When you think of celebrity sightings you might think of spying Ashton and Demi dining at an L.A. hotspot, catching Brangelina toting their kids through some exotic locale, or discovering Paris Hilton clubbing in Las Vegas. Here in DC, we have our own kind of celebrity sighting, and it has nothing to do with Britney Spears. Our "celebrities" are generally linked to the political world. Senators, Representatives, White House reporters, political advisers and the President of the United Sates himself are all exiting people to spot. We know the Capitol Hill restaurants they frequent, the local neighborhoods they live in, and that finding yourself sharing the same Senate office building elevator with Hilary Clinton is a story you'll tell your grand kids about. Even little known Congressmen and women must feel like stars when citizens from their home districts
I've had a few DC celebrity sightings in my day, the most exciting of which used to be Al and Tipper Gore. Before them it was a former Minnesota state senator and Newt Gingrich...dull, even by Washington standards. But that all changed last week, when I found myself in the right place at the right time to catch the new Holy Grail of DC people watching. After noticing out our windows that the mother of all motorcades had just pulled up to the building across the street, the rumor started flying: It's Obama! One hour later, he emerged. The crowd that had gathered on the street below erupted in excitement. He smiled, waved, stood up on the vehicle's step and waved again, and in the blink of an eye, the motorcade zoomed off.
With the arrival of the soon-to-be new First Family, DC just might be catching up to more glamorous cities such as L.A. or New York in terms of its celebrity sighting potential. The whole event last week did feel slightly Hollywood-esque what with all the screaming, cheering, and picture taking. It felt like we were watching a red carpet event at a movie premiere or an industry awards show. Sure, we've still got our regular sightings that only die-hard Washingtonians think are cool, but I have a feeling Obama would be cool nearly anywhere, at least for the time being. After the motorcade drove off, one of my co-workers exlaimed while fanning herself, "I feel like I've just seen a rock star!" No one ever said that after running into Newt Gingrich.