Sighting a Celebrity While Waiting in the Snack Line on a Northeast-Bound Amtrak Train

(Based Loosely on an Actual Event)

WOMAN WORKING THE CAFÉ CAR COUNTER: I’m almost out of Diet Pepsi, again. These idiots won’t ever learn how to stock this thing properly. “Here you go, sir.” This guy looks familiar, but I can’t place him. Maybe it’s just that he reminds me of one of those creepy neighbors who lived next door to that seedy apartment I had back in Cleveland. What was that, fifteen years ago? Shit.

BLOND MAN: Kathy is so not going to believe me. I hope I haven’t been staring too obviously. Maybe he hasn’t noticed. I mean, not that he probably cares, he’s talking to his kid, getting drinks for the two of them and everything. But I just wouldn’t want him to look right at me and catch me staring. Oh—he’s done, going back now. It’s my turn. Smile, act normal. “I’d like an Amstel Light and a bag of smoked almonds, please.”

CHUBBY BOY WITH GLASSES: That kid’s dad is with him. Why did Dad make me come down here all by myself? He’s the one who wants a sandwich, potato chips and a soda. All I’m getting is a measly candy bar. Dad sucks. I should spend all the money he gave me on candy bars and eat them on the way back to my seat.

WOMAN IN BLUE SWEATER: (into cell phone) “We’re in New Jersey, I think. I don’t know…I should be home by 8…(loud sigh)…Just go without me then.” God, how I wish he would just end this relationship so I wouldn’t have to. Hey, isn’t that what’s his name…yeah, it’s got to be him. No one else looks like that.

ANGRY TEENAGE GIRL: Why is this line going so slow? I have to pee so fucking bad, but if I get out of line now I’ll have to wait all over again. Hurry up! God! Okay, now there’s just three people in front of me. Come on, come on, come on…

GUY IN FRONT OF ME (GIFOM): Here he comes. I saw him up there, and I knew it was him. I wonder if anyone else recognized him. Why is he taking a train, though, I wonder? There he goes. Wow—my face was just inches away from a movie actor’s face.

ME: Steve Buscemi. On a train. That’s weird. And he’s wearing a Human Rights Campaign baseball cap. Cool. I wonder if that’s his son with him.

BLOND GUY (almonds and beer in hand): Maybe I could have just said “Hey Mr. Pink” and he would have appreciated it, maybe even laughed. Better than saying something in that Fargo accent—I bet he hates it when people do that.

GIFOM (addressing CURLY-HAIRED WOMAN [C H W], who’s sitting at one of the tables that line the café car): “That was Steve Buscemi, you know.”

C H W (nodding and looking insanely excited): “I thought that was him when we first got on the train, and I pointed him out to my husband. ‘No, no, I’m sure that’s not him’ he said. Idiot.”

GIFOM: “I wonder why he would take a train instead of a plane. It’s not like he can’t afford it.”

C H W: “Yeah. Yeah, really. (short pause) Maybe he’s afraid to fly. A lot of celebrities are.”

GIFOM: “Or maybe he just wanted his son to see what it’s like to ride the train. Who knows.”

(long pause)

GIFOM: “Of course, it takes almost as long to fly down to D.C. from New York as it does to take the train, once you add in the time it takes to get to and from the airports and everything.”

C-H W: “Yeah. That’s a good point.”