David Sedaris, one of my favourite authors, came to town for a booksigning last weekend.
I decided to go to Montreal on Sunday afternoon, with Youngest in tow (also a fan) but what I hadn't counted on was the torrential rain. No big deal. It was the perfect time to leave a cottage and be inside a bookstore, no?
Youngest and I carefully did our hair and makeup and clothes for our Big City Excursion. I hate the humidity, as my hair does this half-curl thing, and my bangs end up sticking out the sides like musk ox horns. So I spent some time smoothing it out into a straight pageboy a la Katie Holmes.
Using my trusty GPS "Synthia" as my guide (thanks Marsha!) we headed off with little time to spare. Then the skies opened up. I freaked out a bit, as it was like driving in a carwash, only on Montreal highways, cars never ever slow down, not for nothin' or nobody. We took the shortcut recommended by my husband, ignoring Sythia's "recalculating" drone, and actually added another five minutes to our ETA.
We finally reached downtown Montreal to discover a street fair in progress and the main drags closed off. We zigged and zagged and finally pulled into underground parking across the street from Indigo just as the reading was scheduled to begin. Instead of using the underground tunnel, we decided to just run across the street.
As we left the building with one umbrella between us, the rain came off the entrance to the building like one of those flat waterfalls decorating a resort pool. As we dashed across the street and tried to open the door, we saw a teensy tiny sign that said "Use Main Entrance" which was a good half block down the street. At this point, I was soaked anyway, so I left my daughter with the umbrella and ran for it. Just as I rounded the corner, one of the street vendors - his souvenirs and teeshirts covered with a clear plastic tarp - chose to tap the top of his tent with a pole, thus releasing a flood of water down my back. I stepped into Indigo looking as though someone had dropped me into a lake and pulled me up by the hair. I could tell people hovered by the door were looking at me, but I couldn't really see much as my glasses were also fogged up and wet. My linen shirt was plastered to my body (thank all the gods I chose black and not white) and the water dripped down my back, my legs and pooled at my feet.
Never mind. David was somewhere in the building.
We crept upstairs, my flip flops squelching at every step, and I heard his very distinctive voice reciting one of his stories (I remember it involved a barber, a towel and the smell of poo. Ah yes, vintage Sedaris.)
There were hundreds of people lined up, so we took our place and waited two hours to meet him. He is unfailingly polite, silly, sweet and kind to everyone. He was late for a flight to New York, and when we got to the front of the line, I was afraid we might miss him as the cut-off time was approaching. I told the security guard, a young French guy, that we'd travelled two hours to see David. He looked shocked, asked "vraiment?!" then let us under the rope.
Now, I promised my good friend k.c. dyer a signed book. And when I asked her what she'd like, I meant did she want "k.c." or "karen" or "karen dyer" on her copy.
She said, "k.c. dyer and something about placenta."
You see, k.c. met David in Vancouver and told him about her friend (me) who wrote a humour piece on placentaphagia or the art of eating placenta. This was short-listed for a non-fiction competition but didn't win. In a cruel twist of fate, I sent my story to a judge who had had a tragic placenta accident, one that haunted her still, some thirty years later. (It remains unpublished (shocking!) along with the Tragic Foreskin Accident story. Out of thirty or so essays published, that's not a bad record, but I'm determined to get those two out there. Surely there's a venue for placenta and foreskin stories?)
My daughter and I finally got to David's table, and when he looked at the sticky note afixed to the book, it said, "k.c. dyer placenta". I mentioned my friend in Vancouver and he said, "Oh YES, I remember her." He might have been lying, but something tells me there aren't many women who mention placenta.
How to explain what I meant without sounding like a babbling idiot? Well, it's not possible, I discovered, as he nodded and moved his chair back as I tried to make myself sound reasonable.
My daughter, young and impossibly beautiful, did better. She got a turtle doodle for her efforts.
I invited David to the SIWC, the best writers' conference around, but he said he tours in October. I explained if Diana Gabaldon can fly in from Arizona, and Anne Perry from Scotland, why can't he make it from France? The publicist then said "Oh, Diana Gabaldon is so gracious and good to her fans, and a pleasure to work with." To which David replied, "Who is she?"
The publicist said she writes about men in kilts, which piqued his interest.
And with that, we were off. The rain was no more, and I had my books safely tucked in my bag.
And if you haven't read any of David's books, get thee to a bookstore.