Friday, December 22, 2006

For life is quite absurd

Continued from yesterday's Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

It's 11:15 now, and I finally have that beer in front of me. I'm still waiting for Neil Gaiman, and expecting Vladimir to come along any moment and say, "Alors, on y va?" but it hasn't been dull. There was a jocular interlude earlier during which the entire kitchen and wait staff was in the alley, having just pants and pied one of their own, for reasons I can only imagine but don't care to. During the melee one of the waitresses stood close enough to me that I was finally able to nab her for a pint.

Neil — I hope he doesn't mind me referring to him by his first name — is probably still signing autographs. The man to whom I gave my Gaiman-destined note an hour and a half ago said he expected it to go until midnight. He had the aura of a professor, and it was evident he was the organizer of tonight's event. He had introduced Neil, and now it seemed, from the sounds of the conversation I'd been eavesdropping on between him and the security guard, he was also personally acquainted with Neil.

"Excuse me," I'd said, not needing to trip him to get his attention. He was a good two inches taller than me, and I was wearing boots with three inch heels. Aside from this man and the security guard, I was the only person at the back of the room. The other 500 people were in line, waiting to get an autograph. "Do you really think it will go until midnight," I asked him, "Or will you cut it off at some point?"

Professor Estragon looked at me with that special kind of disdain usually reserved for managers of rock stars when dealing with groupies. Don't ask me how I know that.

"I can't say for sure," he replied, "But I know Neil likes to give his fans what they ask for. He's probably writing names. It could easily take until midnight, or even longer."

The marked emphasis with which he pronounced Neil Gaiman's name, first name only, was clearly meant to tell me in no uncertain terms that he spoke for the author, and that he wished, on behalf of both of them, that I'd toddle along. He had an air of impatience about him, which was quite understandable in the circumstances. I wasn't the least bit offended, since I had no way of knowing that two weeks later I'd encounter him again in a professional setting.

I suspected he was dreading I might ask him a favour, so I asked him a favour: "If I leave, thereby reducing the size of the crowd by one, would you do something for me?"

His eyes widened in terror, so I persisted. "Would you give this to Neil for me?" I handed him the note.

"Are you kidding?" the professor exclaimed. He nearly blew me down with his sigh of relief. "That's all you want me to do? Of course! I'll do it right now."

I had no doubt that he would, he had been that relieved that I hadn't asked for any sort of special treatment. Though as I told you yesterday, Gentle Reader, Neil and I have a relationship, it is not of the sort that would justify me butting into that queue in front of 500 rabid fans. I was quite content to leave, then, knowing that the tall, irritated man would give Neil my note, and reasonably certain that Neil would read it at some point, and that he would know that Postmodern Sass had been in the audience to hear him read a chapter from his future children's story, The Graveyard Book. We had bonded, even though I was the only one of the two of us aware of it.

My best case scenario was that he'd look at my note at the end of the signing, and think to himself, yes, a beer would be just the thing right now, but remembering that when the tall man had introduced Neil, he had mentioned something about Neil having to fly out early the next morning, I didn't have my hopes up.

Which is why I told you yesterday I was giving it a five percent chance.

Back at Gordon Biersch, two hours and two Märzens later, I was engrossed in conversation with a fascinating young man named Benyamin — "That's Hebrew for strength of my heart" — but that's another story.

The next day I read on Neil's blog how he'd flown to London to meet with Terry Gilliam, and I forgave him for not calling me, because even I would blow me off for Terry Gilliam, I mean, who wouldn't? And the morning after that, I found this message in my email inbox, from Neil Gaiman himself:
the biggest problem with handing authors things to read during signings, is the things only get read days later and thousands of miles away. But then, the signing went on until midnight, and I had a 6.00am pickup...

Ah well. (Always send people things before signings. Trust me on this. In the madness of that line, if it didn't say HELP I AM BEING HELD PRISONER on it it wasn't going to get read...)

love and apologies

n


Next, Postmodern Sass climbs into a magical chariot and travels to the land of Hanah Lee for Christmas.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Not-quite-meeting-Neil Sass.

I met him last year, and he is charm personified and proof that nice guys can make it to the top.

The trick is to meet him BEFORE the reading/signing event.

12/22/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He said love and apologies!!!

12/22/2006  
Blogger Murky Thoughts said...

He's just not that into you.

12/22/2006  
Anonymous Razzamatazz said...

If the man to whom you gave your Gaiman-destined note had the aura of a professor,what did the poor professor do for an aura? People should leave other people's auras alone.

12/23/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't seem like the "groupie" type. But, what do I know? I just met you a couple of minutes ago.

Well, that's not entirely true. I just read your blog and that is not exactly like meeting you.

You may not even exist. I mean, I know you exist, otherwise there wouldn't have been those words on my computer to read. The personna-- the one you call Sass-- may not exist.

Am I making any sense? No, I guess not...

12/23/2006  
Blogger Postmodern Sass said...

Dick: I just tried to comment on your blog but it wouldn't allow me to, so I hope you come back here. I love a great pseudonym; drop by any time. And you're right: I wasn't a groupie.

12/23/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great story, even if I am now scrambling to catch up to what it all means

12/23/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I was saying earlier....

Gaiman, by the way, asks us not to break the internet while he's away for Christmas.

Fool. Does really imagine we can't climb on a chair to reach it?

12/24/2006  
OpenID pantagruel said...

That's a great story, Postmodern Sass. I have a vaguely similar one of my own, though I didn't post Neil's email to me. So did your correspondence continue?

2/26/2008  

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