Before I left for work Monday afternoon, I called David at the warehouse to decide whether or not to take Tuck to work with me (I did) and just to check in, since he's usually home when I'm leaving. One of the first things he said to me when I called was, "You need to make sure you don't get home too late tomorrow, because we might have plans. And you're not allowed to ask any questions." I'm kind of used to his surprises and not the type generally to get to wound up about it, so I dutifully didn't ask any questions other than, "What time is 'not too late'?" He told me by 6PM, which is usually quite doable even when I feel the need to sleep at the clinic, and so I went along to work knowing something was in store.
Fast forward to this morning, when it was snowing and the roads were getting a bit slick right at rush hour, and I was dead, dragging tired. I did the prudent thing and took a nap at the clinic, after calling home to check in and let David know I wasn't heading home right away. Plus I confirmed again the "home by 6PM" plan still stood.
When I woke up from my nap in the afternoon, however, I checked my e-mail and saw one from David saying that we needed to be leaving the house by 5:45PM and wearing nice-ish casual clothes for an evening out. So suddenly getting home by 6PM had turned into home, ready, and heading back out the door by 5:45PM, with me unshowered and leaving the clinic with no time to spare. Eep!
So I rushed home, called ahead to have David pick me out some appropriate clothing, and still took a shower (since I was in no condition to be seen in public otherwise). And then we started driving. All he would tell me was that we were heading to Manchester, New Hampshire, about an hour away, and asked if I had ID and my cell phone. Then as we neared Manchester, he got a phone call from an unidentified source and began discussing a meeting place.
I ran down a mental list of possibilities and had a bit of a short list of who the mystery person(s) could be, so I wasn't terribly surprised when it turned out to be his production manager, Christine, along with her husband, Michael. At the rendezvous point (Taco Bell), they hopped into our car and I was informed that we would be heading from there to Concord, the state capital another half hour away.
After we got back on the road, Christine let slip that she had just talked to her brother. This was a huge clue. Christine is originally from Buffalo, and her brother Art runs a nightclub there and has a second business as a concert promoter. He's a very well-connected guy, and Christine has all kinds of stories about the famous people she's met through him. Anyway, I knew that Art had promoted a show once before in Concord, for someone I'm a longtime fan of. So when we got off the freeway and approached the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, I was not at all shocked to see the name David Sedaris on the marquee.
Since Art was the promoter for this event, we had comp tickets for the show, which was especially nice given our current budget crunch. The best part, though, is that we all went out to dinner together afterwards. I got to spend an hour in a restaurant seated across from one of my favorite authors.
I actually saw Sedaris do a reading once before, back when I lived in Pittsburgh. I went with my friend Eve, and we waited afterwards for well over an hour in a very long line to get my books signed. Because of the sheer number of people, he had very little time to chit-chat and could only really make a brief inscription and sign the books, but he had a little rubber stamp with him and stamped each book when he opened it with something in Thai. I was told later that the word translates as "Inspected". He told me at dinner that he got the stamp from an office supply store in Bangkok and plans to do the same in Tokyo.
One of the things I always wonder about celebrities is whether they're genuine or if they've let it all go to their heads. The few I've met have generally been decent people, which is always nice to see, and David Sedaris doesn't seem to be an exception to that. The dinner conversation ranged all over - from the phenomenon of people constantly misremembering that my David and I are from the Norths (Dakota and Carolina, respectively) when we're actually from the Souths, to learning new languages, to kids vs. pets, to his irritation at Hugh painting his office lavender while he was away on a book tour - and I found the author to be quite delightful company.
It was, I think, the best surprise ever.
p.s., if there are any Torontonians reading this, he'll be doing a reading at Massey Hall Wednesday night (That's tonight!).