Us and Them
To Cara, I'm so sorry you wasted your time (drawing of a sad, yet hopeful jack-o-lantern), David Sedaris
So goes the inscription on my new copy of Dress Your Family in Courduroy and Denim. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I arrived at school today to find my mother, bearing a sandwich, matching scarf and gloves, thirty dollars, and the news that my grandmother can't and won't make it through the week. She'd just come from visiting in Nashville. It was the second time in her life she'd seen my grandfather cry. I felt odd, wanting to cry on my mother's shoulder, knowing she must want the same thing, but still exchanging the same old bullshit smalltalk that defines our very relationship. One would think now, facing the loss of her mother, she would let the wall down for a second with her own daughter, but neither of us could allow the universe that satisfaction. We're tough, dammit. Strong. Yeah, that.
In a complete funk, I'd resorted to counting the figure 8's while hand-lapping, and I look up to see Anna beaming at me.
"Are you coming to Nashville with us tonight?"
"Probably not, way too much work to do."
"David Sedaris is at Vanderbilt."
We called to get tickets, but they were totally sold out. However, they would be releasing some SRO tickets an hour before the show. Good enough for us.
Details, details, sushi, and we were standing in line to get on the waiting list, as the tickets were completely gone, of course. I looked to my left and noticed they were selling books, then I looked to my right and saw a long line of people clutching books, and David Sedaris at a table, signing away. Anna and I each grabbed a copy (thanks, mom) of his latest and jumped in line, praying he would get to us. We were trying our best not to be a two-person EdSullivan-audience-during-a-Beatles-appearance, but I think the jumping up and down and repeating "David Sedaris! David Sedaris!" wasn't helping.
He had a plastic bag beside him and he kept reaching into it and pulling out wacky things to give to people, such as swatches of fake hair, and fake limbs. Finally we're up. I gave him our sob story about how we drove all this way, but no tickets, and this was our consolation prize. He said he felt terrible, like he should give us his hotel key or something (don't let us stop you), and drew a very sad Jack-o-lantern in Anna's book. Then he gave me the slightly more hopeful, yet equally pathetic jack-o-lantern. Then, the icing on the cake. He pulls out pictures of mouth diseases, cut from a medical book, and autographs one for each of us. I got severe chronic periodontitis with deep pocketing and bone loss, and periodic neutropenia producing an intense gingivitis and inflammation of the whole oral mucosa.
If you'd told me this morning my new, most prized possesion would be pictures of decaying mouths, I'd have had you committed. That two minutes we stood there talking to him entirely made up for not getting in to hear him speak. Or so I keep telling myself.
The rest of the evening had a hard time living up. We hit a bar, did shots in Jack's dorm at Vandy, and caught the Red Sox and the Cardinals tied at the bottom of the eighth, then watched the Sox go on to win. I wonder what it was like in Boston last night, perhaps Tolsun would do the honors of telling us. Oh, and as much as it pains me to say it, GO VAWLS!
I feel as though I could write more, but this has gone on long enough.