Last year my mom introduced me to this great blog, The Bloggess. The author, Jenny Lawson, is utterly brilliant, hilarious, foul-mouthed and crazy (but in a good way. Most of the time). Her book debuted 4 months ago at the top of the New York Times bestseller list and hasn’t left since. The only thing that surprises me about this is that everyone doesn’t already own a copy of her book. Why the hell not? It’s flipping hilarious. If you haven’t read it, get off your bum and get a copy. If you can’t afford to buy it, borrow it from your library. I would even offer to lend you my Kindle copy of this book, but apparently it isn’t considered a “lendable” title or something. Whatever, Amazon – this is the PERFECT example of a lendable book.
As often happens with authors of popular books, her publishers sent her out on tour. Mom and I knew that she would probably never come to Fargo (which is a DAMN shame if you ask me) but we vowed that if she came as close as Minneapolis, we would make the trip to see her. So when I saw this post on July 24th, I very nearly peed myself. Even more amazingly, I managed to snag the coveted First Comment on that blog (not that it makes any cosmic difference, but it still gave me a strange sense of accomplishment). Obviously I called my mom right away.
Me: OMFG The Bloggess is going to be in Minneapolis on August 10.
Mom: NO WAY!
Me: YES WAY!
Mom: Oh fudge. I have an out-of-town shoot scheduled that day.*
Me: Yeah and it’s a Friday so I have to work, and one of the people in my department is on vacation so I don’t know if I can get the day off.
Mom: Let me make some calls and see if I can reschedule.
Me: Okay. And I’ll ask my boss & my other coworker if I can have the afternoon off.
And that’s when all the pieces fell into place. The other guy Mom was supposed to work with had a schedule conflict and was going to call her anyway to reschedule. Then she called the person they were supposed to interview, and wouldn’t you know it – schedule conflict. Also my boss & coworker let me have the afternoon off even though I just had an entire day off so I could pretend to be a vet tech again at the zoo.
Fast-forward to August 10. We left Fargo at 1 but for inexplicable reasons we didn’t hit the outside of the cities until almost 5 (it’s normally only a 3 1/2 hour drive). Whenever I go to the cities I feel momentarily nostalgic & miss living there. But then I get on the highway during rush hour and that’s when I remember why I love Fargo and I’m glad I live there instead. The strangest thing about traffic jams is when you finally get out of the traffic jam and you look around to see if there was an accident or construction or something but there is nothing there which explains why the eff why everyone was going so effing slow in the first place. Not even an exit/entrance ramp. W. T. F. Don’t these people know we have places to be?!
Since it took us so much longer than expected to get to the city, we had to axe our plans to stop at Trader Joe’s and go rock climbing at REI. *Sad face*. We did have time to stop at the Godiva Chocolatier in the mall across the street though. Priorities, people.
Mom thought I was overreacting about how early we need to be there because “this is Minnesota. No one shows up for anything until 10 minutes before.” At which point I reminded her that not only have I worked in bookstores before, but I have worked in the exact bookstore where The Bloggess would be signing, and that the 10-minute rule most definitely does NOT apply when book nerds are involved. I was right, obviously**. They were handing out calendar pages to organize everyone and prevent a chaotic crush of people trying to get in line first when the signing began; we got July 22 & 23rd. The bookstore lady said the first people had arrived at 3:30.
The turnout was really amazing. There were surely at least 300 people there; all the seats were full and every square foot of floor with a sightline of the podium was occupied by someone clutching a book, or some creepy taxidermied item, or a Beyonce the Giant Chicken piñata.*** When Jenny was escorted to the podium at last, she was clearly shocked by the number of people who were there. I was surprised at how surprised she was. I suppose it’s part of her charm that she’s always so amazed by how popular she is. I mean, not only is she utterly hilarious but she is brutally honest about her struggles with depression and severe anxiety disorder. This is inspiring to so many people, including me. On days when I find it nearly impossible to even get out of bed, I remind myself that even though my depression is part of me, it does not define me.
The chapter she chose to read just happened to be my absolute favorite. The one that made me laugh so hard it leaked out of my eyes. And when she read it aloud, it was even better. Especially the part where she screams “I’M CALLING THE POLICE! AND I HAVE DIARRHEA!” Knowing that she was able to do all that despite her crippling social anxiety disorder which famously drives her to hide in bathrooms rather than speak in public, I was in awe. It gave me anxiety by proxy just seeing her up there.
After the reading was a Q & A session. I don’t remember all the Qs and As but at some point the subject came to the taxidermied Pegasus she recently acquired and she mentioned that she was having difficulty finding roller skates small enough for his tiny little hooves. This was my cue to raise my hand whereupon I confidently informed her that Build a Bear Workshop has little roller skates for the teddy bears, which I know for a fact because my daughter got some for the Teddy Cat she built there.
While we were waiting for our turn, a pregnant woman asked Jenny to sign her belly and Jenny squealed “I’m signing the baby!!” It was adorable. I also saw a woman in a FABULOUS red dress; I really wanted to high-five her or something but was halfway up the escalator and didn’t really have the guts to chase her down. Plus it probably would have freaked her right the eff out. I got a bit bored while we were waiting and decided to make a cartoon of Mom and me having our picture taken with Jenny Lawson. And then, when it was our turn I asked her to sign my iPad. I think it might have been her first iPad signing. So I told her now she can go home and tell everyone she knows how to use an iPad now.
Not gonna lie, I’m pretty damn pleased with myself. Then we got our picture taken, both Mom and I having successfully embarrassed ourselves by completely geeking out, getting tongue-tied and possibly frightening a famous author with our enthusiasm. Sorry about that, Jenny. I hope it doesn’t keep you from coming back to Minnesota one day.****
* Not that kind of shooting. She’s a TV producer so she often has to go out of town to film interviews and take video footage of churches in the middle of nowhere or leafy spurge blowing in the wind or steamboats or whatever else applies to the documentary she is currently producing.
** As per usual.
*** Yes we really did see all of these things. No I didn’t take pictures of any of them. No, I can’t tell you why not because I don’t even know myself.
**** After we left I thought about how many times she must have had to smile for pictures that day and wondered if her face got sore from all the smiling like mine did after having our picture taken a zillion times on our wedding day. So I decided if there is a next time, I’m going to ask everyone to make a funny face for the picture instead.