Sunday, August 12, 2007

SFSNNJ Trip Report

I really, really like microphones. Give me a microphone, and I can talk for hours. Who would have ever guessed this about me? I certainly never knew. I was that kid who wouldn't sleep the night before she had to make an announcement in middle school assembly. (And we won't even talk about the time my high school chem teacher made us wear our lab goggles and sing that Elements song by Tom Lehrer in front of the ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL. Cruel. Just cruel. I still twitch when I think about it.) Point is that I'm not a naturally brave person. I'm not the kind of person that you'd think would like being put in front of an audience and given a microphone. Ask my husband -- I still make him call to order pizza. (What if they start yelling at me? What if I accidentally order extra cheese? Seriously, extra cheese throws the whole sauce-to-cheese ratio off. And don't get me started on white pizza. I'm sorry, but that's just pizza where someone forgot a key ingredient.)

But I digress. What I'd started to tell you was that on Saturday night, the lovely people at the Borders in the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, NJ, trusted me with a microphone as I was standing in the middle of their store reading from Into the Wild. Mwah-ha-ha-ha...

The power, the awesome power!

Maybe I should explain the setting a little better... I was the guest speaker at the Science Fiction Society of Northern New Jersey's "Face the Fiction" series, held at Borders Books & Music inside the largest mall I've ever been to.

Seriously. This was a BIG mall. We had to park in Pennsylvania and take an airplane to reach the mall entrance. From there, a Sherpa helped carry our bags across the six miles of Abercrombe stores...

Okay, I'm exaggerating. There were only three miles of Abercrombe stores. The rest were Abercrombe & Fitch.

Oh, another thing that was particularly cool about this mall (aside from the fact that it was large enough to have an entire Borders store inside it!) was that in the Food Court, they had this iridescent tile wall. It was the prettiest mall wall I'd ever seen. I told my husband that it looked like mermaid scales. We then proceeded to calcuate how many mermaids had gone into this wall. This then led to several "tastes like chicken" jokes as we finished our dinner...

But back to the event.

It was held smack-dab in the center of the store. Chairs were set up audience-style, and then at 8pm, the people from SFSNNJ introduced me, and I read the first scene of Into the Wild.

I did not have the microphone at this point. And my voice was not happy about that. If you read my prior post about Eduardo, you'd know that I've been burning the candle at both ends (not literally -- my mother told me not to play with fire) and so of course I've been sick for the last week and a half. Hearing this, the super-nice people at SFSNNJ coordinated with the super-nice Borders manager Robin to set up a microphone for me.

Hee, hee, hee.

I didn't sing, not even the Tom Lehrer song, but boy, was it tempting. I did, however, talk for a while, read another scene, and talk for a while more.

And you know what the best part is? People laughed. Really. They laughed at my jokes.

Whenever this sort of thing happens, I always have to fight the urge to ask, "Are you laughing with me or at me? Or is there a giant chicken mooning you directly behind me?"

Seriously, though, they gave me that mic, and it was like something clicked inside me. I felt like I clicked on the second that mic clicked on. And I had such a tremendously good time. Unlike singing the Elements song in lab goggles, it was really, really fun. I loved every second.

As I talked, more and more people kept coming over to listen, filling the chairs and the aisles. And then after I finished and after I'd signed books and such... the lovely people at SFSNNJ asked me to read and talk MORE. How cool is that? Okay, maybe they do that for everyone, but still, if I'd been awful, I don't think they would have asked, right?

So I read another scene and talked some more. At 10pm, it was time for the store to close. And I spent the whole way home discussing the awesomeness of the evening with my husband and debating the number of mermaids that went into that tile wall.

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At 10:26 PM, Blogger Sookie said...

Oh! That was pure hilarity!
Wow--I would have died if my biology teacher did anything of the sort...

At 10:27 PM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Sookie: It is one of those memories that figures prominently in my nightmares... :)


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