Earlier this week I just couldn’t bring myself to write about the best.night.of.my.life, as I was just too exhausted and figured if I wrote something half-assed, I’d regret it. And so today I’ll give the overview of what it was like to meet my most favorite author (hero, idol, comedian) of all time.
The signing was in Munich on Monday and originally I had planned on going with my Mr. H, JPritch and PHern, but alas, the Mr. was sent to DC to save the Pentagon from IT meltdown, JPritch was stuck saving Libya, and PHern instead made a trip to get married in Vegas. So. Because I don’t trust myself in big cities alone, I bribed three girlfriends to attend the signing with me. Girls that had never read DS until I forced it upon them. Friends that ended up catering to my every demand and doing it with enthusiasm. Without them, I wouldn’t have walked away with such great memories, three signed books and a shameless plug for The Chronicles. They were awesome.
Right before they showed up, though, I found myself in a bit of a frenzy at my house. I had to finish my gift for DS but it just didn’t seem quite right with just the pen. I really wasn’t fucking around. I had my bullet shell pen from Bosnia, but knew there had to be some sort of note attached. And so after looking all around my office, I knew I couldn’t just attach one of my plain cards. I couldn’t go the Hallmark route. Not my style and this was David.Sedaris. He’d expect his readers to do better. And so I did.
First, I needed a picture to glue to my note, something that really just screamed I’m kind of out of my mind but hey, if we can all laugh about it, it’s not really a problem. And so I remembered the picture I took of Moxie one trip we took in Salzburg. She looks like she did enough cocaine or speed to kill a cat. I love this picture.
Second, I took a notecard and wrote out what I had come up with one day in my office, as I had stared dreamily out my window. I needed a thank you note that was also a love letter. Something that showed that I adored him, but wanted to be him at the same time, minus the gay man part. But not something that scared the shit out of him. Here was the note I brought with me.
The note reads:
Dear Mr. Sedaris,
One day, when people buy my books off Amazon, I hope it is you that the recommend as a similar author. Then, I will know I have made it. Thank you for pushing me to keep writing and entertaining.
It was all true and it was a thank you I owed him and thought he’d appreciate. And I squeezed in that I write. Bonus.
So. Off to Munich we went. Arriving early, we had enough time to squeeze in some wine, sit in the 60 degree sun and chat about all things random. So, after 4 glasses, here is where we were at: This is first part of the dream team.
and then the other half–me and Trace….
So. Now you know who you’re dealing with. ANYWAY, after the wine, because I was dead serious about being early, we found the venue. Here is the sign out front.
And then here is me, acting like a moron, insisting I remind everyone exactly why we were there. PS, the hat was just a funny prop. In no way would I want anyone thinking I wore that shizz to be trendy, because I didn’t.
So. Upon entering the building, I asked for our tickets. When I was told there were none booked for us, this is what happened.
After this minor (potentially life ending) crisis ended with tickets in hand, we took our seats and started waiting. And then, minutes later, there he was, 22 rows from me, walking in and then sitting down and then speaking. Live. In the flesh. It was almost more than I could handle. This is about the time I started acting like Rain Man. Apparently when I’m overwhelmed and in the presence my idol, I can’t contain myself and I begin rocking like I’m insane, scratching at my jeans like a mental patient and freaking out, all while getting this ridiculous look on my face that while I think it reads, I’m smitten, it most surely just says, I’ve lostmyfuckingshit.
As I acted like a crazy, he read a few stories from his newest book, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk (which happens to be my favorite story within said book), which I guess in German translates into, Welcome to the Petting Zoo, which he just thought was the most delightful thing he’s ever heard of. But then I looked it up when I got home, because I was obviously suspect of all this and it actually translates into, Squirrel Chipmunk Investigates. So the Germans are wrong again.
So. After a delightful hour of reading, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did I NOT have to skip the Q&A, it was going to take place in the same room as the signing and la dee fucking da, I could have my cake and eat it too. Wooo. So this is when I started secretly convincing myself not to speak. I hadn’t planned on being able to attend both so you’d think I could just refrain from getting all selfish and shrieking out random thoughts or questions. And besides. No one else in the room should be privy to the answer of any important question I would ask. Second, I didn’t write anything down because I thought, if I have to choose, I’m getting my book signed. I could look up the answer to most of my questions anyway. But, we all know that’s not what happened.
The Q&A was moving slowly. Barely anyone had a question, which made me bullshit. GODDAMN YOU MORONS. He was right here, for all the asking and you all just want to SIT HERE? (that’s me screaming in my head) And so as the tall German lady waltzed around with her huge microphone, I thought quickly about whether or not I would speak up. Then some moron asked why he was eating a jar of pickles. GOD. PICKLES? That was the best she had? Did any of us REALLY care? Ugh. No. So. The question asking consideration part lasted 32 seconds. This is the point of the story where I started to half raise my arm whenever the lady looked in our direction, then I’d shoot it back down to my side, knowing I couldn’t contain myself. It was the last time that I shot my arm up, kind of all awkward, like a chicken wing waving around, that she pointed at me.
Oh good fucking God, what have I done? Why why why couldn’t I just sit there? Please, please, PLEASE behave, I thought to myself.
Of course, that is always out of the question. I couldn’t behave. Even when I set out to, I fail. Here is what I said, which again, in all fairness, was a question I wanted to ask, just not quite as I had planned.
“How much have you paid your family to write about them, so you know, they don’t disown you? Or, at this point, after this many books, are you just like fuck it?”
Jesus Christ. I had to drop fuck it in a room of 100 people who said nothing. I’m so charming.
But, hurray! He didn’t skip a beat, so technically, I still win. He just smiled and told us a story about writing a story about his father. He ended with, “And you just write the truth. They can’t argue with the truth.” And that’s the point where I decided that he was right. I didn’t have to wait until my whole family died. The truth was the truth, my version or not. And technically, anyone I ever end up writing about has asked for it in one way or another. Thank you, DS, for backing me on this. I was tickled with our little exchange.
The reading ended and the lines formed. You would have thought making it to the front of that line was the most important thing on earth. For me, it was. And so I stood, waiting, behind 2o or so people. The girls stood behind me. I had given them books to be signed for the other above friends that couldnt’ make it, as well as gave them strict instructions on picture-taking and video taking. This shit was going to be documented if it killed them.
And so after about ten minutes, I made it to the front of the line. The girls were laughing at how excited I was. Like laughing hard. I was lovesick, helplessly swooning left and right, unable to stop shaking with excitement and wipe even the smallest bit of my smile off my face. Yes, it was that bad.
Conversation being (*some of this is paraphrasing, as I think I was having an out of body experience):
DS: “Well, hello.” His voice made me giggle. He was captivating.
ME: “Hi.” Then I stared. Then I remembered what I was there for. “Oh! So,” I asked confused, “no one’s given you a gift yet??” I acted surprised as I looked around, like a whole pile of them should have filled the table.
DS: “Why I suppose not.” Good god, I thought. Say something quick before you make him feel bad about himself.
ME: “Well, isn’t that your thing? You give gifts and people give you gifts? Pocket sized things, from what I’ve read, which I’ll tell you, isn’t that easy.” And so began the big bag of ramble.
I pushed across the note with the pen attached. “Here, I brought you a gift.”
DS: (who LAUGHED) “Why thank you.” He removed the pen and looked at it confused. “What is it?”
ME: “It’s a shell casing pen. I bought it when I was in Bosnia. I figured every writer needs a pan made from a shell casing. And what says creative than writing with death, right? Umm, or something like that. And, the card. I wanted to thank you. But I figured you didn’t need another bullshit Hallmark card, so I made you one. That’s my dog. She’s insane.” I was talking outrageously fast. I was determined not to ruin this, but I had never felt so flustered in my life. This is coming from the girl who once told (in 2004) the President of the United States he’s yummy in an elevator. (that’s a true statement, swearonmoxie)
He flips over the card. “You’re Heather?”
Me: “Yep, I’m Heather.”
DS: “Well thank you. What brings you to Bosnia and do you live in Germany? What do you do for work?”
ME: “I went to Bosnia for work. I help put on military conferences. But I really just came here to bum around Europe. And yes, I live in Germany. I do not speak German, though.” I have no idea why I offered that, outside of the fact that I was nervous and I had heard him practicing German to the people in the line before me.
DS: “No German? Why not?”
ME: Insert face of disgust. “Why? Well, because it’s ugly. Same reason you didn’t speak French when you lived in Paris, though really it’s because German isn’t as easy as say French or Spanish…well, I suppose I will one day, but for now, I say enough to get around. I’ll probably move to France next. I’ll learn French.”
DS: I think by now he had figured out I was slightly excited. He signed my book and looked at me. “Thank you for your fantastic gifts.”
ME: “You’re welcome. Thank you for coming.” And then I smiled like I might make my goddamned face crack in half.
And then I floated away. Yes, I said floated, which if I was back to thinking clearly, I’d be ashamed that just came out of my mouth. But true story. I floated my ass all the way to the back of the room to sit by myself, to stare some more and to enjoy (one of) the best moments of my entire life. I had met David Sedaris.
Then, to make it even better, Tracy dropped him this card she made as she went to walk away from her signing experience. Yeah, she made it, just for me. She’s awesome.
And then, to end our fabulous Sedaris journey to Munich, we raced across the city to grab beers at the Hofbrauhaus and then later ate some wings at Hard Rock, drank more wine, and spent the rest of the night chatting and laughing until 2am. Shortly after, we made the journey home. I made it safely to bed around 5:30am, only to wake up 2 hours later, exhausted, dehydrated, beaten up and yep, still floating.
It’s going to take a whole lot of perfect to top my Monday night with David Sedaris.
And that is the full story.