New Hampshire's only television station devoted about 30 seconds to tell the viewing public that comedian Jimmy Fallon had ventured down the lake from Wolfeboro to Weirs Beach, where he purchased fried dough. The hardworking Mr. Fallon has had to singlehandedly support the Lakes Region's summer celebrity needs for the past several years. Everyone has to work harder and take shorter vacations these days.
After 20 years in Wolfeboro, former Massachusetts governor and unsuccessful Presidential candidate Mitt Romney finally found his way into our shop this week, to have a flat tire repaired. The day before that, the shop owner had found himself behind Mr. Romney in the line at the Rite Aid pharmacy. He said that Romney looked comfortable and relaxed, dressed for lakeside recreation, and casually groomed. He did not think it was funny when I suggested that one could say, "Eye witness reports unshaven and disheveled Mitt Romney seen buying drugs!"
When Romney dropped the bike off, I was talking to another customer about building up some wheels. I was all too happy to let upper management handle that check-in. At first glance -- as so often happens -- I wasn't even sure the man was actually The Man. I just thought, "hey, that skinny guy looks kind of like Mitt Romney."
The next morning, Jumper Dude fixed Romney's flat tire and did a few other adjustments before leaving to work on the mountain bike trail he's building on Wolfeboro Conservation Commission land adjacent to the Cotton Valley Trail. He reported that, late in the afternoon, he met Romney on the Cotton Valley Trail. I guess that's that for another 20 years.
I had been totally unaware of the Wolfeboro mystique before I accidentally ended up here in 1988. You really never know who might drift through. Sometimes they do it in groups or close enough succession to make it seem like a regular thing. So it becomes part of the economy, while still not solidly reliable enough to lead to motor coach tours and paparazzi. People walk around with one eye out for possible sightings.
Celebrities have a big responsibility to venture into unlikely places to give as many people as possible the chance to act unimpressed by their presence.
Because so few of the A, B, C, D, E and F lists ride bicycles, my reflexes go mostly untested. And I always wonder whether a public figure is relieved or disappointed when they get treated like anyone else in line. I'm sure it varies from figure to figure and day to day. If they catch me at the right point in the afternoon I'm grumpy and semi-dormant anyway.