On Monday night I was loitering by the 14th St. ACE subway stop, on the phone with my mom, when I looked up and saw Pete Hornberger fast approaching (his real name is Scott Adsit, but obviously I'm not going to be referring to him as that). He was walking pretty briskly, with an attractive, European-looking woman trailing close behind him. I'm not exactly sure what came over me (and, let's be clear, I'm by no means a major Pete fan or anything like that), but I literally just hung up on my mom mid-sentence and followed him down into the subway.
It dawned on me as I galloped down the stairs that this was totally bizarre, almost inexplicable, behavior on my part. He was clearly in a great hurry with this girlfriend/wife/female friend and it's not like I had any great intention in mind. I was not going to stop him and whip out some "30 Rock" joke. I was not going to get up in his face with my iPhone. It was as if he was a magnet - a disheveled, marginally famous magnet - and I simply had no choice in the matter. (I guess I would have to be a magnet, too, here, for this metaphor to work.)
I got to the bottom of the stairs just in time to see Pete and Mrs. Pete unsuccessfully attempt to swipe through the turnstile. (Mrs. Pete's card didn't have enough money on it.) Pete gawkily run-shuffled toward the MetroCard machine and the madcap nature of their scramble actually did remind me of a frantic "30 Rock" hallway scene.
I was just standing there, a few yards away from them, making no attempt to hide my gawking. It struck me that I was surprisingly interested in "Scott." Did he get recognized often? Did this significant other of his proudly tell people at her salon, "Oh, you know the bald guy who works with Liz Lemon? That's my man"? Did Scott and Pete dress the same? Were they equally as ornery? Is Scott on text messaging/buddy terms with Alec Baldwin or are they merely work colleagues?
I watched as, reloaded card in hand, Pete and Mrs. Pete raced back through the turnstile and down the stairs to wait for an uptown train. I moseyed on down to wait for my downtown train and looked across the way at the departing uptown ride. They were gone. I wondered if anyone in his subway car would recognize him.
When I got back above ground, I didn't really feel compelled to text anyone about my "celeb sighting." It sort of felt like I had just been on a whale watch and caught a momentary glimpse of a dolphin or eel or something. Not that I've ever been on a whale watch: I never really understood what you were meant to do if you saw one.