For those of you who know me, you that I tend to be (how can I put this nicely) laid back. So when I was scheduled to do my first book signing, I thought to myself I really need to make sure I do this write . . . errr, right.
First, you have to understand, I don’t consider myself a celebrity or anything like that. In fact, the only time people have wanted my autograph in the past was in I was signing a check to pay a bill.
So this was very new to me. I fretted for a few weeks about what exactly I should write in people’s books. In fact, I worried so much that I came up with a complete blank. So I finally asked me daughter was I should sign.
Her answer was quick, concise, and got right to the heart of the problem: “It doesn’t matter what you write. No one will be able to read your writing, anyway.”
So I decided on a few things to write, had my books and pens together, and went to bed the night before the signing with only a few small details to take care of the next day. I slept well that night; after all, what could possibly go wrong . . .
5:10 a.m. – Woke up feeling totally not well. Was I nervous? I didn’t think that was it. I felt more like I had been drugged or something – very sluggish.
5:27 a.m. – Drug myself out of bed, tried to wake up. Eventually got myself dressed for a run and squeezed out four miles.
6:50 a.m. – Showered. I thought the water would wake me up. Nope, not yet.
Between 7:15 and 9:30 a.m. – Put a roast in the crock pot (yes, I still remembered how), shaved, fixed myself a bit to eat. Fixed breakfast for my son. Good, I had all of that out of the way. Now I could finally get serious. So with that said, I promptly . . . went back to bed and slept for 2 hours.
11:45 a.m. – Again drug myself out of bed, but this time with a purpose: I had to be somewhere – at a meet-the-parents event where I teach. So it was off to that. But there was nothing to worry about – I would still have almost four hours before the signing.
12:45 p.m. – “Would you like to go to lunch with us?” Lunch, huh. Well, I really should be getting ready for the book signing, but I’ve got to eat anyway, so YES. Let’s go!
1:02 p.m. – We arrived at the Mexican restaurant. I had no idea what I wanted, but we ordered this dip that we had recently discovered there. Cheese dip mixed with pico and taco meat.
1:06 p.m. I’ve already managed to eat almost half my weight in the dip.
1:07 p.m. – I somehow manage to choke on the dip, coughing up a chip and sending flying across the room, where it was embedded in the wall. They were still working on trying to remove it with a crowbar when we left.
1:15 – No food yet, but I’m still stuffing in dip as fast as I can. But no worries. I have plenty of time.
1:30 p.m. – Still no food. . .
1:40 p.m. – Still no food. Ok. Now it’s getting serious. Someone at our table asks about our order. “It will be just a few minutes” we’re told. What is this? Am I on the episode of Seinfeld where they’re trying to get seated at the Chinese restaurant?
1:55 p.m. – The food finally arrives. I am so full from the dip that I’m not sure I can eat any of it, but I somehow manage to find a way to get down more than half.
2:30 p.m. – We leave the restaurant when I finally realize: OHMYGOSH! I forgot to get the veggies for the crock pot!!!
2:32 p.m. – I enter the No Time Zone, also known to some as Wal-Mart, where time ceases to have meaning.
2:33 p.m. – I realize I am probably the first author in the history of the world to be buying carrots and potatoes just a little more than an hour before a book signing. Does Stephen King have to do this?
2:45 p.m. – I am asked this question in the checkout line: “What’s this?” I was deep in my own thoughts. Startled, I looked up . . . only to see the cashier holding a cantaloupe, much like you might picture Hamlet holding a skull. I wasn’t sure she was being serious until she asked again, “What’s this?” Ummmmm. It’s a cantaloupe, I replied. She couldn’t find it on her list of produce items. Turned out it was under “melons.” Hmmmmmm. This is why I don’t use the self-check line.
2:57 p.m. – In the drive thru at McDonald’s, picking up some chicken nuggets for my son. And the signing only an hour away. Did Mark Twain have to go through this? Uhhhh, well . . .
3:06 p.m. – Finally back home. I had to throw some clothes from the washer into the dryer. And . . . DOH! I still needed to put the veggies in the crock pot. So as quickly as I could without cutting off one of my fingers completely, I got all the ingredients added.
3:35 p.m. – I’m dressed and ready to go. My son is dressed and ready to go. Now, if we could just LEAVE!
3:52 p.m. – I arrived at the Chamber of Commerce where the signing would take place to the faces of a near-panicked staff. Whew! Catastrophe averted!
3:59 p.m. – I had all the books unloaded from my car, and I was sitting down, ready to sign away!
Wow! It felt good to finally be on time and prepared for once in my life.