Thursday, August 9, 2012

adventures in readings

chick comes prepared I've been feeling under the weather for about a week, but I thought it was some low-grade virus I could shake off. Unfortunately, I also (or so I thought) had water in my ear which was beginning to impede hearing. I finally went to the doctor yesterday and was prescribed rest and antibiotics for an ear infection. I'm not so good at doing little.

Tuesday, I went to hear Jenny Lawson (the Bloggess) give a reading at Indigo at Bay and Bloor. It was extremely crowded and I was reminded of Someotherathena's dread tales of crazed Jamie Oliver fans who showed up at his reading. All the seats were taken when I arrived (40 minutes early). I found a spot to stand at the back next to two people who were already there. Unlike most people, I looked over my shoulder to make sure that I stationed myself so that I was not impeding the view of those who arrived before me. There was an Indigo employee doing her best to prevent people from standing on the stairs and in the aisle, but she was no bouncer. A man came and stood right in front of us... but then, he wouldn't even stay still and he stepped on toes and bumped into all of us, repeatedly. The couple who were there before me looked hard put upon (aha!) and rolled their eyes. I said, "Excuse me," being Canadian, and he stared at me blankly. So, I was forced to continue, "You keep bumping into me so I wanted to make you aware..." "I never bumped into you." "Yes, actually, about three times." He turned to look at the couple for support and they glared at him, so he weaselled away. So I seemed to have impressed the couple and we chatted a bit. They told me that if there was a rush to the velvet rope when the reading began I should stick with them. A mother came by and said excuse me (though there was a free path to move on the other side of me) and before I could respond, she took me by the shoulder and forcibly displaced me, setting a lovely example for her daughter on how not to negotiate a crowd. The man told an employee that they had been waiting patiently for an hour, following the instructions to stay out of the aisle and then later arrivers had just come and stood in front. She marched around with her little microphone and vaguely shooed people who ignored her. Later, since apparently she had no short term memory, she came at me aggressively and told me I would have to move. The man told her I was with them, in a tone which made her back off. Sure enough, when the talk began, we got to go right up to the back of the seated audience, after all that fruitless audience wrangling. He said next time they were going to spray paint a box on the floor to mark the spot they staked out and I suggested wearing protective clothing. 

The interview and reading were indeed hilarious. She has great comedic timing which is not a given. Just because a writer is funny it doesn't follow that they are funny in person, but she is. She interjected with funny tidbits left out of the book or anecdotes about the response she had received (from everyone from her in-laws to Pepto-bismol). It was really entertaining. I joined the long line to get my book signed. Reynardin called so we passed the time. I thought I would leave if I hadn't made it to the front within an hour, but it seemed so close then that I stayed. By the time I got to the front, I was exhausted. I had been standing for three hours. I was more sick than I realized. I couldn't hear out of my right ear. I suddenly realized I had nothing articulate to say and I hadn't brought a camera (people bring cameras to readings?). So I said something inarticulate about how it was a riot and I was glad she came to Canada and I came to the reading. She said she loved my shirt (as illustrated above) and I said I had thought it was somehow appropriate. She said it was very appropriate and thanked me for waiting so long. She has a weakness for (taxidermied) animals doing odd things, so a chick with a fish strapped to her back seemed like something which would be her thing. Since much of her writing actually reveals the hilarious-in-hindsight aspect of generally speaking her mind heedless of her perhaps over-developed sense and appreciation of the absurd and the social awkwardness caused by anxiety disorder, I thought of all people, I should not worry about having said something odd and inarticulate to her, because she'd get it. Plus, she told us she was doped up on anti-anxiety meds... 

I'd never been to a reading which was quite so overfull with fans (as in fanatics), complete with jockeying for position, though I did once crash a reading with Reynardin. Though that was an innocent mistake. We went to hear John Le CarrĂ© on campus. R had got the tickets. One of the grad students had defended her masters so I was coming from the pub and frankly was a wee bit tipsy. I told R we could take a short-cut across campus and I lead her into the back door of the building where the talk would be and confidently assumed we could find the auditorium because it was so large. We did in fact succeed, entering the auditorium through the stage door. I saw that it was quite full and did not want to make a scene so I dragged R to the first available seats I saw - in the front row (quite oblivious to the fact that R's tickets were for two specific numbered seats, much further back). In hindsight, the front row was empty as it was reserved for VIPs. After a bit the man in charge of the readings series came and sat a few seats down. He raised his eyebrow at us, but said nothing. I think he was amused by the perceived moxie and pleased that anyone would care enough about a reading to sneak in. Though of course, we legitimately had tickets, and I had ignorantly taken the front row seats in an attempt to be inconspicuous. 

I think I'll try and do a better job of taking it easy today. Certainly no running errands or standing on my feet for hours. I can't wait until I have two fully functioning ears again. Tragically, we are out of coffee and I cannot will coffee beans to be delivered to my door. I'm hoping RJH can pick some up on his way home.

No comments: