Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Little Bit Wicked on a Sunday...

Is it bedtime yet? Boy howdy, was today ever a doozie. But it ended up being super fun, and like always, I managed to find some good blog fodder...

Recently I found out there was going to be a book signing in my city that I wanted to attend. I told my mom about it, and the next day she called to tell me that she had just read an article in the local newspaper about the book signing. The newspaper article said that if you believe the things you read on the Internet, this book signing could draw quite a crowd, and that people from miles and miles away were possibly driving in for this. I began to rethink my decision, especially since I really had no business trying to squeeze it in on an already busy Sunday. So by yesterday afternoon, I had managed to talk myself completely out of it. And just for good measure, I had my husband call up the bookstore to get their take on the whole thing, what they were expecting, etc. Sure enough, they echoed the newspaper's predictions, and they said that if I wanted a signed book I should consider getting there by 11am, even though they thought that the line would actually start forming as soon as they opened at 9am. All for a book signing at 2pm. Hmm, at least 5 hours of a Sunday that I didn't have to spend? Nope, not gonna happen. I wrote it off as an impossibility.

Fast-forward to today when I was driving home from church. I figured it wouldn't hurt to swing by the bookstore and just see what the line looked like snaking 'round the building, you know, to confirm my decision and all. This was at 12:15pm or so. Imagine my surprise when the not-so-big parking lot was not even 2/3 full, and there was no line to be seen from the exterior. Hmm. I hurried home, found my mud-caked better half in the backyard (he had opted to stay home to lay sod for the 2nd day in a row, long story) who told me to go ahead. Forget that I had a scooter ride I was supposed to be going on at 2:30. I ran back out the door, camera in hand, and sped back to the bookstore.

Once upstairs I realized the line wasn't too bad, maybe only 50-75 people in line ahead of me. I quickly made a friend in line, and the back and forth bantering and joke-cracking between us ended up being a great way to pass the time. (You can imagine the jokes to be made when you find yourself stuck in the "Death and Dying" section with all the assisted-suicide books. Seriously.) I soon began to tell my new friend in line what the newspaper had said about the turn-out, and how it was confirmed when I checked the fanpage on the Internet, where, sure enough, there were some commenters saying they were driving in from out-of-state. We both were laughing that there was even a person supposedly driving in 12 hours (one way, mind you). What was even more intriguing about this commenter on the website was that he described himself as a forty-something guy with long hair who loved listening to heavy metal music.

Do you know who's book signing we were standing in line for?

Oh yes, Kristin Chenoweth, my beloved "Olive Snook" from one of the greatest (and very under-appreciated) TV shows in a long while, "Pushing Daisies" (shame on you, ABC, shame on you). She is also a Broadway star, most notably from the musical "Wicked", has appeared in several movies such as the recent "Four Christmasses" with Reese Witherspoon, and several other TV shows including The West Wing, and now, of course, author must be added to her long resume as her book released this week, "A Little Bit Wicked".

So the whole idea of a heavy metal rockin' guy willing to drive 12 hours one way for a book signing by Kristin Chenoweth, well, it was pretty funny to think about. Of course, then my new friend was wondering, whoa, did that guy actually come? It seemed like mere seconds later that a Gene Simmons-ish character was spotted, and my brave friend went up to him and asked him point blank if he was from Wisconsin. He was a bit taken aback by the question, but turns out, it was the same guy. Lord have mercy.

My new friend and I were pretty pleased as punch at having discovered such an entertaining character. Rocker Dude even showed us his classical guitar he had brought with him to have her autograph as well. Apparently the guitar was named after her. Devotion? A bit creepy? You decide. Regardless, I totally believed that anyone who had gone to such great lengths to attend this book signing deserved to have their guitar autographed, but alas, this book signing was something out of a Seinfeld episode, much like the "Soup Nazi" episode, but in our case, the "Book Nazi's". (Keep in mind these were all bookstore employees, simply doing their job, I suppose, but it sure began to feel a bit over-the-top in a very short amount of time.)

Oh yes, during our 2+ hour stint in line we heard no less than 10 announcements over the store intercom about the "rules" of the book signing. Every person was only allowed to have one book signed -- there would be no extra items signed, i.e. pictures, CD's, DVD's, etc. (much to my dismay since I was hoping to have my "Pushing Daisies" DVD box set cover signed). No flash photography was allowed -- so we all had to turn the flashes off on our cameras. We were each given a post-it note to stick to the front of the book with the name we wanted inscribed. And we were not to stand behind the table with Ms. Chenoweth in the pictures. We were only reminded of these rules about 4,598 times. And there were no less than a dozen bookstore employees poised at the ready to confiscate any items not in the rules. They were watching us all like hawks, even though I was pretty sure I could take several of them down if I had to.

So, back to poor Rocker Dude. He drove a total of 24 hours to come to this, all for a mere 2 seconds passing through like cattle in front of her table, and no signature for the namesake guitar? No way. I encouraged our new friend to be sure and tell her how far he drove for this (again, devotion versus creepy, you decide) and hopefully she would do the right thing and sign the dang guitar. Sure enough, when it was his turn up to the table, he asked, and bless her heart, she obliged. (It made me smile especially to see the "Book Nazi's" holding his confiscated guitar have to pass it back over for Ms. Chenoweth to sign.) And I got a picture just for you, dear readers. I thought you would appreciate me including a picture of Rocker Dude with his prized (and newly christened) guitar.

(See? I told you, not exactly the stereotypical Kristin Chenoweth fan.)

It was soon my turn to go up to the table. After hours of waiting I actually had no idea what in the heck I would even say to her when I got up there. "I love you" seemed a bit strong; "Let's be best friends" seemed a bit psycho; all I managed to eek out was a very sincere "I'm still in denial about Pushing Daisies" (referring to it's early end), to which she replied, "You and me both, sister!" and gave me a big smile, followed by a "You look amazing in that color! I bet you wear that color all the time, don't you?". Seriously, I could have given her the biggest hug for that and skipped arm-in-arm with her out of the store into Best Friend Land forever, despite the "Book Nazi's" we would have had to fight off on the way out. She is just as warm and sincere in person as I hoped she would be. And so tiny! Most of my life I have gotten the comments about being so little, so tiny, blah blah blah (I'm about 5'1" or 5'2"), but I felt like a giant next to her. She's 4'11" and very petite. I felt like a dork leaning down and over the table for the picture (stupid "Book Nazi's", don't you know that it is not the most ideal pose for anyone?), but my heart was light and happy just the same as I strolled off, newly signed book in hand and picture on my camera.

Yay for spontaneous and unexpected days.


amylouwho said...

How fun! Thanks for making me smile! I love the rocker dude.

ps - you do look great in that color!

tag's team said...

How fun, I just read the paper about the signing and wished I was in town for it. I think she is so cute and talented. We had fun celebrating Papa's 90th though...

LauraJ said...

that was nice and heartwarming post!