I have to admit it. I'm still a little giddy. I thought it was pretty cool when she links to your blog. That's nothing compared to when she actually speaks to you. And thinks you're funny. O...M....G.
I'm not usually the star-struck type. Never, really. I've even stopped going to book signings. After Meg Tilly looked at me like I was crazy and Susan Vreeland wrote something snide in my book insinuating I hadn't been paying enough attention to her (though I should note that Oscar Hijuelos is very, very nice) I just didn't want anymore shattered dreams of how cool I think authors really are. But I just couldn't miss out on seeing Stephanie Pearl-McPhee while she was in town.
This is not a great picture of her. It's a terrible picture of her, in fact. She's cute and animated and this picture looks like she's eating the microphone and not enjoying it. I post it only to demonstrate the folly of whoever arranged for her to be out in the stacks in front of the western-facing windows at 7pm. The sun was in her eyes. It was in the eyes of everyone in the first 3 rows. (Yes, I demonstrated very un-spinsterlike behavior by sitting in the front row instead of hiding my bulk somewhere in the back.) But she didn't say word about it. Classy, that woman is.
She is one of the funniest women I've ever seen. I know she probably gives the same speech everywhere she goes, and that it's really a performance for her more than a conversation with 100 people, but it just seems so spontaneous that you forget. I haven't laughed that much in a long time. Even the poor professional-camera-guy-from-the-library cracked a smile once in a while. The deer-in-headlights look went away after about 15 minutes. He was tough to crack but she managed it.
Then it was time for the signing. Obviously this signing wasn't a big deal for Left Bank, since they'd run out of books early on. When I'd gotten mine last weekend the clerk didn't even know what I was talking about, even though the signing was in 3 days. Again, the knitters are underestimated.
So, as I'm in line, I'm struggling to decide if I want to mention the sock I sent her last year with some books to be signed. Will she remember? Will she have to be nice because it was one of those hideous things that people send? Will I gush and sound so stupid and stalkerish and scary that she dismisses any conversation to get me to go away? Nah. She remembered, then even told the story to one of the, ok, THE knitting guild guy standing next to her. She thought it was funny. She thinks I'm funny. Squee! I still gushed and spoke as if English is my second language and it's all really fuzzy now, that 30 seconds, but I'm still so glad that I went and that I talked to her instead of cowering in my plus-sized shell of shyness and distance in my cave of an apartment.
Then, driving home, it struck me. The sock. She'd taken my picture with the sock. And I hadn't even looked at it. I remember how it felt, all the tiny stitches in my fingers as I held it up. It was blue. It was on metal needles. But I didn't comment on it, show it any appreciation. Damn. I am such a bad groupie. I hold the work of one of the world's best-known knitters and I say nothing about it at all. For shame, Spinster. For shame.