Today we lost another legend. In a year where we've lost David Bowie, Prince, Glenn Frey and George Michael amongst other notables, 2016 decided to send Carrie Fisher to the afterworld on its last Tuesday in December.
While I was sad about the losses of so many others, none touched me in a personal way as this one did. If you haven't heard me tell the story in person or read the story elsewhere, and even if you have, here it is again in all of its glory...
I met Carrie on Saturday, August 25, 2012 at Celebration in Orlando, Florida. It was the weekend after my 45th birthday and my meeting with her was a surprise birthday present from my then partner (now husband), Lou. Lou had secretly contacted my friend, Marjorie, and arranged for her to deliver this birthday surprise on the first day of the convention, which happened to also be my birthday. The special package, delivered by an equally special friend, contained a pass to get Carrie's autograph and a voucher to have a photo taken with her. As if I didn't already have a thing for her, I certainly was about to!
Anyhow, I had a fast pass and managed to bypass the long queue to get the autograph. In typical fashion, her sarcastic wit greeted each fan ahead of me. What do you say to someone like her? I smiled in my anticipation and she noticed even though I was a still a couple fans away from her. The first words out of her mouth were about my smile and how she was glad to see it so late in the afternoon. She commented on how the endless queue of people who didn't look excited and seemed tired was wearing her down. I told her I was glad she liked my smile ‘cos she was going to be seeing it again at the photo op, which I mentioned, like the autograph, was a surprise birthday present from my partner, Lou. She laughed and said, “well… you have an amazing partner and equally amazing smile. I guess I will see you shortly when I get my picture taken with you!” I think I giggled.
I waited in the photo queue for about an hour and I made friends, as I do. Once the line started to move, it really moved. I was stopped just before I was permitted entry into the makeshift photo studio because Carrie was futzing with and kvetching about her sweater top. She said "fuck" and turned sheepishly to see who was around to hear her. She rolled her eyes and said, "oh, thank God it's only you and not some family with kids I'd have to apologise to for being foul." She motioned for me to come in and the photographer visibly wanted to move things along, but she wasn't ready. She asked me, "top on or top off? This thing isn't working with my tits." I told her her wardrobe choice was entirely up to her and I was only there to be a prop. She laughed, flashed the cameraman, smiled at me and said, “Look, I’m going to put my head on that strong shoulder. My head’s heavy and I'm fucking exhausted, so hold it up… and now snuggle with me. On the count of three, let's yell 'tits!', okay? One, two... three.” *click* I yelled "tits!" and she did not. She laughed a hearty laugh and squeezed my hand before letting go. I thanked her for the fun and she winked at me as I headed out of the fabric photo box.
I was lucky and I had an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. This might've been my all-time favourite celebrity encounter and I have my husband and Marjorie to thank for this moment.
Many thanks to Debbie Reynolds for creating such an incredible and unique world for Carrie to grow up in and for giving birth to a creature who brought such great joy to so many and saw life in such a curious way. We are sad for your loss as it is our loss, too.
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU.
Until we meet again...