Nice to meet you, I’m William Faulkner

My Internet is being all persnickety today. Let’s see if it lets me post this. Fingers crossed.

Last night, I slept a whopping nine hours. Nine hours! Yowza. I never do that. I woke up at 5:30 this morning all perky. (I am rather like a Labrador Retriever with simple needs: I wake up and think, wow, I can eat, go for a walk, and bury a bone in the backyard—
sa-weet!) I leave my house at six, go for a four-mile run, come home, and think, You know what would go down easy right now? Coffee.

Now, just a side note: I never have more than one-and-a-half cups of coffee a day. Sometimes two if I have to stay up to go to a function in the evening and I want to go sans drool cup and night-night jammies.

But this morning, after my run, I was feeling pretty dang invincible (until I sat down and tried to get back up and my knees made a sound like Velcro shoes being opened…) so I had two full cups of regular coffee. I did this because I was recently introduced to Coffee-Mate creamer in many flavors and I swear I could stick a straw in that stuff and go to town. I am hooked on Coffee-Mate, which is not a food product found anywhere in nature, and which I am sure is altering the structure of my DNA while I type this. I’ll probably wake up with fins and a second head growing out of my colon in another month.

Then I trundle off to meet my friends Brenda and Susanna for a holiday breakfast at a local diner. (Sidenote #2: I love diners more than you can imagine. I always feel like I’m in an Edward Hopper painting. Plus, they have eggs and home fries at any time of the day or night.) My friends are having coffee, so I have coffee. Two cups to be exact. Then Brenda says, “Why don’t we go back to my place for tea?”

We do. Now, my pal Brenda does not fool around when it comes to tea. She gets out the toast caddy and makes actual toast points and has little jam jars and gets all British and stuff even though she’s from upstate New York. She does the Do. She also makes some kind of Irish tea that will put hair on your chest and call you Mary. Thing is, it’s laced with sugar and cream so it goes down easy. Too easy. And that’s why I drank three cups of it, Officer.

For those of you playing the home game, that is SEVEN cups of caffeinated beverage. I now resemble a cross between Dennis Hopper in “Blue Velvet” and Chatty Cathy. I am HAPPY!!! And ENERGETIC!!! Oh, I could just talktalktalktalkTALK all the livelong day because I LOVE EVERYONE and THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER! (Yes, I am a very cheap date.) At some point, Susanna leaves for a lunch date (since there was no duct tape to put over my mouth), and Brenda and I decide to go to the bookstore to indulge our passion for home decorating books. But while I’m there, I decide I’ll offer to sign stock of my books. So I introduce myself and blah-dee-blah “I’d be happy to sign stock” and the clearly having-a-bad-day bookstore lady says, “Look, if you want to pull books off the shelves and sign them, fine, but it’s really busy right now, and I can’t pull stock. You’ll just have to take the books off the shelves yourself.”

Hmmm. Somebody has been eating cranky pie. Somebody needs to drink four cups of HAPPY coffee and three cups of ENGERGETIC tea! Such is my joie de vivre today, that my optimism is undimmed.

“Gosh, it IS super busy right now,” I say, smiling my best God Bless Us Everyone holiday smile. “You know, I could always come back another time. I was just thinking I’d do it now ‘cause I have this new book coming out on December 26th? And I was thinking…”

“If you want to sign books, that’s fine, but you’ll have to just take them off the shelves,” she repeats, a little more slowly in case I am somewhat hard of hearing. “What’s your name?”

“Libba Bray,” I chirp. “But I’m also happy to sign books for William Faulkner since he’s not able to get in. HA! HA!”

Silence. Crickets chirping. And let me say that if looks could kill, this would be a posthumous entry. I whispered to the floor. “Open. Now. Swallow. Me. Whole.” I turned to the lady, and with my uncomfortable grin still in place, said, “Um, just a little literary joke there. Sometimes, my sense of humor doesn’t translate so well.”

Brenda buries her face in her hands and starts laughing. “No more tea for you,” I hear her sing-song. Bookstore lady lets her gaze settle on me for a moment longer. The gaze says, “I’m watching you, asshole.” Then she walks away muttering and I skulk off to the teen section and pull my books off the shelf and sign them very, very quickly and a lovely young woman brings over some autographed copy stickers to put on them.

“You sure I can’t sign Mr. Faulkner’s books for you while I’m here? Or what about Dorothy Parker? She’s dead; she probably won’t object.”

Fortunately, she laughs at this and Brenda mercifully pulls me away to the Interior Decorating section before I can get in any more trouble. I can never show my face in that store again. Not even as William Faulkner. Thank God I didn’t come as Oprah or Shakespeare. (“I’d like to sign copies of my book.” “Sure, what’s your name?” {extending hand} “Dr. Phil.”)

Only one cup of coffee tomorrow.

Here is today’s random TSFT quote:

“A terrible knocking has me awake and not at all happy about it. Rubbing sleep from my eyes, I creep downstairs. It’s Tom who is making such a racket. He’s returned in a lively mood; in fact, he enters the drawing room singing. It is an unnatural occurrence, like watching a dog ride a bicycle.”

OFFICIAL TSFT COUNTDOWN: 5 days.

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