Chaos Attraction

The Whole Family Sees David Sedaris

2018-05-09, 8:48 p.m.

I spent the day in a public speaking workshop at work. I assume we should have been working on some work presentation, but I don’t have any going on right now (though I might do one in the future, we haven’t super worked on it yet beyond my writing up notes on fun things about faked documents), so I instead worked on the next time I do a storytelling event. I brought my paperwork that I wrote up years ago on my old roommate’s unspayed cat sexually harassing me, and I rewrote it a bit and performed it. We also talked about whether or not I can swear while doing it. I assume I probably cannot since storytelling isn’t exactly an 18-and-over event, but at one point in the story I was literally yelling at the cat that I cannot fuck her, and can I say that? I think we eventually conceded to say “boink” instead on that bit, and otherwise use cute euphemisms whenever possible.

I also had to do an impromptu talk during the class and did mine on the Intergalactic Expo, which to me was a whole lot more interesting than literally almost everyone else talking about their European vacations. They weren’t National Lampoonish so I wasn’t too into that personally! But it was an all day long class and it was a fun day. I like the instructor and she’s always fun to take classes with. Apparently an issue with me is that I don’t want to go around making eye contact (I am not super thrilled at that happening to me and I think it’s a bit distracting to go around eyeballing someone while talking), but otherwise they don’t “connect” with you. Sigh.

After that I met up with Jackie, who came up here to see David Sedaris yet again. (previous time here) We went out for Japanese food and then went to the theater and waited in the book signing line. Mom and Roger (I forget when I last mentioned this, but they were coming up here for the show, I made sure to get tickets next to each other) arrived fairly late-ish and went in to sit down. Sedaris himself showed up fairly late but since we were second and third in line, we got ours signed early. He asked Jackie who she hates (something I found out later he was doing more than once), and wrote something about that on her book. Meanwhile, in a whopping moment of irony, the coworker that hates me most was also at the show and I had to keep pretending I didn’t see her all night long. Sigh. You know, it’s a shame she decided to hate me since she originally wanted to be friends and we have things in common, but… well, she made that choice and I gotta live with it.

Jackie said last time he was here he said nobody ever asked him how much he makes, so she did and he said $44k for this, $94k at the Kennedy Center. (The more you know…) As for my autograph, he wrote down “Why don’t you run around in my ass,” which is, according to him, some Swedish saying. I was very amused. Jackie bought Theft by Finding for my mom's birthday and got it autographed (he was normal about it), and when she mentioned why, he dug out some soap from the hotel and gave it to her. Aww!

After we got books signed, we sat down with Mom and Roger, and Jackie and Roger mostly talked about her current job at a big ol’ tech company. I was nervous about that one but it seemed okay at the time.

I attempted to take notes during the show, but since writing in the dark is sketchy, so are my notes.

When Sedaris made it on stage, he said, “I just wanted to walk you through my outfit.” He got annoyed at me saying something about his outfit < a href="">years ago, but seriously, his dress sense is definitely getting stranger, y’all. His shirt was cut out in the back and went down to his knees, as did the crotch of his pants.

He first read a new unpublished story about how he had a bad tooth and went to dentists in Sweden and Australia and Japan and nobody caught what it was until he went to San Francisco. I have down that he said he got a spray tan in Australia and got “cat anus in his face” in Japan.

He said that audiences who don’t know him make him nervous, and he’s going to go on Colbert in a few weeks. He also read us a commencement speech that he’s doing at a school soon, practicing it. He mentioned some artist named Vito who masturbated for two weeks and someone saying, “Couldn’t you do that? Make a living doing what you love?”

His advice to folks was stuff like:

* “When it comes to scented candles, you really better watch it.” He approves of only two expensive kinds whose brands I forgot.
* Choose one thing to be terribly offended by, not the hundreds that you are usually juggling.
* Be yourself, unless yourself is an asshole. He mentioned that he does some kind of charity work for donating bone marrow (Love Hope Strength, I think) and that he will tell people stuff like “if you donate, you can have sex with the hottest member of the cancer patient’s family. They can’t refuse you.” He also says that they can do the extraction while you are having sex. Anyway, he also was permitting people who volunteered to donate to go to the head of the line at some book signing, and some lady objected to that and was generally being pushy and obnoxious and threatened to sue if she couldn’t go to the front of the line. He told her she was a horrible human being. She laughed.
* Write thank you letters, which he does on book tours.

He told a joke about police pulling over two priests driving and saying, “We’re looking for two child molesters.” The priests were all, “We’ll do it!” Roger told me later that after the show he and Mom were debating about this and figured out that he phrased the joke just right to make it work.
There was also a joke (I think?) about some sulky teenager saying, “Tell me something I don’t know” to Grandpa, who in return said, “Your grandmother’s ass can take my entire fist.”

Years ago Sedaris read an essay about how he and Lisa went to a gun range to learn how to shoot guns. He had never published it since then, which I’d wondered about. He said that he’d been working on this since 2012 but only now just got it to work. It does have the section about learning how to shoot still, but eventually led into talking about shootings these days. He said later that since Sandy Hook happened, he doesn’t feel like shooting again.

He said his next book of diary entries, covering 2003-2018, will be called “A Carnival of Snacks.”

I forget what the context of this was--I think he was talking about someone else explaining why they didn’t work--but a legible quote I can read out of my notes is “I’m mentally ill and that keeps me pretty busy.”

His book recommendation for this tour is the next book by the author that wrote “Eileen,” if you’re into that. He doesn’t think she knows that she’s funny. After he read something in her new book of short stories about finding a dildo in someone’s apartment and sniffing it, he said he became a lifelong fan because he did that sort of thing while cleaning houses in NYC. “She knows my soul.”

He mentioned wanting to publish a book of the letters that he gets. I have down “monkeys” and “wanting a refund” after this, whatever that meant.

During the Q&A, we found out:
* he has never been burned out
* the New Yorker fact checks EVERYTHING he writes, so if you think stuff he wrote isn’t true, fuck you. But most places do not have the staff to do fact checks.
* “How many times in your life do you see Siamese twins, and you’re texting?”
* Has he deeply offended friends and family? He brought up his French teacher in Me Talk Pretty. Even though she did seriously do things like stab a Korean student in the eye while screaming “Wake up and go back to Seoul!”, he said they did adore the teacher and that did not come across in the piece. Why did he adore someone abusive? He can’t explain it and said he was lazy while writing it. He also mentioned a friend of his who slept with half the cast of Hamlet and even though he changed her name, she was still mad. He thinks that Michael Wolff doesn’t care about that sort of thing.
* What’s the softest thing you ever touched? “I have an answer in my head that is so filthy.” OF COURSE.
* Where do you get your news? NPR, the Post, NYT.
* For those of you wondering how that fox he made friends with is doing, someone paid to have his fox shot. He said it feels really special when animals like you, but you shouldn’t interact with them because some people are assholes.
* When asked about the Santaland Diaries show, he indicated that he thought the casting of Timothy Olyphant in it was odd because “he’s someone who had other options” in life besides working as an elf.

After the show was over, Jackie wanted to leave ASAP because she had an even longer time going home, but Roger wanted to go see his son Evan, who was there with other people somewhere. While we were in the line before the show, I took a guess (going off the few photos I’ve seen/the one Mom texted me at some point) that I’d spotted him farther back. I’m normally shite at recognizing people I’ve only seen in photos when they are live action, but I guess I got it right. He was very nice, gave me a hug and his business card and said to e-mail him.

Note: I’m writing this two weeks later and it took him about that long to write back--apparently he got sick after the show. He did apologize for the lateness (yay!), but somehow I don’t think this will be turning into a conversation over email in the future. Sigh. Oh well. Dudes, what can you do.

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