OPINION | Price of fame poor value no matter the cost

Price of fame poor value no matter the cost

I was floating in Lake Ainsworth idly wondering if Chris Hemsworth and his family would appear when I realised how absolutely happy I am that I am not famous.

Apart from those with me, nobody gave a fig about the 50-year-old woman looking up at the blue sky, feeling wonderfully weightless after a season of over-indulging. Nobody was tracking my every move. I could just be me.

All around me were other people just being them. Should the fabled family and their famous entourage appear, the vibe would change. It would no longer be tail-end of the Christmas season enjoyment, but something frantic would happen. It's nearly impossible to not want to hitch yourself to a star when one appears.

How would it be to have that wherever you go? Never just being part of the tribe, always the object of attention?

Twice in my life I have been asked by strangers for my autograph. Both were a case of mistaken identity. I happily scrawled something and hoped they would never be any the wiser.

I have also had people ask to have a photograph taken with me. Once was in an Asian country at a monkey park - stop laughing - and the second was during a day at the races. I don't care to speculate on that one. I was not wearing a birdcage as a hat.

I have also had a brush with something that was a long way from fame, but was more like a brief, deep unpopularity. On that occasion, a journalist waited for a day or two outside my house for me to appear. It was at that point that I wondered why I thought glass French doors at the front of your house were so lovely.

These days, I have a teenaged daughter who keeps me informed of the deeds and misdeeds of a thousand famous people I have never heard of. It seems fame is achieved more cheaply than ever before - and is somehow even more desirable. It doesn't seem to matter what you are famous for - you name it, you can be a social media star. That's probably not the kind of fame I'm talking about. But now that I am older and have realised that I will never be a movie star or singing phenomenon, I have become truly, deeply thankful that my face and my name do not belong to everyone else.

I can shop, I can go to the movies, I can live in the heart of my tribe without bother or comment. I can swim at the public pool, I have free passage with my family to travel unhindered through life, I can laugh, get mad, even sometimes swear should I feel the absolute need. Now that's joy.

Marie Low is a freelance journalist based in Gunnedah, NSW.