ice cream making and ranting

Monday, September 20, 2004

I should talk to strangers

As a general rule, most of you know, I don't talk to strangers. But sometimes it works out.
I was sitting alone in the back (third) row of the Borders appearance for Todd Parr, and the only one there without kids. Then this lady comes and ask if the seats next to me are taken. She's well dressed with black, black hair and red lipstick, and a small upturned nose. She doesn't look like she brought any kids, yet she was holding an armful of books she was going to get signed, so i asked her if she brought kids and she responded "Oh, I don't have kids. They take up too much room" and I said "oh, good, I'm not the only one" then she softened. and then her gay friend came, who has a crush on Todd Parr, and if I had to guess I would say Todd was of a similar persuasion.

These people were totally fun! they were both in their 40, but still "hip" or whatever. And they made the story time even better. we talked about childrens books, and if Todd wore boxers or briefs, the underwear book, and other books about underwear and butts, and they wanted me to grow up to be an underwear designer. i told them, in my dreams.

so these people see this guy, who's sort of in charge of the appearance. and they're basically twins. they have the same stature, same graying hair and they're both wearing a black t-shirt and green khakis. and it turns out that my new gay friend has basically the same job for a barnes and noble in santa monica, it was very amusing. because these people included me in their conversation like we were old friends. Apparently they talk about people having doubles on occasion. And the lady is hoping to meet a 40 year old emily strange as her double. She apparently goes to book signings and gets authors to sign books for charity. I was impressed.

Also, for some reason, they were giving away a $400 vaccuum at the signing. and the odds were really good. probably 1:20 or less. I didn't want a vaccuum a few hours before. But by the end of the reading I really, really, really wanted this vaccuum. I was going to sell in on ebay, and use the money to buy the coat that I want and some more Todd Parr books. Unfortunately, neither I nor my new friends won the vaccuum. We were all sad, because for some reason the idea of owing a $400 vaccuum was the best thing in the world. We were mad, because all the kids who could write (not a lot could) were entering. The lady thought you shoudn't be able to win a vaccuum if you weren't old enough to use it. I didn't stick around to see the winner, but the winner used initials rather than his first name, and I suppose kids aren't pretentious enough to do that.

Todd, has some interesting sponsors. There was a "gift bag" that contained a letter printed on State Farm letterhead about family storytime, a copy of people magazine, a kudos bar, a toll house cookie bar, a packet of splenda, a coupon for lactaid and 2 borders balloons (uninflated). Also, for free were packaged cookies and juice pouches. I got the last pouch of circus animals, and my new friends were way too excited about me sharing with them. That was another thing we agreed on, circus animals are the best.

Anyway, Todd Parr was fabulous. His favorite book is the Underwear Do's and Dont's book, and it's mine too. Even though I already own a copy, I bought a second one and got it signed. I wish the books were a bit cheaper I would have bought a few more. But $8 for a book you can read in 30 seconds is a bit much. Now, of course, I wish I had bought more books.

I wish I knew the names of my new friends, because they'd be fabulous at parties. I hope Todd gave the lady the drawings he did at the reading, they might be worth something. He sells his paintings on his website for $1,500. And I hope the friend got a date with either the book store twin or Todd. Because they were fun. If all strangers were fun and cool like that I wouldn't have such and aversion to talking to them. I probably never would have started talking to them if the man had sat down first. Maybe I'll start talking to strangers. Or not.


  • At September 20, 2004 11:47 PM, Blogger lydia said…

    oh, Cynth. You could do with a bit more talking to strangers... (I could probably do with a bit less, but most of the time it's not my fault!) I can't believe you didn't get their names. Oh well, you could just visit (all) the Barnes and Nobles(possibly/probably plural) in Santa Monica.

    Glad you got your book signed, and a sketch too...

  • At September 21, 2004 4:37 PM, Blogger Meli said…

    My favorite Todd Parr book is "It's okay to be different." I use it with my kid clients. Not that I have any now, being that small children generally aren't heroin addicts.

  • At September 22, 2004 9:38 AM, Blogger C said…

    Meli, you should totally go see todd Parr. he lives in sf or berkeley or something, he does appearances around there pretty often. he seems like he'd really like to hear about his books being used constructively. he made a point at the end to do the mr. rodgers thing and tell everyone they were special just because they were them etc.


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