Embarrassment in bulk

It was all his fault, really.

David Sedaris’s, I mean.  He brought it up, and after he said it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And that is what led to my undoing.

I attended his reading at Macky Auditorium in Boulder last night as part of a birthday present from my mom.  I love, LOVE David Sedaris and have everything he’s ever published.  I troll NewYorker.com for his most recent contributions, and when I imagine my future books, my hope is that he will deign to write an endorsement for me.  Something along the lines of “Davis’s work is literary gold!” Or, “She’s just like me, only not a gay man.  And funnier!”  Or even “There’s only room enough for one of us.  And Davis gets to stay.”

Don’t worry – my anti-hallicinatory pipe dream medication is being mailed to me shortly.

Clearly, I am a big Sedaris fan.

Last night I bought his new book – in hardcover – and lovingly clutched it to my chest throughout his reading. 

He read a story about undecided voters that cracked me up, a story about Nicaraguan-style French (note: I’m aware that this is not an actual style of French and you should probably be aware of that too.  Don’t go around telling people that this blog made you stupid.  If this blog makes anyone feel stupid, it is most certainly me.) that resulted in his naming a rabbit “Screened-in Patio” and entries from his diary that made me howl.

My personal favorite, though, was a story that involved Costco.   Costco, that shining city on the hill, full of all good things that come in boxes of two- four- and eight-hundred.  It was Costco beginning and end.  Costco and David Sedaris.  I was in heaven.

Heaven lasted about an hour and 45 minutes.  And, naturally, when he said he would be signing books after the show, I ran downstairs as fast as my tiny legs could carry me.  I johnnied right over to the line and was pleased to see that I was third.  THIRD in line.  Behind only two other people, and in front of millions!  SCORE! 

My feeling of euphoria quickly turned to panic, however, when I realized that I had just two people to figure out what witty and dazzling thing I was going to say in order to cement an international friendship and muse/mentor situation with my all-time favorite writer.  Just. Two. People.

“Do I say what a huge fan I am?  No, that’s lame.  Be funny!”

“Should I tell a joke?  No, jokes aren’t actually funny.  Be authentically funny!”

“Should I just be mysterious and aloof seeming?  That’s cool.  And rude.  Be nice!”

I cycled through a variety of behaviors and quips for a few minutes until I decided upon the always-safe motto, best for prisoners of war and Victorian-era children: only speak when spoken to. 

And then it was my turn.  David Sedaris beckoned me up to the table, and as I slid my new copy of When You Are Engulfed In Flames across the folding table to him, he looked me in the eye and spoke in that magical, elifin voice.


“Um, hi!” I said, my face flushing a not-so-delicate shade of hot pink to match my pashima scarf.

“And you are…?”

“Hilary.  With just one L.”

“H-I-L-A-R-Y,” he spelled out, making an H that looked more like an M.  If David Sedaris wanted to call me Milary, that was cool with me.

“So, Hilary, what do you do?”

“I have a corporate job that sucks my soul…I mean, I’m in marketing…but not really…” I trailed off, already feeling completely, titanically awkard.

“That’s nice,” he said, as he drew something mysterious in my book. “Soo…” he said.

“Sooo…” I replied. 

And then I panicked.  David Sedaris was waiting for me to pick up the conversational slack, and I was just standing there, blushing, repeating him!

So I said the first thing that came to mind.  Which was not, sadly, “I love your work!” or “It’s nice out tonight!” or even the incredibly lame (but true) “I like your tie!”

Instead, I said “I love Costco, too!”

Yes, I decided to regale David Sedaris with my love for buying things in bulk. 

Have you tried the beef jerky on aisle three?  I hear it’s delicious today.


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