I decided to start a new category within the virtual walls of my own Blogosphere that will encapsulate the celebrity sightings, meetings, and stalkings-from-afar that my sister and I have been lucky (or sneaky: you decide) enough to share*.

Today I’m going to write about Bill and Hillary Clinton, but not in relation to the Democratic National Convention that is currently taking over the fine city of Denver. Lots of bloggers are doing that. Instead, I’m going to write about the Clinton Experience (Sounds like a ride at an amusement park, doesn’t it? Waiting for the snarky “Clinton ride” comments…) that Julie and I had in 2006.

We were in New York City on a girls’ weekend that October, to celebrate both of our birthdays. She had spent several years living there and took full advantage of the great things NYC has to offer, making her the perfect person (nearly a native!) to spend time with while there. When we go there together, we are all over the city. All over it. By the end of the day, we are exhausted (but happy) and feel like our feet have been replaced by bloody (but happy) stumps.

Anyway, on this particular day we were making our way down 5th Avenue. We made a stop at Trump Tower for a look-see (The public bathrooms there are TOP NOTCH, by the way…but would you have expected less?) and then headed over to Takashimaya, which is a Japanese department store. It’s several stories high and quite peaceful for a department store. We walked in the front door and browsed in their home and garden department. The place was almost totally deserted. As we made our way into the next room, I am fairly certain it was Julie who noticed** first; she tapped me on the arm and pointed. I looked up, and there he was.

Bill Clinton.

No joke.

In person, he seemed slimmer, and sort of handsome (though not my type, alright???). We were not far from him at all. He could have been across my living room from me: that’s how close we were. We looked to our left and got another surprise: there was Hillary, over by a display table, shopping. (I thought she was very pretty) They were shopping together!!!

Some random woman walked right up to Mr. Clinton and started chatting with him about something and he gave her full attention and nodded and conversed back; we were just in awe.

Julie and I started to quickly try to figure out how we were going to grab a photo of one or both of them before we missed the chance. As I started fumbling around in my purse for my camera, we noticed the Secret Service agents. One or two of them started coming towards us. Oops. Probably shouldn’t fumble in your purse when you’re in close proximity to a former U.S. President and you haven’t been screened by any of his security detail.

So I took my hands out of my purse and before he got to us we headed for the elevator to make a new plan. We went upstairs for a few minutes to “browse” and then went back to the first level to try to see them again.

They were gone. We had no photographic proof, but a pretty cool story.

The funny thing was, we tried to call all kinds of friends and family. Couldn’t find anybody who was remotely impressed at our Clinton Experience.

“So?” they’d say. “He wasn’t/isn’t so great.”

Seriously, people. I don’t care what your political affiliation is. Don’t you think, if you were fifteen feet away from a former Leader of the Free World and his First Lady–no matter what Party you vote with–that you would be totally dazzled by the randomness of it all? It came up in class this morning that “after all of that Monica Lewinsky stuff, who really cares to be around him, after what he did?”

I did. I was beside myself. Doesn’t mean I condone his actions, morals, or whatever. But he was the President of my country, and I was with my sister at Takashimaya on 5th Avenue in New York City in October 2006, and we shared the same space with the Clintons. Very cool.

Naturally we had to take a photo outside:

Oh yeah, and then we watched Will Smith shoot a scene for “I am Legend”! I wrote about that here.

It was a banner day for celebrity sightings, that’s for sure!

*Being almost forty years old with two teen boys, a couple of part-time jobs, and countless other distractions, my memory has turned partly to mush. I may not remember every detail in these celebrity sighting stories to 100% accuracy but am not intentionally writing anything false. Should there be a glaring discrepancy, I’m counting on my sister to make the correction in the comments, and I’m counting on everyone else to refrain from laughing and thinking I’m an idiot.

**Why is it always Julie that notices the celebrities? Am I that focused on whatever I’m doing? I certainly don’t feel like that’s the case. Is she always looking around? Is that from living and working in New York? Is it a type of paranoia or is it just an awareness? And how can I get some of that? I want to notice a celebrity! Do you realize how entirely possible it is that I have walked right by hundreds of celebrities without even noticing? What is up with that???