Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers - September 3, 2011

I've told this story so many times over the past week to so many people, but now I want to tell...well, you, I guess.

Last week was tricky. Things were just difficult in general. I had phone calls to make, doctors to fire and doctors to hire [in terms of my kid's treatment - I realized later that this implied I have some fancy job where I hire and fire, I mean just in terms of our family], paperwork to handle, some drama with the kid, etc etc etc. I was feeling beaten down and just very tired.

On Wednesday morning I woke up and checked my email bright and early to make sure I had been paid for a freelance gig (I'd missed getting paid on the 15th and really needed the money on the 31st). Yup, the notification was there, hooray, I got paid - and an email that had the subject like "Decatur Book Festival/Joshilyn Jackson." Gmail told me that the first sentence was something about not being stalkery...

You need to know some background. Labor Day weekend (right now!) is always the Decatur Book Festival, which is one of the largest book festivals in the country and which takes place down the street from where I live. Authors come from all over the country to speak, sign, and mingle. It's always a good time, and it's been fascinating to watch it grow and thrive.

This year, there were some auctions as fundraisers as a part of the festival. They auctioned off an hour with an author or two at the local restaurant The Brick Store, which is one of the top beer bars in the WORLD and which boasts an incredibly monstrous beer list. This blipped on my radar and passed - yes, there was an auction to win time with Joshilyn Jackson, and yes, I think she's a fantastic writer AND a hysterical person (her blog...Faster Than Kudzu...just...go read it), but two freelancers and one kid means there's not a lot of wiggle room in our budget, and an auction...yeah. No way could I even bid the minimum.

The topic of the auctions came up on a local blog, and someone asked who she should bid on. So I longingly noted that she should bid on JJ, and that I was a huge fan and wished I could. And then I forgot.

To make a long story short (I'm never good at that, am I), a woman named Kim wound up winning the auction, but her +1 was not able to come with her. So she, being resourceful and all around fabulous, came upon my comment, clicked through, found my blog, found my email address, and wrote me offering me that coveted spot.

My eyes filled with tears.

I accepted, and today Kim and I hung out with both Joshilyn Jackson (who is hysterical and smart and fantastic) and Susan Rebecca White (who was a sweetheart and someone I genuinely liked - is it weird that I added her as a Facebook friend when I got home? I hope not - we have a few mutual friends...). I drank a fancy microbrew (imported possibly) strawberry beer in its own special glass. I talked too fast and too loud, as I do. I said hello to people who walked by that I knew and I met people that I didn't know who knew one of the other three women at our table. And I felt like a rock star for an hour. A dorky, awkward rock star (I forgot to tell Joshilyn that I identified STRONGLY with her Alan Thicke story), but a star nonetheless. And then it ended and we all walked in different directions. Which is OK.

So if you see this, Kim, a big huge public thank you!

It was grand that the universe was being pleasant for a change, let me tell you. Now we must tackle this Very Long Weekend with the kid....

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