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My Failed Attempts to Look Smart in Front of David Sedaris

April 13, 2013

I went to see David Sedaris at The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts last night. I was so excited to see him read again, and this time just around the corner from my condo.

The first time I heard Sedaris read, I made the trip from Toronto to Ottawa. One of my friends went with me as she had friends in the area with whom she wanted to visit. It worked out for me because it meant I didn’t have to pay for a hotel. As it turns out, her friends were pretty cool people and we had entirely too much fun that weekend. My friend did not originally intend to go to the reading so I didn’t bother buying her a ticket. She changed her mind the night of, however, and off we went.

“I’m not sure if there will be any tickets left,” I warned as we pulled into the underground parking lot.

“He’s an author, D.C.. Just because you worship him doesn’t mean he’s going to have a sold out show.”

My friend had decided last minute to attend, and then had to spend valuable time on hair and make up so we arrived with just a few minutes to spare. I rushed to the ticket agent, dragging my demonstrably less than enthused friend behind me.

“Can I trade my super awesome fourth row centre ticket for two lesser ones next to each other?”

“Hmm…we don’t have much left. Let me check.”

“Don’t have much left?” exclaimed my friend loud enough to have a few glances shoot our way. “He’s an author.”

“Okay,” said the ticket girl, pulling out a seating chart and pointing to two seats at the very back corner. “We have these two seats here. I don’t think you’ll be happy with them but they’re pretty much an even exchange.”

My heart plummeted into my stomach. “No, I really hope we can do a little better than that. I’ll pay the difference if I can get something that is somewhere in the middle of my seat and those ones.”

“I’m having a hard time finding two next to each other….” The lights started to flash and my hairline started to prickle. A vision of David Sedaris pausing his conversation to glare at us as we made our way to our shitty seats popped into my head.

“Is there something wrong with your lighting?” asked my friend, again way too loudly.

“It means the show’s about to start,” I responded quietly. “I’ll take the ones in the back if there’s nothing else.”

“Wait, how about these? They’re not centre but they might do.”

“Sure,” I said, glancing at the seating chart. I silently kissed my fourth row centre seat goodbye and pulled out my wallet.

“That will be Eighty four dollars*, please.”

“Eight four dollars to see a writer I’ve never even heard of?” My friend’s eyebrows shot up.

“It’s okay,” I said. “I’m paying.”

“It’s not the money, it’s the principle.”

“Look, I just really want to go inside before he gets on stage, okay? It would be so rude to come in late.”

“Fine, but I can pay for myself.” She started digging around in her massive purse. And digging. And digging. I could feel little beads of sweat popping forth on several parts of my body.

“I have my wallet out already. Please just let me pay.”

The lights ceased flashing and I just stopped myself from letting out a groan.

The ticket agent looked at me pityingly, and then at my friend, who was now pulling items out her purse and placing them on the wicket shelf. “Hey,” she said. “I’ve got great news. The governor’s box just opened up. We have to keep it open until the lights stop flashing.” She handed me two tickets. “You better hurry, there’s no time to pay. Just go in.”

“Oh. My. God. I fucking love you.” I nearly shouted. She smiled at us, waving in the direction we were supposed to go.

After the show, which was so so excellent, I stood in line to have David Sedaris sign my books. I had almost all of them with me so I gave half of them to my friend. By the time we got to the front of the line I was so nervous to meet him. There was no reason for it, really. He is not an imposing character at all. In fact he was so nice.

“Do you know any good jokes?” he asked.

“Yes, but I’m too nervous to think of them right now. Will you sign my books? I have a lot of them so I gave my friend half. You can just sign them all to my name though. Except Holidays On Ice. That one can be made out to Chelsea. She loves you. She lives in Seattle and I’m sending this to her for a Christmas present. That’s Chelsea. C-H-E-um- L-S -um-E-A. ”

“Do you eat pizza?” He asked, interrupting my rambling as he signed my books. I had already written out both Chelsea’s name and my own so it was completely unnecessary for me to spell anything out.

“Pizza?” I repeated stupidly. “Yeah, I guess so. Sometimes. Not really. I eat pizza…on occasion.”

“When’s the last time you ate pizza and where?”

I racked my brain. When was the last time I had pizza? Maybe a year ago? Why has it been so long since I ate pizza? It’s a perfectly good food option. I mean not the healthiest but who doesn’t order pizza for take out every so often…

“Um, at the grocery store by my house,” I finally answered. “There’s a bar in there so I ate pizza and had a beer before I did my grocery shopping.”

“There’s a bar in the grocery store by your house? That’s incredible.”

“Yeah, it’s handy, I guess.”

“What’s the name of this grocery store?”



Yes, Longo’s. It’s a chain.”

“We don’t have anything like that outside of London. Okay here are your books…and Chelsea’s.”

“Thank you so much!”

My friend stepped up and placed my books in front of him.  “Here’s the rest of her books. I didn’t bring any books because I never heard of you before. I mean, um, I haven’t read any of your books….I’m sure I will now after tonight. You’re funny. I don’t know any jokes.”

“Why are you nervous,” I hissed in her ear. “You don’t even know who he is.”

“I don’t know,” she whispered back. “I feel like such an idiot, right now. What the hell is going on? Why do you own so many of his books?”

“You wouldn’t ask that if you read any of them.”

David (I can call him David instead of David Sedaris now that we’ve exchanged pleasantries) smiled warmly and handed back the books.

“Thanks again,” I said, feeling like an idiot.

“Yeah, thanks,” my friend mumbled, obviously feeling like an idiot, too.

So let’s go back to last night. The night when I would hopefully have a chance to redeem myself, not that he’d remember our past interaction in a thousand years. I went to the reading alone. I arrived early and ordered a gin and soda from the bar to take to my seat. I listened to his hilarious stories, laughing out loud throughout and afterwards I stepped in line with my two remaining unsigned David Sedaris books. I felt myself getting a little nervous again but this time I came armed with witty banter and an arsenal of jokes. Jokes like…Wait. My mind drew a blank. Well never mind the jokes. I had still had witty banter.

Witty banter, like when I sent Chelsea the Holidays on Ice and she called me to thank me and then she asked why did I sign it, though?

“I didn’t sign it, you goofball. David Sedaris signed it.”

“Oh my God, David Sedaris signed, Dear Chelsea, I hate that I missed you?

“You think that’s good, he signed one of mine with a drawing of an elephant and another with the suggestion we eat pizza  at Longo’s next time he’s in town.”

“What’s a Longo’s?”

“It’s a grocery store with a bar in it. It’s just around the corner from me.”

“There’s a bar in the grocery store by your house? That’s incredible.”

“That is word for word what he said.”

Yeah, that’s kind of a witty and banterish. Or maybe it wasn’t…I was having a hard time deciding because I suddenly felt hot and sweaty and, well, a little sick. Why did I feel sick? Was it something I ate? My mind went back to what I ate that day. Which was nothing. It was one of those days spent running from meeting to meeting and food had just completely slipped my mind and now it was 9:30 at night and the only thing in my stomach was a gin and soda. A wave of nausea and dizziness washed over me. I started to teeter a little. But this doesn’t make sense, I’ve gone a day without eating before…what did I eat yesterday? I realized I hadn’t eaten much the day before, either, Just a rainbow roll for dinner and now, at the most inopportune time, my lack of food had caught up with me…I stumbled a little, desperately in need of fresh air and a glass of water.

I left the line up and headed outside. Breathing in the fresh, icy air I almost immediately felt better. Well, maybe I could just step to the back of the line, get my two books signed, and then go get something to eat? I went back inside, made it two steps in the cloying heat and felt dizzy again. Hauling ass back outside, I took a few deep breaths and hailed a cab.

Obviously it was not my night to get my books signed by David Sedaris. It was, however, my night to go to the bar at the Longo’s and eat some fucking pizza.



*I can’t remember the exact amount so I just plugged in a number here.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2013 12:46 am

    That friend doesn’t sound like fun! But it’s so cool you got to meet David Sedaris!!!

    • April 14, 2013 1:12 am

      She’s usually a lot of fun. She was just in the wrong setting, I think. But yeah, if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have go into that governor’s box so at least I have that….and meeting him, of course. Yay me!!!

  2. April 14, 2013 12:50 am

    Sunday coffee and a D C tale always makes me smile.X

  3. juliabarrett permalink
    April 15, 2013 1:38 am

    Best story of the week!

  4. April 17, 2013 6:07 am

    Awesome post DC – I could totally relate, I’m a Sedaris freak! 😉

    • April 23, 2013 6:11 pm

      He’s coming back to Toronto for a book signing next month. I hear that third time’s a charm. 🙂


  1. Meeting David Sedaris: Third Time is Not a Charm | D.C. McMillen

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