I’d just like to apologize to David Sedaris for everything I did on World Book Night on Tuesday, but it was the pushy drunk gay guy’s fault.
I suppose I should start at the beginning, which–if I’m really fair–should also cast blame on author Dorothy Allison. I had the pleasure of eating lunch with Dorothy last summer. We were discussing conservative politicians and vibrators, as you typically do when you’re in conversation with a Southern writer and self-identified lesbian femme, when I had mentioned I had seen an infomercial for an intriguing exercise program on my flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles.
““I like the fact that it’s all cardio and resistance training, yet doesn’t require any equipment.”
““Oh, that’s the Insanity Workout!” In yet another example of the small world we live in, Dorothy’s partner works for Beach Body, the company that produces the Insanity Workout. Although Dorothy could care less whether I actually exercised along with the DVDs, she did encourage me to buy them, so she and her partner could continue to support their son, Wolf–and she’d appreciate it if I kept pushing copies of Bastard Out of Carolina to readers while I’m at it.
Well, I filed that way and didn’t really think about it again until a few weeks ago when I realized I was bored with the gym and running. I wanted something new, something challenging, something different. That’s when I saw the ad for the Insanity Workout and decided to order under one condition: I had to commit to doing the workouts six-days per week for the next sixty days.
Since Tuesday was World Book Night, I figured I’d better leave work a bit early, so I had time to complete it before I went to the bookstore. I was only three days into the Insanity Workout and figured it would be real easy to skive off, instead. Plus, after my shift at the bookstore and Jeff and I grabbed some dinner at Grant Central Pizza, I still needed to come home and blog for the next day and write three pages on my manuscript. I was a man with a plan and nothing would get in my way.
When I got home, however, I found my first obstacle. The contractor was at the house finishing up the punch list on the laundry room renovation, which is a perfectly reasonable thing to do–except I had to do my Insanity Workout. But I couldn’t do the Insanity Workout while someone was there. What if they saw me? Trying to make the best of the situation, I managed to write my blog post until it was time to go to the bookstore.
Later, when I explained my Insanity frustration to 2Fs, he would ask, “Why couldn’t you just do your workout with Brandon there?”
““You don’t understand,” I said. “This workout requires a lot of jumping and it sounds like a herd of dinosaurs stampeding across the hardwoods.”
““I don’t think Brandon would care.”
““Look, the truth of the matter is I don’t want anyone to see me exercising, okay? It’s like having someone walk on you in the middle of a prostate exam, while on your back, and administered by a young female doctor of Indian ancestry with a valley girl accent, okay?”
Wisely, Jeff let it go. I watched the bookstore and finished the bi-weekly e-newsletter, while he left to hand out free books to light and/or non readers for World Book Night.
After we closed and Jeff dawdled around doing something in the back room that just couldn’t wait, I wondered if I would manage to stay awake long enough to do my workout once I ever made it home. We finally made it to Grant Central and ordered our food. When we sat down, I decided to ask Jeff what was in the box he was carrying.
““They’re copies of Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris,” he said. “I thought we’d hand them out at Mary’s after dinner.” I physically restrained my hands to keep from smacking myself in the forehead. My schedule was getting further behind than a dentist’s office on a rainy afternoon.
““I don’t want to hand out books,” I said, trying to sound pleasant through gritted teeth.
““Then you can carry my box for me.” Jeff smiled. “You seem a bit tense.”
Luckily, our food arrived then, because it gave me something to chew.
For those who are unfamiliar with Mary’s, it’s a little bar in East Atlanta Village that Logo once named the friendliest gay bar in North America. Loaded with books, Jeff and I entered. Wouldn’t you know, I thought to myself, Tuesday is one of the few nights each week when Mary’s isn’t smoke-free.
It was also karaoke night.
I staked out a corner with the box of books, and Jeff went from customer to customer, handing copies of Me Talk Pretty One Day. That’s when the drunk gay guy staggered up to me and thrust in my face a black Sharpie and copy of the book opened to the title page.
““Here, I want you to sign this for me,” he slurred.
““I didn’t write the book,” I said.
““It doesn’t matter, just write ‘For my friend Kevin.’”
I sighed and scratched the words out on the title page, then handed it back to him.
““No, you have to sign your name!”
““But I’m not David Sedaris,” I said.
““It doesn’t matter, just sign it.”
Now, I could have easily signed David Sedaris’ name, but it was dishonest. Plus, what if Kevin ever tried to pass this book off as signed copy? On the other hand, I didn’t want to sign my name, because … well, it was a lot like having someone walk in on you in the middle of a prostate exame by a young female doctor of Indian ancestry with a valley girl accent.
I took a deep breath and considered what would be the perfect name to sign a copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day for a drunk guy in a gay bar on World Book Night. Then something came to me and I laughed. I signed the book and handed it back to the drunk guy. He took one look at it and slurred, “Perfect!”
Once we finished and were walking back up the street to the bookstore, I told Jeff about what happened and how it drove home that although it’s good to be disciplined and have a schedule, it’s also good to be flexible and maintain a sense of humor aboute life.
““So, how did you sign the book?” 2Fs asked.
““‘Love, always. Peter Coxswain.’”