(That's a strange word when typed three times in a row....)
I have finished my final event for at least two days. Tomorrow I am going home. No place like it, doncha know.
I had a great time in Boston, despite the fact that a) Goddamn, the weather in the northeast is sucking right now, and b) Bostonians, when behind wheels of automobiles, are totally psychotic. I'm a New York driver, so you know I'm not being a hothouse plant about this. In one twelve hours period, I witnessed:
a traffic cop nearly coldcock a guy for not getting out of a parking space quickly enough;
a busy intersection (right outside my hotel, sadly) that, during rush hour suffered every three minutes the deafening din of a dozen car drivers leaning on their horns, every SINGLE time the light changed;
not one but two cabbies who totally chastised me for my manner of asking to go somewhere. The first cabbie was angry that I asked to go to some such address on White Street rather than saying the such-and-such mall (I had no idea the place I was going was in a strip mall at all....); the second couldn't understand that I was talking about getting to a certain intersection because I said "Massachusetts Avenue" instead of "Mass Ave." So weird.
So anyway - had two events. The first was a reading at Borders - actually the first non-independent bookstore I've been too, which is pretty awesome. It was a lunchtime event, so the crowd was small, though actually not quite as small as you'd've thought. Twenty five people or so. And there was this one woman there, Lucy, who was AMAZING. Kind of a nut, but amazing just the same. She was an editor for online travel thingamajiggies, then she went to Malaysia, then she decided she wanted to go to cooking school, so she worked illegally in all these Malaysian restaurants for awhile, then went to cooking school in Australia, and is now back in Malaysia, doing freelance editing. So crazy, so great, and she was sort of brilliant as well.
Then I had this dinner at Chez Henri in Cambridge. I was shocked by this thing. The chef, Paul something or other, concocted this four course meal of entirely MtAoFC recipes, and cooked in exactly the way they were written in MtAoFC. I'm picturing this kitchen staff hovering over this cook bookr, saying, "You want me to do what with ths who now?" The appetizers were cheese croquets with shrimp, potato cheese sticks (which didn't rise like they were meant to, much as mine did not), and something else great. Mushroom canapes. Then there was fish soup, and eggs with bernaise sauce (total ballsy choice, and GREAT) and beef rolls (can't remember the French right now, and besides beef rolls sounds dirty, so I like it), and baba au rhum. They were making all this for a group of thirty, while at the same time serving a busy Friday night crowd eating totally different things. It was AMAZING. Honestly.
I got to talk to pretty much everyone there, including my crazy friend Andy, and Mark, who I went to grade school with and who teaches divinity school at Harvard (is that right?) and who is the older brother of the fabulous, fabulous "Brian" from my book. And this amazing woman, whose name I never got, who was 85 if she was a day, and a little deaf, but totally fucking awesome. She came, she said, because she wanted to ask me about how I felt about the review I got in the New York Times Book Review, because it totally pissed her off. This is a woman who didn't know me from adam, she just was angry at the review on priniciple. And she was totally engaged in the whole dinner, and at the end she said, "You were not what I was expecting."
"What were you expecting?" I asked.
"I don't know," she said. "You're very real."
Which is the best thing anyone has ever said to me in the last ten days, and maybe ever.
I didn't make my second dinner at the best restaurant in Boston, though I did have a drink there, where I chatted up both the charming French manager and the cute BU student hostess. Now I'm enjoying my minibar for the last time, and eagerly awaiting my trip home tomorrow.
Now, I'd like to take this moment to say - and I'm aware that I sound like Hillary Swank in this way un-cool way - that my publicists at Little Brown, Michelle and Bonnie, are amazing. I have had the chance, in the past few months, to meet more than my share of publicists, and I'm not particularly fond of them as a species. But these women have won me over so surely and completely that I feel like Renee Zellwegger - "You had me at hello."
(Which is a quote I hate from a movie I hate, I so much prefer a quote from another movie that came out at the same time, "I can still taste you." But no matter.)
Home home home home home.