Pretty much everyone I’m connected to is aware of my obsession with David Sedaris, whom I consider the greatest non-fiction writer of our time. I have been a fan since college, have gobbled up all of his personal essays, and was first in line to his southern Arizona reading two years ago, so it should come as no surprise that I was the first person to arrive at his Brooklyn signing last night.
A little before the sold-out show, Sedaris waved me over and said, “Hi! You’re the first one here!”
“Cool! I was also the first person at your Tucson appearance in 2010,” I recalled, sounding like less of a college fangirl and more of a pseudo adult loser nerd.
“That’s great,” he replied. “And you live here now?”
That was when the complaining began. Out of nowhere, I lamented about New York City dreariness, which is all too reminiscent of London. It’s May and yet our days are gloomy, gross, and uninspiring. Sedaris didn’t need to hear my travails, but as a rather negative writer and individual himself (why I love him), he’s a good ear for venting. And he’s heard a lot worse than my gripes.
“Yeah, but I’m actually struggling to adapt to the temperature,” I said. “I’m solar-powered, coming from Tucson and the west coast.”
“You know, I’ve never been friends with the sun. That’s a good book title. ‘Friends With the Sun,’” he said.
And then he presented me with this in my embattled copy of “Holidays On Ice,” which survived a punch flood at the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party that Carolyn, Hang, Jessica, and I threw during our final year at UA:
He has surely already forgotten about granting me that title, but I never will. I can say, however, that last night marked the end of my David Sedaris signing attendances. It was our third meeting, and having already told him that he’s my ultimate idol and that I’ve been the first person in line at two of his showings, I think I need to express my adoration for him in another way, which is through writing my own Sedaris-esque essays. No more bombarding him with my energy and over-eagerness. He already told me I was enchanting once. I just can’t go up from there.
Thankfully, he did confirm to me that he’s working on another non-fiction book. Before I said farewell to my favorite author, I said, “Wait, you’re not done with non-fiction, are you? Your non-fiction is just so incredible.”
“Nope, I have another non-fiction book in the pipe,” he said. “I’m going to read from it tonight.”
“Good, because the stories about your family are unbelievable.”
I’m sad to report that I was pretty down last night, even with Sedaris in front of me. The cloudy skies and rain, which aren’t going to improve anytime soon, rile me up daily. I’m starting to think I just can’t do this New York thing year-round and that I should weigh my options once my lease is up in two years. I always want to have an apartment here but would prefer to freelance from California October through April. There’s no way I can endure these cold spells long-term. The city is wonderful, the restaurants never fail to satisfy me, and the creative atmosphere is quite frankly incomparable, but the weather is hurting me in more than one way. My joints are aching and I’m grouchier than I’ve ever been. In layman’s terms, I’m not myself. I really haven’t been since moving back east in fall 2010. Maybe I just need more time to acclimate. Every time I visit warm locations, however, I’m reminded that day-to-day life does not have to be a never-ending war with the seasons.
On the other hand, I could learn something else from Sedaris, who has worked every odd job imaginable and knows much more about character building than I ever will. He has lived in numerous locations, including North Carolina and ever so dark London (where he currently resides, no wonder he’s not into sunlight!), so if he can find success and peace in chilly places, I can certainly do the same. Next time I feel like griping about NYC weather for the umpteenth time, I’ll channel Sedaris and act as if the sun is not my friend. Because it really isn’t. As a pale redhead, I should know this by now!