I’ve Met Someone New

Happy Mother’s Day!

My holiday weekend was nice and relaxing and went a long way toward making up for a pretty crappy preceding week. I won’t get into the gritty details, but I will tell you that on Monday I had to pick up Sergio from the side of the road when his car broke down and by Friday I was having my truck towed from the staff parking lot. Again.

We also had a brief downer when our babysitter, that we had booked a month in advance, told me at 9:30 the evening before we needed her that she could no longer come. Luckily she was able to get a friend to come in her place and our night out was saved. So that one worked itself out and was actually a non-event, but for a few hours it felt like the cherry on top of a crappy week sundae.

It all turned around when we headed out to attend my Mother’s Day gift which was a David Sedaris reading. He came to Fairbanks! Tiny Fairbanks! Where the biggest venue we have is the auditorium of a high school! There were parts of the night that felt so Fairbanksesque that it made me laugh/cringe. For example, when the director of these events came out to introduce Sedaris and her mic didn’t work, so she just yelled at us all conversationally and the audience just yelled back amiably. Or the fact that all the refreshment options were various clubs from the high school selling things like water and ice cream in the school cafeteria by the trophy case (because that is where we all line up to go inside).

On the other hand, I got to meet David Sedaris this time! There were a couple of roadblocks to this happening four or five years ago when we last attended one of his readings in Fayetteville. First, the line was extremely long. Way too long for us to get to him before the show and way too long for us to wait after the show. The other roadblock was myself. I already have a pretty big hurdle to overcome in believing that my presence in someone’s general vicinity isn’t unwelcome. It’s why I hesitate to knock on closed doors, or interrupt cashiers at stores, or really any number of things where I come upon people without an invitation. On top of that, I’m a firm believer in not meeting people you admire because they are likely not able to live up to your expectations. So the last time I had a chance to get a book signed and chat with one of my favorite authors, I didn’t even want to!

Over the years I’ve seen a number of things that told me Sedaris is delightful to meet in a book signing line. He takes time with each person, stays until everyone gets their book signed and is very kind. That went a long way toward easing my general social anxiety. As I’ve aged, I’ve also realized that I don’t need people I admire to meet any particular expectations. As long as he didn’t yell at me, I would probably survive the encounter with my love of his writing intact.

Since the line seemed doable, we tried for getting a book signed. We had to wait until after the show, but I’m glad we did it. I’m still who I am as a human being, so I’m sure I walked up with scared puppy look on my face. We said hello and he saw my post-it with my name spelled out on it and started telling me about his friend Dawn that he had dedicated a book to. He said she had gone to China and that they couldn’t pronounce our name, so they gave her a different name meaning “friendship flower.” This is how he signed my book.

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We went on to discuss human feces, spit, places we’ve traveled, and the cost of our luggage as compared to his. It was pretty much perfect.

He talked to us (and every guest) for at least five minutes. He has such a knack for putting people at ease and making conversation. If the ball had been all in my court, I would definitely have asked him how his day had been, stared awkwardly for a second and then yanked my book back and left. I would have lost sleep over the encounter for years. I don’t know how he does it. Just that amount of social interaction alone would have me crawling under the table every third person so that I could decompress.

It wasn’t all about the book signing, of course. We enjoyed the show immensely. Whenever he next passes through whatever city I happen to be living in, I’ll go again.

The rest of the weekend saw Rolo and Sergio taking good care of me. This morning Rosalind insisted they provide me breakfast and balloons, but when they woke up too late (in her opinion) to both buy groceries and then cook breakfast, they brought home Starbucks and three McDonald’s pancake and sausage platters. It tickled me immensely and totally hit the spot.

Rosalind was also willing to share the burden of these cheese fries with me at lunch. She let me have the very bottom one that swam in cheese sauce the whole time. I like her.

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I hope everyone out there, mom people or non-mom people, had as nice a weekend as my people gave me.

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