethics, as you say, that he’s technically in private even if he’s in public in the scenario I describe, but I think it’s really mainly fear that I’d wet my pants if I approached him that would keep me away.

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  25. I’d never interrupt a private conversation, and of course I would blush like crazy when recognising him. Send a note telling him how much I enjoy his work? Maybe, but I am not sure. I know I would have no problems addressing him at the stage door or an official event. Been there, done it, with Robert Lindsay and several famous singers like Gwyneth Jones and Christa Ludwig (and believe me, Ms. Ludwig is INTIMIDATING!).

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    • the “send him a note” is an interesting question. Is there something that makes sending him a note in this situation different from just sending a note to his agents?

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  26. In this situation, I am sure that my heart was beating wildly and my legs were shaking like a jelly that. But I would try to sit at the table next in order to be able to see him and I looked at him furtively from time to time. And if our eyes met I would have smiled at him. However, if he ended their meeting and that he stood by on the street waiting for a taxi, then (if I had enough courage), I’d walked up to him and thanked for his work, which changed my life. And to him, as a person thanked for restoring, my faith in this world that there are guys such as him.
    And now why:
    He is in a cafe in private, engaged in conversation, although that is an actor and needs (I think) the recognition of the audience, is also “ordinary”man namely Richard Armitage, son, brother, uncle, etc., and has the right to privacy.
    And besides, I’m pretty shy person

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  27. This is my internal monologue: Wow, that guy looks like Richard Armitage. What are the chances? Tall, dark, handsome. Check. Chrinkle. Check. Twinkling blue eyes. Check. Dazzling smile. Check. Friktey, fraktey, f&*k…it is Richard Armitage!!! Don’t squeal. Keep breathing. In and out. In and Out. Knees keep working, oh, please don’t faint. Do I have enough time to go home and get my copy of North & South? Where is my copy of North & South? What else can he autograph? Bank receipt, left breast, napkin…no autographs. Just say, “thank you.” I love your work. You have inspired me to start pursuing my creative passion again after abandoning it for many years. Thank you.

    Go to the bathroom and check lip gloss first, then do the casual walk by. In bathroom, wonder out loud why I wasn’t five inches taller and twenty pounds lighter. Steel those nerves open, the door to discover, he has left. I watch as he walks down the street, get a great view of that fine sweet butt as it walks down the street. As I walk by his table, I pick up his coffee cup, napkin, biscuit crumbs and plate as souvenirs.

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  28. @Rob…LOL..I especially love your last 2 sentences!! Way funny. But I never thought about souvenirs!! Good thinking but why stop there…that tablecloth where he rested his lovely elbows?!! The fokks, spoons, toothpicks. Of course, by that time, the police might be there.

    And I would’ve thought the same thing about why the heck I didn’t stay on that diet seriously longer? I’m sure that if I’d done so, I would look probably 10 yrs…no make that 5..ok 2 yrs younger?

    So you’re saying that if and when a trip is taken to London for whatever reason, one should always have their copy of N&S in purse..just in case?!

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  29. Well I live and work in London but have never run into Mr A although judging by the evidence of Spooks he has clearly been filming quite near where I work (within a couple of miles) but no actual sightings as yet! I suppose if that scenario happened to me I would like to think I would leave him alone. But I would definitely stick around in the cafe for a good ogle. I’m also trying to think what I’ve done when I’ve run into other famous people and the answer has always been to leave them be, usually because it was an inappropriate occasion (eg they were working) or because I wasn’t that bothered. But would it be the same in his case?…difficult to say honestly. Also if other people noticed him, there is a strong likelihood he would be already being bothered by them, and I would not want to add to that.

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    • @kaprekar
      You make a very good point which also concerns me. Would I act with RA the same way as I did with all the other famous people I so far met but did not care the least about? I just let them be and went my way, even when I nearly overran our former German chancellor once and his bodyguards went crazy. But why does he have to linger behind a corner, when I am in a hurry?

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      • There’s also the surprise factor. A few years ago when I was a fellow of the Humboldtstiftung I was invited to SchloรŸ Bellevue and got to meet Horst Kรถhler. I had weeks to think about how to behave and shook his hand and thanked him for the opportunity to work in Germany. In the summer of 2000, though, I was walking through the Scheunenviertel in Berlin and literally ran into Joschka Fischer with his then-wife, Nicola Leske. I had just enough time to say “Verzeihung” and we all three looked at each other in a bit of confusion. Not that I’m remotely attracted to Joschka Fischer, but my point is basically that there was no time to think. I think that aspect of the scenario is important; do you have an opportunity to stop and think or are you going with whatever reaction you happen to have that second?

        And yes: even ordinary mortals have a right to take up their fair share of public space ๐Ÿ™‚

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        • @servetus
          Thank you for reassuring me about having space as well!
          In this certain situation I had the distinct impression, the chancellor wanted something from me, not the other way around. I seemed to disappoint him, as the chancellor clearly saw that I recognized him and started a benign smile, but I just walked around him, as he was standing in my way, and left, though the bodyguards started to jump belatedly, as if to hold me back, now that all was over (a really funny sight ;o).
          With the other dignitaries, I think being in a group and there being in a role as sensible and good example keeps misbehaviour in check and also that I never have been a fan before RA.

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          • You don’t say which chancellor it was ๐Ÿ™‚ I always thought Kรถhler seemed a bit umcomfortable with all the hullaballoo around him while Schrรถder seemed to enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚

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            • You found me out anyway ;o)
              You also characterise him quite well. He was in Munich for a visit, standing at the corner of the Rathaus at the Marienplatz. (To my surprise he is not much bigger than I am, and I am not really big.) He expected me to be grateful that he stood in my way, instead of being polite and stepping aside. I just said “Entschuldigung”, as I had nearly rammed him and walked round him. The funny part with his bodyguards was, that they did not try to catch me, when I nearly rammed their charge, but when I tried to leave him in peace ;o)
              I remember glowering very angrily at them like “Do not dare to touch me” and they left me in peace. I do not know what they must have thought about me ;o)))

              But I did not mention this, because I wanted to make myself important, but because it was the situation, when I learned, that famous people also expect their due devotion from their ‘subjects’.
              This is not to say, that I think RA does that, on the contrary. He is so relaxingly un-pretentious in his behaviour, that I really admire him for that.

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    • I’ve encounter ‘famous’ people before too and I have left them alone but the difference I think, is I don’t like/admire/am a fan of them. So the *’oh is this person, cool’ and leave* reaction whether you want it or not will be different and then decide your course of action.

      Oh well, not need to worry much, there’s no way this hypothetical scenario will happen, at least with my luck ๐Ÿ˜›

      OML ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • Hello OML, we can join forces with our luck. When I am in London, he is not just at the other end of town, but at the other end of the world ;o)

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  30. Wow, you guys! It’s true that I usually give only 50% credit to people who answer only half the question, but from time to time I give everyone in the class 100% if a certain percentage of the class members speak during the ensuing discussion. This may be one of those occasions … ๐Ÿ™‚

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  31. I’ll answer before reading comments to try to make it as sincere and spontaneous as my imagination lets me.
    I think I would stand there dumbstruck (luckily he is indeed very involved in his conversation), then I’ll sit somewhere where I could be see him but no close, otherwise he’ll notice I’ll be looking at him at times. *If* his companion leaves for the bathroom or just leaves but he stays, I’ll try to gather strength and approach him to tell him I admire him and thank him for doing such a great job and then leave him alone.
    Why? Because I wouldn’t interrupt anyone while in a conversation, especially not someone I “don’t know”. I’m not sure how I feel or if I would be brave enough to approach him while he’s leaving the cafe…I think I’d have to be there to decide.

    OML ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I specifically made the interlocutor someone the person answering the question doesn’t recognize because no matter who you put in that situation, you’re influencing the answer. Is the interlocutor a man or a woman, for instance, or what if it’s (say) Rupert Penry-Jones? If the interlocutor is someone you don’t recognize, the conversation somehow seems more private, I think.

      Obviously there were plenty of problems with this scenario, most specifically, its distance from anything likely to happen to any of us in real life … ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • By saying ‘a person I don’t know’ I meant RA. How could I interrupt someone I don’t know, I might do it with a friend I don’t see for a long time but not someone that doesn’t know me.

        Something I’ve been thinking is to leave the man alone is the best and most educated option but deep inside can’t help but feel, if any of us ever happens to encounter him- something so highly unlikely- why waste the opportunity, not to throw ourselves to his neck but at least to say ‘hi! I love your work :), good bye’. It’s a chance one in a million, of course I maintain the ‘not interrupt’ approach but if given the opportunity say something.
        I guess to him is more probable to find a fan (in Europe or America) to make it a ‘usual success’ than to any of us with our individual probability to happen and it plays into the equation.

        OML ๐Ÿ™‚

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        • Aha. OK. I wonder how many fans could define Mr. Armitage as someone they don’t know. Seems like it’s part of the dilemma.

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  32. This is what I think I’d do:

    When I noticed him, I’d grin, because there’s no way I’d be able to stop myself. Seriously, when my friends just say the words “Richard Armitage” I get a huge smile on my face (yes, it’s become that intense in the meantime). If we made eye contact at that point, I’d keep grinning. My heart would start pounding and my limbs would begin to twitch. If there were a lot of other people in the cafรฉ, I’d probably stay and order something, pull out the notebook that’s always in my bag, and start journaling about it immediately so as to keep my head down. If there weren’t many people there, I’d leave, because I think it would be the best way to stop myself from being tempted to behave either embarrassingly or badly, in ways I would regret later.

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    • @servetus, curious, could the decision to begin journaling be interpreted as a decisive action that breaks contact with Mr. Armitage and allows you to retreat back into your self?

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      • Absolutely. It’s probably no surprise to you since you’ve been reading this blog forever that I’m still unbelievably conflicted about being in any relation to Mr. Armitage.

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    • @Servetus. You have no idea what a relief it is to read that there is someone else who has the very same reaction as I when his name in mentioned! ๐Ÿ˜€ For some reason I can’t help myself. Sometimes I even blush too and I thought at my age I would be past that!!

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      • Teutcher,

        My husband teases me about a certain look I get on my face from time to time, suggesting I must be thinking of (he bats his eyes and gives a huge sigh) Richard . . . .

        Actually, he’s pretty much right *looks sheepish*

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        • I think it went without saying Angie that YOU were similarly affected!! I can just see you now!! I think that is why my family and friends tease me about him as they love to see how I react!!

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          • He has always enjoyed getting a rise out of me, that husband of mine. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And honestly, I try not to be so obvious with it. I don’t go around the house saying, “OMG, Richard Armitage is so dreamy and hot and gorgeous . . .” LOL

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            • That husband of your is obviously one sweet guy! No wonder you call him your own personal “Harry”!! After lunch with one of my grandsons recently he went home and said to his Mom, “Guess who WE talked about?”!! I teased him later by saying I might have to cut him out of my Will for ratting me out!! I really will have to keep at least some of my thoughts to myself in future. They are obviously getting me into trouble!!

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              • He is very much a dear, Teutcher. I do my best to remind him every single day how much I like him as well as love him EVEN MORE than I crush on RA ๐Ÿ˜€

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  33. I would never address him in a cafe or in the street no matter if he seems busy or not. Not just out of shyness or politeness but I think nothing could be gained. Stagedoor would be okay, I suppose, it is a kind of controlled environment, but again I feel that I could gain nothing by talking to him or getting an autograph. I could never make a connection and I am not interested in a fan/actor interaction. Though I would certainly look.

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    • I think that’s the underlying structural issue, Jane: there’s no chance that anything would happen in this scenario that could remotely correspond with one’s fantasies. As several commentators note, what would I do with an autograph? (except, I suppose, as a memento of a very strange but pleasurable for oneself sort of concidence). I think everyone who pauses to think about it recognizes that — again, that anything that happens is all about oneself and not about real contact with Richard Armitage. Even the answers that involve sending over a drink or paying a tab are as much or as more about the commentor as they are about Armitage. The question for me is whether one would recognize that immediately or not …

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      • @servetus,

        so what do those responses by the commentators say about the commentator? My response would have been very different if it was another celebrity. I do like to let people I care about know, in whatever way I can, that I appreciate them.

        Your comment intrigues me….

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        • I realize that I broke my own rule there, but since I did, this is what I think, and I hope I don’t hurt any feelings. If I do I will retract all of it in a main post. I realize this is bound to be controversial ๐Ÿ˜ฆ and I beg people to disagree with me kindly.
          I should also say that in these remarks that I am distinguishing between โ€œin relation toโ€ and โ€œin relationship with.โ€ โ€œIn relation toโ€ refers solely to the quality of how anyone perceives the nature of the distance between herself and Armitage (a โ€œrelationโ€ is the connection or distance between two separate objects). I see myself, Servetus, as standing in relation to Mr. Armitage, but not โ€œin relationship withโ€ him, since he doesnโ€™t know I exist.
          In this scenario, Richard Armitage does not become aware of the fan until the fan makes him aware of her. (I stated that Armitage is absolutely engrossed in the conversation — i.e., not staring into space or sitting by himself or in a conversation that he’s not paying much attention to, or whatever. He is clearly within the private sphere, just in a place where we can observe him but he is not paying attention to us.) That means that essentially he loses nothing and is not negatively impacted at all as long as the fan is silent. His wellbeing cannot be improved by the decision of the fan to say anything OR nothing, since he knows nothing about this decision. Let’s say he notices out of the corner of his eye for some reason that there’s a fan there who’s deciding to be silent: in that case, if he approves, his wellbeing could be improved, but the assumption is that what he doesn’t / can’t know in this scenario doesn’t affect him either way. He may stand to gain if the fan decides to act (warm fuzzies, or a free lunch, or whatever), but as long as he is so engrossed in his conversation so as to be unaware of the fan, in this scenario he cannot be positively or negatively impacted by the fan because he doesn’t know the fan is there or making any decisions. Armitage is not in relationship with, nor is he, except unconsciously, in relation to, the fan.

          My surmise is that those who choose the response of simply not acting in any way that attracts Armitage’s notice (not approaching, not smiling, not sending him a drink, quietly leaving the cafe) may be concluding that the priority lies in keeping the status quo, i.e., in remaining in relation to. More specifically, this means not causing a negative impact (loss of privacy, embarrassment, etc.), perhaps based on the conclusion that the potential for any negative impact at all outweighs the potential for causing a positive one. One could read it as a notion of manners that prioritizes an assessment (from which all others proceed)that despite one’s awareness of being in relation to Armitage, one is not really in relationship with Armitage in any meaningful way so as to impact him positively. One could also read this as a weighing of preventing potential risks to Armitage’s wellbeing (not causing him embarrassment or irritation) as more important than causing him a benefit (good feeling that heโ€™s pleased a fan or been successful in a role) or than preventing risks to one’s own (not being able to express thanks or indeed any positive emotion to Armitage, no matter how positively it might impact him). It is a way of being polite that puts the self at absolute second to Armitage at all times, saying that even a risk of causing harm, no matter how minimal, is not worth a risk of causing a benefit.

          If the question for the fan is: do I take the risk of putting him in a situation to lose something / be negatively impacted if I approach him, even if all I want to do is express my appreciation?, everyone is going to assess the risks of a negative outcome for Richard Armitage differently based on her own personality, history, etc., but Iโ€™m guessing that the fan who makes the decision to approach him somehow (let’s take the drink option or the note option) is dealing with the following things:

          (a) feeling herself in relation to Richard Armitage (whatever that relation is) in such a way that the possibility of positive impact option comes to outweigh the negative one in oneโ€™s mind (a sort of ethical optimism, letโ€™s say, about the relationship). I think that there could be different reasons for this stance โ€“ it might be the result of a general optimism about how people respond to gratitude (โ€œeveryone likes to be appreciated for their hard workโ€), or it could result from specific awareness of the object of gratitude (โ€œArmitage seems like the kind of person who appreciates his fansโ€) or even from the intensity of the relation one feels oneself to be in to Richard Armitage (โ€œI need to let him know how thankful I am for his the opportunity to appreciate his workโ€) or from other sources. The ultimate affect of this ethical optimism is beginning to see oneself in relationship with or at least experiencing some sort of dilemma about how one stands in relation to Richard Armitage. Iโ€™m not criticizing this stance or the dilemma that one feels that causes the question: Iโ€™m just saying that it is a different stance than the earlier one.
          (b) experiencing something in response to Richard Armitage that causes her to feel gratitude in such a way that it becomes difficult to extract him from the rules one develops while growing up either from an abstract empathy towards other humans or oneโ€™s general personal standards about the demonstration of gratitude (i.e., if I need to thank someone for something, it is not only polite, kind, ethical, but also potentially necessary, that I do so, if given the opportunity — of course in a way that requires nothing from the recipient of the thanks).
          (c) a struggle to deal with the potential negative outcome (the possibility that alerting Armitage to oneโ€™s presence could negatively impact his wellbeing by interrupting his conversation or simply by making him conscious of no longer being in a private sphere as he thought he was) that leads to a simultaneous advance (the thing one is doing) and retreat (trying not to call attention to oneself by acting).
          So I guess what I am trying to say is that the people who choose the subtle approach are struggling a bit more consciously with balancing various issues than the people who choose to pretend heโ€™s not there.
          And of course, this account is likely incomplete and I am often wrong, so please weigh in, gang.

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          • @servetus, I was starting to wonder if I should count the number of times you used the word (or a variation of) negative in this post.

            I don’t think I am struggling with balancing various issues any more than the people who choose not to take action or cannot take action. The action I described does not become known to him until he prepares to leave and finds the check (and tip) taken care of. I tend not to hang around when I’ve done this (yes, I’ve done this before for non-celebrities) for soldiers, senior citizens. I consider it a gesture of appreciation and does not intrude on him during his time at the cafe, his conversation or anything else.

            I do not believe that I have a “relationship to” or “with” Mr. Armitage and I don’t understand the need for psychoanalysis here. Why can’t people do nice things for other people without there being a need to be “balancing various issues?” I’ve paid the $4.oo bridge toll for the person behind me on occasion, my sole motivation being that I wanted to insure one bright spot in their day- that was my contribution to improving my little corner of the world at that moment.

            As for who I would tell, either my husband or by bff would probably be with me and which one wasn’t there would be told. No I wouldn’t put it out in the fandom only so his ability to visit that establishment again wouldn’t be compromised (by me at least).

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            • We do what we can to make others day better.

              This afternoon I was in great pain (my Even Worse Knee) as I made my way through Walmart, but it was such a beautiful spring-like day and I was wearing one of my favorite “happy” blouses (do you have clothes that make you smile?)and found myself smiling at everyone. And getting lots of smiles back. And when I found out one of the check-out girls was wearing the huge flower-bedecked hat with dollar bills clipped onto it to raise funds for Relay For Life for the American Cancer Society, of course I added to her collection. A good cause and I got a good smile in return.

              Little things can mean a lot sometimes.

              Whilst I would not want to bother RA in any way or intrude, I don’t think giving him a smile or paying his bill would be interpreted as such. Just my take on it. Keep up the good work of paying it forward, Ann Marie. Makes the world a nicer place to be.

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            • It’s so sweet that you pay other people’s tolls, Ann Marie!

              While I do make statements about my frame of mind on this blog, this particular statement should not be understood as psychoanalysis. I’m not rooting anyone’s choices about their behavior in their psychological state, nor trying to come up with a longterm etiology, nor saying why anyone is in either group. What I write is a listing of the ranking of particular concerns I suspect anyone might have when deciding and a comparison between prioritizations as they relate to different decisions. I apologize if the vocabulary (issues, relationship) is too shrinky.

              The question offers the reader an ethical dilemma, and that means assessing potential outcomes, and the easiest way to do it is to point out that, oversimplifying, of course, any outcome for both the fan and Mr. Armitage has three possible valences to the participants: negative, neutral, positive. (It could also be ambivalent, for example, but that doesn’t change the starting scenario: that as long as he doesn’t know about what’s going on around him he’s not really negatively impacted.) These have to be discussed because of conflicts between a utilitarian ethics vs a deontological one. I’m discarding the latter framework (that there is a definite rule that applies to this situation that can be known and is universally applicable — formulated abstractly, let’s say, that we should always thank people who’ve been so inspiring to us when see them, while following the rules of discretion; or, in contrast, that we should NEVER acknowledge celebrities when we see them in casual public situations) in favor of the former (that ethical behavior depends on the outcome that guarantees the best valence to the most people involved, i.e., we should only thank them if the circumstances under which we thank seem gauged to produce the best outcome for all concerned). I’m pretty sure that as soon as anyone develops scruples over whether or not to approach Mr. Armitage, she’s moved out of the deontological camp into the utilitarian one. Once we do that, decision making gets a lot harder because we have to incorporate calculations of a lot of uncertain or indeterminate factors and people are going to prioritize them in different ways. And I do think we can identify what kinds of particular considerations become paramount to people in each group — I may be wrong about what they are, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.

              Now: there are certain things about your answer that imply you could be a deontologist. Even so, as much as it cheers me that you and other people do it, I have to disagree that paying someone’s toll is the same dilemma. In particular, you have no idea whose toll you are paying. It could be someone you hate, for example — and on both a Christian and Jewish scale it’s a bigger act of charity than acting kindly on behalf of someone for whom you feel positively. Additionally, it’s hard to see what the negative consequence of that would be to the beneficiary — that someone would be embarrassed or annoyed that you had paid a toll for him seems unlikely. In particular, you are not penetrating that person’s private sphere in any meaningful way — one might conclude that paying someone else’s toll is a particularly kind way to hold the door open for him. (I doubt there would be much debate if the dilemma involved encountering Mr. Armitage at the door of a building and wondering whether one should hold the door for him.) At worst it would be neutral — the person wouldn’t care — but in any outcome you are not changing your relation to the beneficiary even for the duration of a glance. The person doesn’t know who paid the toll, and is under no obligation to feel anything. I think it’s a bit different when the benefited person is confronted with the thanker, insofar as the deed has a greater potential to produce obligation (and hence negative feelings if one’s uncomfortable with the obligation). And in this particular case, I do think that we necessarily stand in relation to Mr. Armitage insofar as we know some things about him that imply that fan contact occasionally overwhelms him. It would be hard for anyone following a utilitarian (one might say consequentialist) ethics not to factor that information in when making a decision in this situation. If we knew, for instance, that he really loved to talk to fans on the street I would potentially be more comfortable approaching him, or if we knew that he absolutely hated it, I would certainly decide not to do so. Paying a toll is a sign of solidarity (hey, we’re all in the world together and I was feeling my connection to the world today and you benefited. Have a nice day, and remember that G-d loves you!). I don’t think that that’s the case in this dilemma — or if it were, we would more often seek out random people whose restaurant tabs we would pay. Maybe I’ve got you wrong and you also pick up the tabs of people you don’t know in restaurants; if so, that of course makes me love you even more ๐Ÿ™‚

              I think the potential negative outcome is that paying the bill is a reminder to him that he’s not really in private, so if I were worried that that reminder could disturb him I might not do it. But no matter what I do it certainly implies things about me that I do it.

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              • @servetus, I debated whether to respond to your comment above but in for a penny in for a pound.

                I think you missed the boat with the deontological and utilitarianism references. It is simply that I have a belief system that requires faith along with good works. I am very fortunate that it doesn’t have fine print that says, “Except if you know who the person is.” (And before you over-analyze that statement, not know in the biblical sense or know personally).

                You missed a key point in my scenario, I would most like not be there when he found out as I expect he wouldn’t ask for his check until he was ready to leave. So I don’t anticipate he would be “confronted with his thanker”. Having done this for strangers several times I can pull it off with a great deal of discretion.

                As much of what we think we know about him is just that what we THINK we know. He might be touched by a humble gesture or pleased that he is appreciated in a less than rabid way. And for what its worth, I would do the same for Colin Firth.

                Now, a great deal of time can be spent analyzing things to death and maybe that’s preferable to having to go out and live. You have a great intellect servetus try not to let it get in your way.

                BTW, on 2 occasions I did not know the person behind me in the toll but it turned out they knew me as they thanked me later. Anonymous is as anonymous does.

                I hope you have a good week.

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          • I think our individual reactions might also have to do with our individual and unique personalities. I know people who would not think twice about barging in on a conversation, and do it in a funny and charming way that works for them. On the other hand, if you’re more reserved and shy, that’s not going to work for you.

            Does this mean it’s more about us than about RA? Yes, of course. We don’t really know how he would react, though I have faith he would be polite. Will the encounter be a lasting memory for him?Probably not at all, but it would be a lasting memory for me, and that’s important-LOL

            I think at this stage in his career in the UK he’s probably aware of being recognized as he goes about his private life, whether people come up to talk to him or not once they do ๐Ÿ™‚

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            • Musa,

              Surely having acted in two high-profile series in the UK (Spooks and RH) plus Strike Back, the man is very familiar with being recognized and in some way acknowledged by people.

              Not by screaming fans chasing him down, of course, but by smiles, waves, people asking for an autograph or a photo together . . . at times I am sure it’s a little awkward, but it is also something that a celebrity surely has to learn to deal with, even if they are the shy and retiring type like RA.

              Heck, little old me who is merely a big fish in a tiny pond sometimes gets shout-outs when I am at Walmart or sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office . . . people who want to express their appreciation for my overall body of work or to thank me for a particular article or column. And I am pleased and flattered. As long as they don’t stalk me, it’s all OK ๐Ÿ˜‰

              And I agree. We are all individuals, with our own personalities and comfort levels and defined boundaries, and what one of us would do or say might differ greatly from what another would—but that doesn’t necessarily mean one approach is right and another is wrong.

              I don’t think we should sit in judgment of another fan if their approach is not like ours, as long as it is reasonable in nature.

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            • Yes, certainly, our decisions have to do with our own personalities. I think this is what makes it hard: once we abandon the notion that there is a single correct way to behave in this instance, then all these confusing factors come rushing in.

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  34. A sultry afternoon in Greenwich, south-east London and I’m gasping for a cup of tea. I enter a cafรฉ and take a seat. Looking around for a waiter, I see a handsome, tall, dark-haired man deep in conversation with another person. Oh my God, fantasy come true, Richard Armitage! No, of course not, it can’t be.

    As I sneak another glance towards their table, a woman approaches their table and sits down. It’s my friend, Marina, who’s moved to East Dulwich after her divorce. She catches my eye and waves me over frantically.

    “What serendipity, Milly!” she crows as I fumble my way into a seat at their table. “Meet Rich, a neighbour, and his agent.”
    “Rich is on the look-out for someone who can teach him Norwegian for a role in the re-make of The Heroes of Telemark and Marina’s just recommended you. As you’re a teacher, you’d be perfect,” asserts the agent.

    I am discomboculated as I meet the gaze of amused azure eyes.
    “I’d make it worth your while,” a dark husky voice purrs. “I consider myself a fast learner, but this will take some time. I’m playing a Norwegian and I’d like it to be authentic. I hope you’ll consider the job. It might be more convenient if you could come to my place in East Dulwich.”

    Readers, I came! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • Ah, MillyMe, wouldn’t it be nice if that were to happen . . . of course, your American friend Lady Writer would find it necessary to pop over and pay a visit while you were on the job . . . ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • I bet you did, MillyMe. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  35. Love it, Milly! telemark, forsooth!

    Another question arises from this discussion. What would you do after a chance or whatever meeting, or not meeting, with Mr. A. Would you report on a blog? Does it depend on the circumstances of encounter? If you spotted him on the street or in a cafe, would you be selfishly witholding info from your RA fan community if you said nothing?

    Just RAndom thoughts.

    In the past year, I read the account of one fan, beside whom the gentleman purportedly sat during one of the Open House Dibley shoots. Rightly or wrongly, I had some doubt concerning the veracity of the report. Was it made up of whole cloth? Or not.

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    • I have daydreamed encountering him and making him the nicest person of the world in my fantasy, he would be receptive and not mind talking a bit so I always thought I would ask him if he minded me posting it on a forum or a blog…if he said no, then whatever he said will go with me to the grave. If it is a sightseeing I think I would report it, IMO there’s nothing wrong with saying ‘I saw this person around this place!’.

      OML ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • As I’m not exactly active in the RA fandom, I wouldn’t post my sighting of him on any of the forums. I would mention it to my friends and on my LJ, which is Friends Locked anyway, and perhaps some of the blogs I read and comment; which is basically only this one.

      So whether it was a mere sighting or even a real chance meeting where words were exchanged, the vast majority of his fans wouldn’t know it. At least not from me.

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      • I actually wonder if it doesn’t happen a fair amount that he meets a fan who admits it to him and maybe even asks for a picture but never says anything. His fans seem like a fairly circumspect group.

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        • Whereas, say, a Justin Beiber fan would be all over Twitter and Facebook and what have you, “OMG Becky I just meet Justin and he is SOOOOOOOOOOOO cute OMG OMG”
          Hopefully, we are a little more mature . . . maybe?? ๐Ÿ˜€

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        • My guess is that it depends on how active one is in a fandom. If you’re the kind of person who is quite active, you’d be more inclined to share this info.

          And major difference: his fandom doesn’t consist of the average teen audience a la Bieber. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • I imagine most people would tell their friends ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Interesting, fitzg. This was the issue that caused so much flak for Frenz a few weeks ago.

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  36. It would totally depend on whether or not I’m wearing my glasses. Without them, I’m pretty clueless who is around me as I usually don’t pay that much attention, so I don’t think I’d even spot him initially. I’m more likely to scan the place for any available seats than the people present.

    When I do, there will be some internal excitement. “OMG! It’s Richard Armitage! Squee!” Find some seat where I can sneak a peek from time to time, but mostly leave him be. It would make my day if once in a while I could hear his voice floating by. Once the initial excitement wears off, I go back to being more bemused about it all. Same as when I spotted Stephen Fry a long time ago by the till in a bookstore and stood behind him.

    While I may know his name and face, he’s still a total stranger to me and this is his personal time.

    And as to why, I was raised to be polite. But I’m also rather reserved and much rather observe, so when I would end into such a situation I wouldn’t know what to do and just precede as normally as possible.

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  37. I’m closing comments on this post for now. I unthinkingly said something that made someone whose opinion I care about very angry, and in an attempt to explain my position I only made it worse in such a way that it was impossible to fix and generated a comment that’s left me reeling. I’ll obviously think more about this, but I want to apologize to Ann Marie and to the rest of you. — Servetus

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  38. […] And, for the sake of honesty — here’s the post I most regret. […]

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  39. […] post I regret writing is this one. I didn’t think it through; I was too lost in my abstract mind when I started responding to […]

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