A few weeks ago, I met one of my literary heroes. David Sedaris came to Powell's to promote the paperback version of Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls and I was there, four hours early, to meet him. I had brought my computer to do some work and chatted with some friends who were potentially just as excited as I was as we waited for the good people of Powell's to even set up the chairs for the event.
About two hours before the event was supposed to start, Mr. Sedaris showed up. When I saw him, I was so not cool--but not for a lack of trying. My excitement was uncontainable and I started tapping on my friends and jerking my head in his general direction to get them to notice and validate. I'm sure I looked like I was having a seizure. Mr. Sedaris started signing books and talking with the early birds who had all but filled up the rows and rows of chairs set up. (Who says I'm foolish for showing up early now?) Book in hand, and ticket to get said book signed, I was one of the first people in line. In line I was trying to think about what I should say to him. In retrospect I should have thought to bring up his latest article in the New Yorker about his fitbit. I could have asked if he would be my friend on fitbit. (Then I could have yet another way of not measuring up to him--with his 60,000 steps a day. Sheesh!) I didn't think about that, and I doubt he would have been amenable to the idea anyway.
Instead of planning my own conversation topics, I was distracted by the young woman in front of me. She stepped up to his table and sat a piece of paper with a digital drawing of Mr. Sedaris on it in front of him. She told him how she had done this rendering on the computer when she was eight years old, and how it took hours and hours.* He was astounded and grateful. He went searching through his tote bag for some sort of reciprocation. It was decided that a pair of novelty socks purchased at a novelty sock store** here in Portland would be just right. He went on and on about how talented of an artist she was, how he went to art school and he couldn't do that. Things took a bit of an awkward turn when she asked him to sign the one copy of said image to someone else. She then took it back and went about her merry way. With new socks.
I was absolutely gobsmacked. WHO DOES THAT?!? You give David Sedaris a copy of the picture you "made" of him. If he wants to recycle it, great, but you give him a copy or you don't show it to him and have him sign it. For the next like five seconds before it was my turn I was trying to read Mr. Sedaris. Was he fine with how that played out? Was that just fodder for an amusing journal entry about a tacky girl in Portland who manipulated him out of novelty socks? Or was he as shocked as I was and would later mourn the loss of his socks.
It was my turn, and I went to say, "hello." He asked me what I do - which is always a sensitive subject when you hate what you do and have decided a change is absolutely necessary for sanity and survival. Better to simplify: "I'm looking for work."
"You're working for work?"
"I'm looking for work."
"What do you want to do?"
"I went to school for screenwriting."
"Well do you have any skills?"
"Well, I like to help people out and bring them with me, but you're not selling yourself very well."
"This is probably why I'm looking for work."
"Have you ever thought about being a hitwoman?"
"Believe it or not, I'd never considered it."
He drew a gun for me potentially to urge me on to this new career path.
*$500 says that's a lie. 2 minutes in photoshop max-two years ago max.
**Because we have those here.
***Not the first lie he'd heard that day.