We have perfect timing.
At exactly 1500hrs we met stellalehua at the lobby of the Peninsula Manila for high tea and a look at Jeremy Renner. The lobby cafe was three-quarters full. After some discussion we chose a table that would afford us a clear view of the entire lobby and the doors. Then it occurred to us to text our friend who works nearby. “We’re at the Pen to have tea and stalk certain guests,” we said. “Come stop us.”
A minute later our friend popped over. “Have you seen him?” he asked, referring of course to the star of The Bourne Legacy. “No,” we said, “We just got here.”
“Well he’s right behind you,” said our friend.
“Riiiight,” we said.
“No really, on the couch, in the black baseball cap.”
“Is he sitting behind us?” we asked stellalehua, who could see all the way to Escolta (the restaurant).
“Huh? No. I mean yes. I mean no. I’m so nervous,” said our designated stalker. Obviously we are ruthless professionals.
“Stand up,” said our exasperated friend. “Turn around.” We did.
Voila, our quarry was slouched on the couch by the large painting, face obscured by black baseball cap, futzing with an iPad. On the chair next to him was another guy, similarly dressed. There were knapsacks and bags around them.
“It’s him,” we confirmed. “Now we need photographic evidence.”
“Enjoy,” said our friend, who went off to a meeting.
“I have to collect myself. I’ll order tea first,” said stellalehua.
“And we’ll go to the bathroom to comb our hair,” not that the hair would be made neater by combing. While engaged in this futile occupation we had qualms of conscience. How could we have the gall to approach Jeremy Renner and ask for a photograph when every time people approach us to ask for a photograph we generally refuse? (Especially when the forkful of food is halfway to our open mouth.) True, Renner wasn’t eating, but the nerve.
The solution to our philosophical dilemma was to get stellalehua to take his picture. Since stellalehua had asked to take our photo and we acceded. This would avert a karma lightning strike.
On our way back to our table we walked in front of the couch where Jeremy Renner was sitting and futzing with his iPad. His companion had left.
“Jessica,” said someone at the next table. It was Annette, who was our seatmate in the first grade. We stopped to say hi. And then many years of working for newspapers took over.
Without thinking we walked up to Jeremy Renner and said, “Hello.”
Renner looked up from his iPad. His eyes are gray-green, his hair is dark blond, his skin is pale and his stare is direct. “Hello.” He was wearing a gray t-shirt, blue shorts and loafers. (Thank you for not wearing flip-flops.)
“Don’t kill me,” we said.
He smiled, which could mean he hadn’t decided whether he was going to throttle us using the kali fighting skills he had acquired for the Bourne movie. He looks pretty much the way he does in photos, only more compact.
“Would you mind very much if our friend took your picture? Just your picture, she doesn’t have to be in it,” we went on, sounding quite sane (we like to think).
“The thing is, it causes a stir…” he replied.
“…and everyone will want a picture. Blast,” we concluded.
“Oh well. Have a good time in Manila.”
“Thank you,” he said.
“And don’t trust anyone.” We don’t know why we said that, it just came out.
We went back to our table and told stellalehua what we had done.
“Is it my turn to go up to him?” she asked, her voice having risen an octave. “Wait, his companion has returned.”
She decided to wait until Renner was alone. Five minutes later Renner and his companion got up and left—they probably realized that everyone in the lobby knew who he was. So the opportunity was lost. But high tea is served at the Peninsula Manila lobby every day…
* * * * *
Our editor just called.
WE’RE GOING TO THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN!!!
Jeremy Renner is our lucky shamrock.