Wednesday, October 01, 2008

He Talk Pretty

Quote of the Day: "I love things made out of animals. It's just so funny to think of someone saying, 'I need a letter opener. I guess I'll have to kill a deer.” ~David Sedaris

Song of the Day: none

State of mind: relaxed

Date: October 1, 2008

I had written down on two different calendars that David Sedaris would be at the Palace Theatre on the 19th of September; one being the calendar on my desk and the other on my bedroom wall. I was wrong both times. And it’s a good thing too because on the 19th I had a horrific headache and had decided to stay home. Even though I was confident I had made the right decision I couldn’t help but look at the clock between the hours of 8 and 10 and think periodically, “He’s being funny right now. People are laughing at this very moment. I wonder who is sitting next to my empty seat.” I discovered my mistake days later thanks to a blurb in my local paper about our local entertainment journalist being there at the upcoming performance and ‘twittering’ from the audience. Hurray! I could still go.

I spent all weekend preparing, (and by that I mean doing laundry). Despite the forecast Saturday was mostly clear and I was able to get most of my Sunday errands done. Sunday had been forecasted to be better than Saturday so when I woke up to the distinctive sound of raindrops on the air conditioner my heart fell just a little. However, I soldiered on. (As my mother likes to say, I am in fact not made out of sugar.) Besides, I had missed him once already so I wasn’t going to let a little moisture ruin my plans.

I headed out the door at 20 after 6 even though the show didn’t start till 8 o’clock mostly because I wasn’t sure about the parking (that section of Albany is still a bit dodgy despite recent upgrades) so I chose to err on the side of caution. Apparently the gods of parking rewarded me with a spot- the last spot- right in front of the theater, facing the direction I needed to go to leave. Plus, on weekends you don’t have to feed the meter! Double score.

If it had been dryer out, I could have sat in the little park across from the theater, but with the misting rain I ended up in this tiny coffee shop that sold baked goods and odd sodas as well. I think it was too distracted by the nostalgia to remember that I don’t like cherries that much but I got a Shirley Temple flavored soda. It was awful. But the peanut butter cookies will dry your mouth like fear, so I had to drink it. While waiting, I perused The Metroland, read about ACTA and how our government & world governments want access to your computers and if no one is paying any attention they are going to get it. (So, you have been put on notice!) I also read an opinion piece about Sara Palin. They didn’t like her. I agreed. Then I decided to go over earlier than I had planned, which was also fortuitous as he was in the lobby signing books and the line wasn’t all that long. (Unlike this blog post so far.)

I have never been to any of his shows so I wasn’t sure what to expect. On the stage was a podium and that was all. No backdrop even. He came out and the person behind me said over the applause, “He’s so tiny!” in that way that people say it about puppies, meaning they want to snuggle with the bundle of cuteness incarnate. None of the stories he read were from his latest book When You Are Engulfed In Flames. He explained that he was tired of that book. That elicited laughter from the audience. As did most of what he said all night. He read stories about talking to people on his book tours, two stories about the undecided voters of the US election- one from the perspective of a person that can’t understand how someone could be undecided and the other as if he were one of those unsure folk, a trip to Costco with his brother in law, traveling, meeting a taxi driver that wanted to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for traveling with the youngest child to all 7 continents, and a few of his favorite bits from The Braindead Magaphone by George Saunders. A book he apparently liked so much that while reading a selection of letters called “Dear Optimist” he kept having to stop he was laughing so hard himself. I have a feeling that if people were more on the ball, this book would be on the ALA’s most frequently challenged list. He took questions from the audience but I don’t really remember any. On person did ask if he was still not smoking, which he isn’t. Then he confided that he sometimes dreams of smoking but in his dreams after he remembers that he had quit, he starts to feel guilty, which is what happened to me when I quit over 10 years ago. I’d wake up just gutted that I had succumbed to having a cigarette after not having one for months until I would realize it was a dream and I hadn’t actually had one. And that was the thing about the evening. Even though as a home town bound woman 16 years his junior to his world living life, his thought processes that he revealed during every story mirrored what I probably would have thought had I been in his place. (Even when he was putting men he had seen on a list of viable candidates should the need arise... You know what I mean.) And judging by the reactions of everyone else in the audience, I suspect I'm not the only one who felt that way. The laughter was inspired by his humours turn of phrase but also by recognition. Yes! We would laugh. Exactly! He then announced that if anyone had any more questions they could ask him personally because he was going to be signing more books, wished everyone a good night and left the stage to thunderous applause. And that was it. My review: I’d go again in a heartbeat. In rain or no, horrific headache or picture of health. Laughter is the best medicine anyhow, right?

Click to purchase any titles from the David Sedaris library or the book by George Saunders.

Show quote of the day: “Oh... I don't drink. In general."
"Well, it is 3:00 so... it's a good time to start."


fermicat said...

His contributions to This American Life are the cream of the crop. His delivery is perfect.

JennyLu said...

I don't think I've ever heard of this guy but it sure sounds like you had a great time.

Beth said...

I don't think I've ever heard of him either. Wait, I've heard of him, but know nothing about him. I'm glad you had fun though!

Ben O. said...

I'm Back!

Come on over and say hello . .

Ben O.