Objects on movie screens are smaller than they appear

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Geoff and I were in Paris. It was getting late and we were hungry so we decided to venture one street over from our hotel to the Champs-Élysées because someone told us that the Champs-Élysées is where everything happens in Paris. Also, it is the street where vacationing pedestrians provide motorists with comic relief. I've heard.

It was early November – slightly cool but mild enough for lightweight jackets. Still, we walked quickly so as not to catch a chill.

The street was busy and in spite of the late hour, there were people all over the place and every shop and restaurant was open. As we walked along the sidewalk, we came upon a particularly large crowd. Because I am paranoid cautious, my first instinct was to run as thoughts of murders, robberies and rumbles (yes, rumbles) entered my brain. 

The Champs-Élysées - but not on that night because
on that night we had no camera. Or common sense.

Geoff explained to me that because we were in a city, we might run into more people than the three or four I was used to seeing back home. Still, it was strange to see a big group of humans just standing around, doing nothing - except maybe smoking.

We were about to walk past when we noticed a large purple carpet being rolled out onto the sidewalk. And by we I mean me.

Me: Something is happening!

Geoff: No kidding.

Me: Seriously – it must be special.

Geoff: I’m hungry, let’s go.

Me: We can’t go, what if we miss it?!

Geoff: Miss what?

Me: Whatever it is that's happening.

We tried to glean some details from the chats that were taking place around us – but everyone was speaking French. So it was a futile exercise.

Time passed. We started to get cold.

I made an attempt to have a conversation with a gentleman who looked like he might be helpful. He wasn’t, but in the process of exchanging my dirty looks for his indifference, I glanced above his head and noticed a giant movie poster on the side of the building towering above us all.

It read, L'Age De Raison and it featured the faces of Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.

I couldn’t believe it. We had stumbled onto a real live honest-to-goodness movie premiere for a Bridget Jones film.  It was then I realized we didn’t have a camera on us.

Me: I can't believe I don't have the camera.

Geoff: Let's go get it.

Me: We can't! We'll lose our spots.

Geoff: Okay, I'll go get it. 

Me: And leave me here alone! Are you nuts?!

Geoff: You won't be alone. There are over a hundred people here.

I was unconvinced. We stayed put. Minutes passed. Nothing happened. It got colder. Some people left. Others arrived – some even walked on the purple carpet, but they were nobodies. We knew this because no one in the crowd bothered to take photographs.

At some stage in the evening, I freaked out at Geoff and said, "I have to get out of here. I think I'm having a breakdown. Get me out of here!!!" But by that point, he was so committed to the process that he wouldn’t leave. He also might have said something like, "You pulled me into this Hell, so now you're sticking it out with me."

So we waited a while longer.

Suddenly, a man with perfect hair wandered down the purple carpet. He moved slowly. He even paused - a few times - but no one seemed to care… so he continued on. Minutes later, the same man appeared again, only this time his presence was announced over an invisible speaker system in the street.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Colin Firth!”

The poor bugger hadn’t been recognized the first go around. I'll bet he thinks we're all suckers now after having won that Oscar for The King's Speech.  

Shortly after his arrival, Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant appeared. They looked around at the group and stuck close to one another. Hugh shook hands with a couple of aggressive spectators, Renee smiled shyly, and within seconds, they both vanished into the warmth of the theater.

And that was it. 

This is the photo I would have taken that night.
If I had a camera with me.
And if I followed them into the theatre.
Which I didn't. That wasn't me.

Three effing hours of waiting in the cold, for a teeny glimpse of two of the tiniest people we had ever seen. Honestly. From the side, Renee completely disappeared. She and Hugh were like little figurines you could hold in the palm of your hand. They were smaller than small things. Like chihuahuas. And rabbits.

I'm not kidding. They are this small.

At least Colin Firth cast a shadow. Which probably had something to do with that Academy Award win. I'm just guessing here.

No, really.

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