I was recently working out at a gym location I’d never been to before. After pounding away on the elliptical I climbed off to seek out the stretch area. While scanning the room, my sights fell on a fellow two machines down from me: Richard Baluyut, founding member of one of my favorite bands, Versus. There he was in all his indie-rock glory sweating away as I just had been. I almost peed my pants with fan-geek glee. I wished with all my might that he would stop by the stretch area after his sweat sesh, but alas, he did not. I hope he stretched later because he will be sore if he didn’t! Anyway, it got me thinking; how do you smoothly introduce yourself to someone you idolize to give them a compliment without being annoying to them or embarrassing to yourself?
It’s not as if Richard is such a mega rock star who gets tons of radio play that everyone would recognize him, but to me he’s a huge deal and I really enjoy and respect his music, and believe him to be a consummate stage performer. How does one convey that sentiment without making a person uncomfortable? Even in daily interactions with people we know, some are just not good at accepting complements. I wouldn’t want to do anything that would make him feel like he couldn’t even enjoy a quiet workout in peace. I know I get annoyed if there are people grunting on every rep or talking on their cell phones in the gym. And I certainly wouldn’t like it if strangers came up to me or I thought there were people staring at me.
It reminded me of another celebrity spotting I had where I couldn’t get it together to say hello. I was at a bar/restaurant around the corner from where comedian Ron White had just performed. He stayed most of the evening across the room from me but I didn’t even turn around to fully look at him for fear of doing something dorky.
I guess the only thing I can do is to keep working out in that gym, hope I run into him in a normal and totally casual way without committing any social faux pas, and in the meantime, fantasize about us becoming bro’s and hanging out at each others’ respective pads and jamming out together.