15 Seconds of Fame

Our last morning in Paris, I discovered an error on the bill from the previous night’s dinner splurge at Les Ambassadeurs. So we took the Metro to the Hotel de Crillon on the Place de la Concorde. Walked up the subway steps to the street. In front of the entrance to the hotel was a crowd of people. A metal barricade stretched from the revolving door of the hotel to the street where a black limo was parked. Red carpet on the ground from hotel door to car door.

“What’s going on?” I asked the teenager standing next to me.

“It’s Madonna! She’s about to leave!”

Excitedly, I looked at Ridge. “Madonna!”

He said, “Do you want to stay?”

I thought, “Hmmm, Madonna or last day in Paris? Madonna or last day in Paris?” No choice really, “I don’t want to wait around. Let’s fix the error on our dinner bill and go.”

But how to get around the barricade and into the hotel? We watched someone walk through an opening near the building, up the three steps to the landing, and push through the revolving door. “Let’s go,” Ridge said.

Walking into the hotel behind Ridge, switching sunglasses for eyeglasses, I tried to scan the lobby for a glimpse of an entourage and perhaps . . . Madonna. The reception area for the restaurant was at one side of the hotel lobby and up several steps. We met with the maitre’d who apologized and left to fix the bill. We sat down on the sofa and continued watching the people in the lobby. When the maitre’d returned and our transaction was completed, I asked him, “So why are all of the people waiting outside?”

He leaned in closer and whispered, “It’s Madonna. She’s about to leave.”

Another moment of giddiness, “Madonna!”

Ridge again offered me the choice, “We can stay!?”

Madonna or last day in Paris? “I don’t want to wait around. Let’s go.” Leading the way to the exit, switching back to sunglasses, still scanning for HER. No luck.

I pushed through the revolving door, and . . . screams and flashes and more screams and more flashes. I froze. Was SHE behind me? Turned around . . . and saw Ridge . . . who turned around and saw . . . no one. He looked back at me. And I looked back at the crowd. Embarrassed and staring at the ground, I quickly walked the red carpet as the screams faded and the flashes stopped.

Away from the crowd, Ridge and I looked at each other and laughed. “They thought you were Madonna!” he said.

“Yes, but just for a moment. I was in such a hurry to get out of there, that I couldn’t think. Should have danced down the red carpet singing ‘Like A Virgin’.”

I was Madonna, for 15 seconds.