Sitting at lunch with a friend the other day I noticed a bloke sitting at a table opposite us. He was conspicuously trying to look inconspicuous with a plain black T-shirt, sunglasses and a cap. My friend leant across and whispered ‘I think that’s Matt Damon’. I had a longer look. I couldn’t really tell. He was only a few metres away and I’ve never watched that many Matt Damon films so it was hard to do a positive ID but he certainly could have been Matt Damon.
I found myself staring at him a bit more intensely, not because I cared whether or not it was Matt Damon but because I couldn’t really remember what Matt Damon actually looked like. It’s been a long time since Good Will Hunting, the last Matt Damon film I watched. He’s no longer a blond fringed maths genius. Now Matt Damon, if it is Matt Damon looks more like some sort of jet fighter from top gun. He looks a bit like Orson Wells actually. Young Orson Wells. Not old Orson. Old Orson is dead. Maybe I should ask if he’s Orson Wells. I’m certainly not going to ask him if he is Matt Damon. That would be weird. If I were Matt Damon and I was having lunch I wouldn’t want people asking me if I were Matt Damon. Especially if I were Matt Damon. Because if you ask someone that and they answer yes, there’s really no where else for the conversation to go except for me to say ‘I haven’t seen many of your movies’ and then slink back to my table to keep staring at him from time to time awkwardly waving and doing that goofy smile thing.
That must be the hardest thing about being Matt Damon – people suddenly realising that you are Matt Damon and then wanting a photo, or just to tell you that you are Matt Damon. I get the feeling he knows. I bet there are days where he would like not to be Matt Damon. It must make doing ordinary things really stressful. Because you being ordinary is weird for other people. You are supposed to be doing extraordinary things like being in space or killing people.
I mean if I were at the movies and Matt Damon came on screen I’m not surprised. I don’t lean over to my friend and whisper ‘I think that’s Matt Damon’. But if Matt Damon turns up in front of me at the supermarket then I’m like, Hey that’s Matt Damon. I think he shops. I’m at the shops all the time. No-one is surprised, nor do they ask me questions like ‘are you Matt Damon?’ I had a 2-word walk-on in a feature film recently and heaps of people contacted me on Facebook because they said in the middle of the movie they shouted out ‘that’s Mandy Nolan’. For a minute I knew what it was like to be Matt Damon.
I’ve heard Matt Damon has moved here. Or spends time here. I hope he enjoys it. I think we’re pretty okay at conducting ourselves relatively normally and pretending we don’t know he’s Matt Damon. But we do. I’ve seen posts on social media. Stuff about him doing incredible stuff like crossing the road. I mean who would think Matt Damon crosses the road? Or has lunch?
Matt Damon spotting is becoming a bit like whale watching around here. In fact I’ve seen Matt three times this year already and haven’t seen one whale. It’s weird seeing famous people. I’m not impressed that they’re famous, I’ve met lots of famous people. Although it’s hard to have a natural conversation when you know stuff about someone from the media and you’re just this boring fucker who’s biggest claim to fame is seeing Matt Damon have lunch.
Seeing famous people can be tricky because sometimes you don’t realise they’re famous – there’s just this strange familiarity you get when you see someone you think you know and you start talking because their face is S-O-O familiar you think it’s a family friend. What is their name? And then you go, oh no, it’s not a long-lost friend, or acquaintance from the past, it’s Nicole Kidman. No wonder she’s being so bloody frosty.
I did that once to Nicole and then after ‘hello …I said ‘sorry I thought you were someone else.’ Actually I thought she was Matt Damon.