Back when I looked awkward in glasses, Lisa and I were visiting Cal Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate. While we were admiring exotic butterflies in the glass-encased rainforest, something else caught Lisa’s eye.
“Irene, Irene,” she said, poking my arm. “Is that Elijah Wood?”
I turned around and surveyed the area with no expectation. “Who? Where?”
She grabbed my shoulder and pointed toward some flower pots. “There.”
Indeed, there he stood, Frodo, in modern garb and all his 5 feet 5 inches of glory, entrenched in his observation of the plants blooming on that fourth floor.
Lisa stared, open-mouthed. “We have to go talk to him,” she declared.
“Okay,” I shrugged.
She started poking my arm again. “Come on, let’s go.”
I raised my hands, palms up. “Why do I have to talk to him? You go.”
“No, you go.”
While we went back and forth, Elijah promptly stepped into the fourth floor elevator. Lisa and I rushed over too late, watching with crushed hearts as the indicator displayed floor 4, 3, 2, 1… and then the basement.
Lisa slapped my arm.
“See? He left!”
“How is that my fault?”
Having seen all we’d had to see of the rainforest, we stood there and waited, crestfallen, for the next elevator.
“I had the biggest childhood crush on Elijah Wood,” Lisa suddenly confessed.
“On Frodo?” I laughed.
Lisa looked hurt. “What? He was so cute in Deep Impact.”
“You mean when we married Leelee Sobieski?” I teased.
That earned me another smack on the arm.
To our surprise, when we reached the basement aquarium, Elijah was still prowling the exhibits at an easy pace. Lisa and I looked at each other eagerly. Then we began to stalk him, slickly maneuvering around the orbs and pools containing exotic oceanic flora and fauna to keep Elijah just within our lines of view.
Lisa started hitting my arm again, this time repeatedly.
“You have to stop that.”
“Go talk to him,” she hissed.
“Go,” Lisa demanded, ignoring me. “Look what happened last time.”
“You’re the one that had a crush on him!”
“I don’t know what to say,” Lisa confessed, suddenly turning giddy and shy, all at once.
“What makes you think I do?”
We continued in this fashion for the next 10 minutes as we continued to tail Elijah around the aquariums. Then two blond girls suddenly stepped up to Elijah.
“Excuse me,” one said, addressing Elijah directly. “Are you Elijah Wood?”
“Yes. Yes, I am,” Elijah replied, all smiles and manners.
“Do you mind if we take a picture with you?” the other asked.
We watched, entranced, as the first girl pulled out her camera and handed it to Elijah’s escort, who snapped a quick picture of the three. Suddenly, I realized Lisa was no longer next to me. Instead, I saw her dart up to Elijah and tap him on the shoulder. Elijah spun around.
“Can we get one too?” Lisa managed.
We cheesed hard for the camera, if not for the pictures with Frodo, then for our sense of grand accomplishment.