With only one more weekend of personal appearances on the docket -- next weekend in Seattle -- it seems like an appropriate time to look back fondly on some of the conversations I had with America's brightest minds...
1. Chicago, IL
The scene: I'm sitting in a sushi restaurant, which is, apparently, the hot place to go for lake-side sushi dining in Chicago judging by the model-like humans buzzing about. Just like the previous sushi restaurant I visited -- also supposedly the hot place to go for lake-side sushi dining -- this restaurant for some reason doesn't feature real tables or chairs.
The conceit: For some fucking reason, people keep dragging me to sushi restaurants in Chicago, which would be great provided I actually liked sushi which, for the most part, I do not, especially since if I wanted sushi, I'd probably want it from a restaurant relatively near the ocean. So I'm cranky.
The conversation players: Me and the hot thang seating people.
Me: Would it be possible to get a table with actual chairs and, you know, a table.
Me: I'd like a table, an actual table, not an ottoman. Is that possible?
Me: No it's not possible, or no you don't have tables.
Thang: It would be an hour to two hour wait for a new table.
Me: Well, see, that's the thing. I don't want a new table, I just want a table. One with chairs, preferably. We've got ten people here and we're sitting on the floor.
Thang: I'm not understanding you.
Me: That's not my fault, clearly.
2. St. Louis
The scene: 15 people eating dinner and having drinks in an Irish pub, some 15 minutes after my booksigning. The only person I actually know has somehow been shoved into an opposite corner of the restaurant and I am now sitting beside a very large and chatty man.
The conceit: I'm tired, having just flown in from California, and a little crazed from lack of real food. I'm also kind of wondering why all these people agreed to meet for dinner after my signing, but only half of them actually came to my signing, preferring instead to sit in said pub quaffing beer.
The conversation players: Me and chatty large man.
Chatty: So you live in Los Angeles?
Me: No, actually I live in the desert outside of LA. Near Palm Springs.
Chatty: My ex-wife has a house in Indian Wells.
Me: I live just down the street from there.
Chatty: She has a really great house, you know, just fabulous. Her new husband is very nice, actually, and that's really excellent.
Chatty: I've been down their before, back when my wife -- my ex-wife -- was publishing her Patrick Swayze fan magazine.
Me: Your wife published a Patrick Swayze fan magazine?
Me: So she published it after you were divorced?
Chatty: Oh, no, while we were married, too.
Chatty: Oh, yeah. We went to LA but we never saw Patrick Swayze. We wanted to see where his ranch was and everything, but no one seemed to know where it was and so we just gave up after a while.
Me: I know exactly where it is. [I actually do -- it's a long story, just trust me that I do]
Chatty: Really? Would you be able to tell my wife -- my ex-wife -- how to get there? I could call her, or maybe you could call her when you get back to town? I could give you her number.
Me: Yeah...uh, no... I really don't know the exact directions anymore. It's been a real long time.
Chatty: She's still a real devoted fan. It would mean so much if she got to see it.
Me: Yeah, well, yeah. Now, Roadhouse, that was a helluva movie.
3. Las Vegas
The scene: I'm rollin deep in my mother-in-law's Lexus [again, a long story, but rest assured a boring one] in a car filled with authors attempting to find an easy way to navigate the Las Vegas strip while one author received the "slow crush" from his girlfriend, another author berated me for liking a student he hates, another author tried to open a window that would not open and deemed it anti-Semitic and while much candy was passed around, in addition to Luna bars (there was a lot of traffic from downtown to the buffet and people we're hungry).
The conceit: I've never had anyone chant my name in God-like or Darryl Strawberry like fashion.
The conversation players: a passel of writers.
Me: How about giving Goldberg some props for driving you stoned motherfuckers to dinner tonight?
Female Writer Performing Slow Crush: Did you just speak of yourself in 3rd person?
Me: Yes. Later, I will speak of myself in 2nd person and it will be met by much confusion and pretention.
Candy Author: I give you your props, Goldberg. I'm getting the slow crush and giving you all the credit.
Me: I'd like to get a little chant going then. Like, you know, Goldberg Rules, Goldberg Rules. Something like that.
(Car begins chanting. It doesn't sound right.)
Me: How about just my last name, sort of Sun God like.
(Car begins chanting Goldberg in deep, glorious tones. Again, it sounds wrong.)
Me: How about like how the Braves fans used to do it?
French Named Author Who Thinks His Window Is Anti-Jew: That chant got them into quite a bit of hot water with the Native American community. It's very disingenuous to how the actual Native Americans of the area sounded and I find it, personally, offensive.
(Chanting begins. Sounds pretty bad ass.)
Me: During that period, I would have fucked Dave Justice simply because of that chant.
Author Who I Slept The Entire Month of October With: Oh, christ, Justice sucked. Now Dale Murphy, he was a player who just was brilliant -- I mean, fucking brilliant -- and then it all went. Kind of like Darryl Strawberry, but if Darryl were Mormon and white.
Me: I'll take the Darryl chant.
(Car erupts in Golllllldbbbberrrrrrg.....Golllllldbbbberrrrrrg...Golllllldbbbberrrrrrg...and a legend is born.)
4. Los Angeles & La Quinta, via the telephone
The scene: I'm talking to my brother on the phone about an upcoming signing in a neighboring city.
The conceit: My brother and I have signed at every single bookstore in California at one time or another and can, therefore, predict within five the number of people who will attend an event.
The conversation players: Me and Lee.
Lee: What time is your signing?
Me: I dunno, 7. Something like that.
Lee: You do realize that not a soul is going to show up for this.
Me: No, I've been assured that lots of advertising has been done, that shit was on the newsletter, it was in the paper. Everywhere. I bet there are 15 people waiting for me when I get out of my car.
Lee: I've been in that store a dozen times in the last year and do you know how many people I've seen?
Me: I have no idea.
Lee: That's right, because you can't count a negative number. I've always been the only person in there and that's when I'm just shopping. The last time I signed there, the woman behind the counter read me her rhyming erotic poetry for an hour.
Me: You under estimate my drawing power. I bet they have pre-sales of, like, 30.
Lee: You'll be back and blogging about fucktards by 7:45.
(Total visitors to signing: 1. Total books sold: 0)