This past week, I was out in San Francisco for Monday Night Football. I went out the Wednesday before, and flew back to Washington, D.C. the Tuesday after, giving me plenty of time to visit friends and enjoy the game. Getting a 49ers win on Monday was great, but the day was already capped by one of the crazier interactions of my life. I've been meaning to tell this story, and finally got around to it.
On Monday morning, I met up with friend of the site Dylan DeSimone at a coffee shop down on Market Street in downtown San Francisco. We were sitting near the door, with me facing the door, and Dylan facing the inside of the coffee shop. We were catching up when he started looking over my shoulder. I glanced back and there was a tall man standing right near me. I didn't see him, but he seemed oddly close.
I turned back to Dylan thinking he was going to say something to me about why some random dude was standing so close. He whispered something and I leaned over. He said, "That's John Cleese!" First off, if you don't know who John Cleese is, he's part of the legendary Monty Python crew, and wrote and starred in one of my all-time favorite movies, A Fish Called Wanda.
I turned and looked, and indeed it was Cleese. He had walked back toward the counter to wait for his coffee. I was drinking green tea and needed a re-fill of hot water. I figured that was as good an excuse as any to go up to him and say hi. I wandered by, made eye contact, and gave a hi, how you doing type of deal. He said hi and then mentioned that he had briefly mistaken me for a famous English cricket player named Moeen Ali. It turns out he has a really long beard, and Cleese thought mine looked some what similar. Here's a picture of Ali (my beard is not that long):
Gareth Copley/Getty Images
There was a brief laugh, and I followed up telling him I was a big fan, but gave sort of the "I know it's lame to say this" gesture. He said thanks, and then asked what I did. Needless to say I was mildly taken aback, as this had turned into an actual conversation.
I told him I blogged about the 49ers, and he then said, "Oh, I follow the 49ers." That semi-sort of floored me considering how random that would seem. It turns out he is not following them as closely as a lot of us, but he did know enough that he wasn't just saying it because he was in San Francisco at the time (in town for meetings, not the game). He asked me if I thought Colin Kaepernick would have a good year.
The reason I knew he did not follow them as closely as some of us is because he was a bit surprised they were not projected to do well. He said something along the lines of, "I was looking at the lists, and they were listed fifth or sixth from the bottom." He was confused about that, so I gave him the very limited Cliffs Notes version of the offseason.
We talked about the team and the game for a few minutes, and then parted ways. I badly wanted to ask for a picture, but I've reached a point where I try and avoid that in a public setting with a celebrity. Some don't mind, but plenty do not want attention drawn to them.
And that was that. I get less star-struck around celebrities these days, but with someone like John Cleese, we're talking about a legend in show business. Well, I consider him a legend. And to then spend a few minutes talking about the 49ers, as opposed to talking about his career? Well, that was pretty sweet. Add in a 49ers win later that night, and I'd say that qualifies as a good day.