Friday, April 3, 2009

Jazz Hands

I had a blast at Heather Armstrong's reading at Powell's on Tuesday night. For those of you who just came out of a ten-year coma, welcome back, and also - Heather writes the uber-popular blog Dooce

She was taller and even funnier than I anticipated, and she had great presence. Very confident in an approachable way that doesn't turn you off. Her southern accent is stronger than I thought, and I struggle with all things southern, but it was ok. I handled it. She's very likable. I laughed my butt off. Also, kick ass heels. Really great shoes.  

Heather read two portions of her book, one about her boobs and one about post-baby sex, and then took questions. I arrived an hour early by mistake, so I had a front row seat and was second to get my book signed. It was nice to get in and get out, as it had become a bit of a mob scene by the time she started.  

Two things I wanted to comment on about the reading. One is that I sat by a girl who was an EX-TRO-VERT! and she started talking to me when my buns hit the chair and didn't stop until I ran out the front door of Powell's, looking over my shoulder to see if I was being followed. She was a nice person, as I guess some of you extroverts can be, and I like chatting with folks, but this was a serious challenge for me. Lots of talking. Personal details. Use of outside voice indoors. 

The other thing is that some of the folks at the reading freaked me out. The way people act around famous or well-known people scares me a little. I get a little star-struck and can't form words very effectively, which is dorky and predictable, but there's another reaction that I find unsettling - the thing where people feel very familiar with celebrities and relate to them like close friends. At a few different points folks in the audience would make comments directly to Heather out loud or respond to rhetorical questions so that the entire group (a couple hundred, I would guess) could hear. It made me uneasy. Hi, we're all here, it's not just a conversation between you and the speaker. Please stop freaking me out. After the reading when my extrovert seat mate left (after jumping out from behind a row of books and yelling, "Boo!" to scare me; oh, that seat mate and I shared some laughs, yes we did) she said to me very earnestly, "Oh man, I want to be her friend!" referring to Heather. I don't know, I'm not saying she's weirder than anyone else, but it kind of freaks my freak.

I guess there was one more item of note. Heather referred to Twitter at one point and I got the vibe that the majority of the crowd didn't know what she was talking about. My mom has invited me to follow her on Twitter. I've seen that unbelievably irritating Kat.hy Lee whoever on the Tod.ay Show talk about Twitter. If you don't know about it, you're more than a late adopter, ok? It's time to come to terms with that.

I wasn't sure if either It Sucked and Then I Cried or the reading would have anything super-relevant to me, single and barren as I am. But I like to laugh just as much as the next guy (actually, probably much, much more), and the other themes in the book are universal - discouragement, insecurities, depression, hope in hell, dogs who eat their own shit. I really enjoyed it.


  1. Next time you go to an author's night at Powell's let me know. I'll go with you, sit next to you and occasionally speak to you with an inside voice, and definitely not follow you when you run out the front door. ;)

  2. Sorry peeps - I'm trying to change my template and I can't get rid of that header. OMG, it's so irritating! If you know how, please let me give you my password so you can kill it.

  3. I'm so jealous. As we say down here, "I luv huh."

  4. I saw her speak at BlogHer. She's super funny just like her blog. I missed her reading here in Seattle because I wanted to go to Water Aerobics (am dork) but my coworker went and had a great time.

    I'm a bit of an extrovert but not to the extreme as your seat mate. She said Boo?! HA HA HA.

  5. Sucked and then cried? No comment. At all.

  6. I loved this. Especially the part about the extrovert and "Use of outside voice indoors". I would have been visibly cringing.

    I'll have to read her books. (Wow, have I really been in a coma for ten years?!?)

  7. Can I just say that I effing H-A-T-E Twitter? Seriously. I want to go into a huge diatribe about the death of genuine communication, face-to-face time and the insidious disease of pseudo-celebrity, but I'll spare you.

    In other news, I am so happy you've landed and are sharing stories of your active and fabulous self again.

    Was that too familiar? BOO!

  8. Oh that made me giggle. Use of outside voice indoors. Classic.

  9. So far I've resisted any temptation to do the Twitter thing (I admit having gone to a couple people's pages to check them out once or twice, just to see what it was about, but that's it)... Mostly I find the whole idea annoying (isn't Facebook enough of the checking in with everyone thing already??), but am holding out hope it is a trend that will die out, or at least slow way down before too long. On that note, how hip is your Mom to be "Tweeting"?? ;)

    How fun to be in the front row of a HA reading, despite having to put up with someone talking your ear off with their "outside voice" (heehee), and the mild creep-out factor with people acting like they're buddies with someone they don't actually know...

    PS. Sorry for blogging on your blog, bad habit of mine! Pretty much the only blogging I'm doing these days. :/

  10. Yes, Twitter-haters - I should have clarified that my expectation is that everyone has heard of Twitter, not that everyone likes it or uses it.

    And I can't believe people like FB over Twitter! Nuts!

  11. I twittered for a day, and I wish I'd been more impressed. I wanted to go down as a devotee. I promised another blogger that I'd give it 30 days. I lasted 3.

    Once, I joined FB -- for a day. I did it to read a friend's great-aunt's memorial page, which reminds me of an unrelated story.

    Whilst driving along a winding country road in Wisconsin, I saw in the distance a parade of small children. They were dressed in red, white and blue. I was excited to stop and watch, but as I approached I realized that the marching children were actually decorated tombstones. It was Memorial Day.

    Now I feel creepy commenting on strangers' blogs. I feel inappropriate and wrong. I promise not to presume I know you. :)

  12. dear kindred spirit, saw Heather in Austin thanks to you blog post and her schedule. She was great. Our blogosheres overlapped for an instant. Thanks for helping make it happen.

  13. Okay,so I just now actually read the title of this post ... did you really call it "Jazz Hands"??? Hahahahahaha ...