dmjewelle: (Epic)
D.M. Jewelle ([personal profile] dmjewelle) wrote2014-04-01 02:08 am
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(The epic story of) The fan who met Benedict Cumberbatch and couldn't get a picture

I was at work on Sunday, and used downtime to check Twitter. Seeing Benedict Cumberbatch at the F1 Grand Prix at Sepang just gave me so much turmoil (especially since he was leaving for Adelaide on Monday), [ profile] yuncyn finally popped a question:

"If you want to stake out his hotel, I'm game."

We roped in [ profile] axtar and [ profile] futomimii and after picking them up around 9PM, the game was ON.

I was there the previous night with Nads so I already knew where to sit and not look like a stalker...or at least a tasteful stalker. The main entrance immediately branches off to the front desk and lifts to its left and right, and if you head down the 20m corridor you end up at the lounge & cafe. Sitting at the right seats enables a grand view of the front door to see when your target is entering.

The distance to the door will be important. Keep this in mind.


So everyone ordered cocktails, mocktails, I got blackcurrent + hibiscus tea. To reduce disappointment it was easier to call it a ladies' night out on a Sunday night than BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH LAST CHANCE FOR STAKEOUT because obviously one will be MUCH less disappointing if it doesn't pan out.

Denise, Esther, and Fenix chatted. I just sipped a ton of tea and focused on the door. Lots of people went in and out. Feeling a bit restless, I headed outside and passed by a girl sitting at a bench, clearly a Cumberstalker too. Ended up chatting with the porters:

Me: get lots of people staking out?
Porter #1: Not always...but we get Man U fans here. Always Man U fans! Like when they stayed here.
Me: ...What about this guy? *shows pic of Cumberbatch*
Porter #1: Hmm...can't say I've seen him. But after a while all foreigners look the same!

Porter #2 (a more senior looking guy in a yellow uniform) overheard our conversation and approached us.

Porter #2: *looks at pic* Yeah, this is the British guy. He's quite standoffish. But foreigners tend to like their privacy, so sometimes they keep to themselves.
(The word he used was sombong, which means arrogant, but we all know Cumberbatch can be a moody git so I'll take some liberties here)
Porter #1: Like Jamie Foxx! He sounds like he's always angry, but actually that's just the way he talks!

After that they were busy attending to other guests so I went back to the table and sipped tea nervously while staring at the door. It got busy at one point when some dudes were checking in or something and someone took pictures of white men huddling together and stuff, it's a hotel, you'd be worried if it wasn't bustling with activity around 10.30 PM.

Around 11.30 I saw three people entering the door and heading to the lifts. Sherlock-vision activates.

First mental alarm: THESE PEOPLE WERE NOT FAT. (I'm not fat-shaming; every foreigner - including his publicist - were pretty large and the men all had pot bellies till that point)

Second mental alarm: The man in the middle draped his shirt on his arm revealing a white tshirt underneath, while pulling off his glasses.

Third mental alarm: Said man had *very* nice posture.

Denise, Esther, and Fenix notice my spaced-out expression and ask me if I'm ok.

Me: I think that's BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH at the DOOR.
Denise: What, really? Which one is him? I can't see!
Fenix + Esther: OMG go check it out!!

So I sprinted out and past the bench-girl walking into the cafe area smiling to herself into a tiny book. Clearly she's gotten SOMETHING. I run faster and turn into the lifts, thinking "don't let the doors close, don't let them close yet..."

And bam.

There he was.

Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch.

Waiting for a lift.

I was standing within arm's reach of Benedict Cumberbatch.

My mouth froze. I took another step. What do I do? Call out to him? Sneak a picture? Keep standing like an idiot and take in his height? His cheekbones and the multitude of smile lines, and how he looked exactly like in all his photos but without glasses and flat cap, and there was Benedict Freaking Cumberbatch in jeans and white T-shirt and dark brown hair and it was just me and him (and his friends but they're not important for now).

He spotted me, smiled, and in his leopard-cello baritone, said three little words that rose above the chatter:

"Bad timing, sorry."


The rest was a blur. I remembered taking a step back, raising my hands to say...something, maybe about a safe flight; the lift doors opened, he waved at me and said, "Thank you!", I waved back. Hours later I kick myself for not stretching out my hand to shake his, but that is too far in the future.

The doors closed, and he was gone.

I walked back to the lounge where Denise, Esther, and Fenix waited. I gave them the thumbs up halfway, but they remained confused until I sat down, drank all of the tea, and told them about the most surreal 20 seconds of my life.

We high-fived each other for a successful stakeout, gaped in awe at my sniping abilities (I just spotted BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH 20m away in a dimly-lit hotel without looking at his face) and Fenix & Denise tweeted about it. Esther wrote a song. Denise paid for our drinks; Fiq the waiter forgot to charge my tea, but it's a pain to reopen accounts using a credit card, so he said, "It's on me," and we were extremely grateful. Everyone was home by 12.30, and that was the end of an epic adventure. was it?

I'd be lying if I didn't say I was sore.

Some people on Tumblr took pictures with him and he signed stuff before entering the hotel. Sure he did it in his cap and glasses and hipster shirt, but *they* got a shot of him, and nothing. Tumblr and Twitter have pics of him posing with a bazillion random people in Sepang, with the Prime Minister, with the F1 winners, pointing his finger aaaaaallll day long, and me? I got no proof I didn't hallucinate him. Zilch. Makes me feel like the only Malaysian fan who met him and DIDN'T get a picture.

Pearl raged about how MEAN he was for brushing me off and I should write a blog post about his meanness that'll go viral and let everyone know how mean he was and told me to get a new celebrity crush because he doesn't deserve me. Parents said I was an idiot for not speaking up and telling him how long I've waited I'm a big fan just one picture please and instead just being all dumbstruck and not making the most of my 20 seconds.

Dad and Szuchen however said hey, at least he was polite, he apologised and said thanks and I did stand close enough to see his face (although Lishen was disappointed there were no overzealous fangirls to 'accidentally' propel me into his arms).

But Denise's reply touched me the most, and this was our Skype conversation:

Me: so i really am the 20m sniper who never got a pic of BC
Denise: *pats* and in that, you showed respect and dignity
Denise: that may be poor consolation, but you weren't the crazy one who hounded him even tho he was exhausted
Denise: and possibly already having rough enough a schedule in the heat
Me: it is the only consolation .__.
Me: and regrettably i didn't say more
Denise: DMJ, the man was tired
Me: ...butnottiredenoughfortheothertwoladiesssss
Denise: maybe this doesn't sound like much, but you might have been the only fan to whom the truth was told
Denise: think about it this way
Denise: coming back from a long, long, long LONG HOT day
Denise: of socializing and schmoozing and putting on the face
Denise: promising himself that once he reaches the hotel
Denise: promising himself that once safety is reached
Denise: he can drop everything
Denise: even the door isn't safe
Denise: because oh good grief, fans.
Denise: appreciated but just. ughhhu.
Denise: it's 11.30. I'm tired, I just really want to sleep and I have to worry about the next day's schedule
Denise: get to the lift. just one more minute. Just one more.
Denise: and there, at the corner of the eye, a girl who's clearly hesitant about coming up
Denise: the day's ending now.
Denise: so you say something finally real.
Denise: it is bad timing maybe
Denise: but at least he told you the truth
Denise: and not in a way that proves the assholic reports
Denise: for all we know he may have grimaced as he signed stuff
Denise: but with you? at the lift?
Denise: when you just said thank you?
Denise: and actually treated him like a human being
Denise: rather than a signing machine
Denise: that's being a fan
Denise: that's supporting someone whose work and life you admire
Denise: *pats* you did the right thing in the circumstance given to you
Denise: and your last ditch effort paid off: you saw him in the flesh
Denise: maybe not in the way you quite hoped
Denise: but for at least sixty seconds of the Sunday
Denise: you had eye contact and you saw how tall he was
Denise: hell, you spotted him from 20 METERS AWAY
Me: i still impress myself at that
Denise: I'M still impressed
Denise: you've got 3 ppl who know just how lucky he is to have fans like you who can spot him 20m away yet still know when to back down when he needs rest
Denise: and if he knew, I'm sure there's a rather crooked smile for you
Denise: you did it. you went as all out as you could.
Denise: and you have hamlet to look forward to
Denise: So, content ye for now with sixty seconds of the actual man's memory.
Denise: and a truth that he offered you, a little disappointing as it was

It's not much, but it's a different perspective that doesn't make me feel dumb, and it'll do.

She's right though, there's still Hamlet.

And like all good epics, there'll be more.

[identity profile] 2014-04-01 12:03 am (UTC)(link)
So you WILL be catching him in the UK.

What Denise said was true. Maybe he'll see and remember you in the UK. :3 As the only fan who backed off respectfully when he said he was tired. :)

[identity profile] 2014-04-01 11:46 am (UTC)(link)
If he remembers it after 1.5 years, *I* will be impressed.

Benedict Eggs anyone?

(Anonymous) 2014-04-01 02:19 pm (UTC)(link)
You get to see him in flesh at least. Good job :D

Tuna too lazy to log in.

[identity profile] 2014-04-03 03:29 am (UTC)(link)
I log in after so long just so I can comment! Be honoured! I kid, but really be honoured that The Man dropped all pretenses and told you something personal, a message only you and he can share and understand. Better than scripted "Hello", "Thank you", and "You're welcome" that he is so trained to mutter to his fans.

And for all you know, he may remember you as that one Malaysian fan who didn't raise hell to shake his hand or get a picture. One can hope ^^
Edited 2014-04-03 03:32 (UTC)

[identity profile] 2014-04-03 11:01 am (UTC)(link)
Victor drops in on LJ, brb buying lottery! m(_ _)m Did it take you long to remember your password?

A lot of people are most certainly hoping that's the case, but I'm thinking he'll remember that girl with the slack jaw who mumbled if at all lol. We'll see what happens if I catch him next year.

Thanks for the well-wishes too, always appreciated ^^
Edited 2014-04-03 11:01 (UTC)