Will You Sign My Dead Chipmunk?

Two days ago, my cousin Marissa and I left Los Angeles a little before 1pm, to drive down to San Diego for a book signing that started at 7pm.  Yes, we did get to Barnes & Noble four hours early to inquire about Jenny Lawson’s signing, and no, we didn’t regret how excessively early we were.  If you haven’t yet, you must read her book: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) and visit her blog, because then you’ll understand why we absolutely needed to be seated as close as humanly possible to her. 
We asked the nearest sales clerk for information about the event, but we weren’t satisfied with his answer of, “It’ll be over there at 7pm,” and him quickly flicking his wrist and not even bothering to look up from his bookkeeping.  We did not arrive hours in advance to get information we already knew, so Marissa kept politely prodding for more details of where and when we could begin lining up.  You could tell he was a bit bothered with our questioning of every detail, so Marissa saved us by cheerfully adding, “We’re really excited to meet her!”  At that, he softened and inquired as to whether we bought her book yet, and gladly signed a ticket for us, showing that we had.
Noticing that we were the only two nerds there and ready for the signing (and pretty much the only two in the store) we felt more than comfortable leaving to meet up with my other cousin, Marissa’s sister, for a long lunch.  She was quick to laugh and question our attire, as we were matching in our Lawsbian Pride shirts and gray shorts.
We got back to Barnes & Noble a little before 5pm, and after perusing every square inch of the store, we sat ourselves down in the cleared out kid’s section, where Jenny would be doing her reading (which is hilarious because she has an awesomely funny, but foul, mouth).  We were sure people must have thought we were child predators since the cushions we sat on were located right next to the play table, but we sat down anyway and tried not to stare too much at the cute kids who came to play with the train-set on the table.   
For the last few weeks, I have been working on a Jefferson Peabody cross-stitch to give to Jenny, and with my luck, I still wasn’t quite done with it.  I had worked so hard and was determined to give it to her, so I sat and stitched furiously, my hands shaking with the anxiety over not finishing in time.  While I stitched, Marissa was audibly enjoying herself while re-reading Jenny’s book.  Amazingly enough, I finished just as my online Lawsbian friend, Shelly, arrived at the store. 
It was the first time we’d be meeting in person, and I was terrified of being the usual ball of awkward that I usually am, but Shelly’s warm personality kept our conversation going, and the three of us sat and chatted the time away while we waited for the chairs to get set up.  The event organizer was really nice, and offered up-to-the-minute information on what he was doing, and how he was planning to set up the area without us even inquiring.  As soon as he got the first two rows set up, Marissa, Shelly, and I plopped ourselves down on the first three seats of the front row.  A brown chair next to Shelly was marked with a post-it that said it was reserved for a relative.  We were told it was for her sister-in-law, but being the super Jenny stalkers we are, we knew her husband, Victor, didn’t have a brother, and began to excite ourselves over the prospect of it being Jenny’s sister, Lisa….and it totally was!  I got to share side glances and knowing smiles with her on a few occasions throughout Jenny’s appearance, and that made the night just that much more special.
We brought our humanely taxidermied critters, and they were
just as excited to be sitting right up front.
But to get back to the waiting part: While I was sitting, nervously clutching my book in my lap, I noticed Bree, my cousin-in-law, (is that even a term? She’s my cousin’s husband’s sister….so it makes sense in my head) sitting in the row behind me.  I had no idea she was a fan too, so I tried to get her attention, but my soft voice was overshadowed by the excitement she was causing over the 2-foot metal chicken she had in her hands.  If you’re not a Bloggess fan, you should go read this to see what the hub bub was all about.  I finally caught her attention, and after sharing a hug, she showed me pictures of our niece’s 2nd birthday party.  (Well, she’s not really my niece, she’s Bree’s niece, but she’s my cousin’s child, so she feels like a niece to me…and now I’m realizing that I apparently like to make up family relationship names…that’s cool, right?)
As soon as Bree went back to her seat, a girl with a cool camera around her neck who was taking candid photos of everyone asked if I was Erica.  Turns out, it was Melanie, the one who started the Hope Blog Relay that I took part in!  I was pretty much as awestruck as if I was meeting Jenny, so I jumped right up and gave her a hug, and then sat right back down, all awkward-like, and mumbled something about how great it was to meet her in person.  I thought I scared her away, ‘cause she quickly retreated to the back where she continued to take pictures, but turns out she was feeling just as socially inept as me!  So like opposing magnets, our awesome social skills kept us from sharing more than a hug and a quick hello.
Time seemed to fly by, and soon enough, Jenny was right in front of me.  And I mean right in front of me! 
Best story time EVER!
She read one of my favorite chapters (of course it’s the one about poo), and we all laughed our asses off the entire time.  It was fun sneaking glances at the trying-not-to-smile-security dude and the Barnes and Noble employees who were hearing her story for the first time.  After an awesome question and answer session, it was time to line up for the signing.  Being in the front row, we got to line up first, and I happened to get shuffled to the very front of the line!  I gawkily stood there fumbling around with my phone, my book, my cross stitch, and of course, my taxidermy newsy chipmunk, Marjorie, watching Jenny take a seat and prepare to meet us all, and waiting for someone to usher me forward.  
When they finally said I could approach the table, I was a mumbling fool, but Jenny was so sweet, that she helped calm me down.  She was all kinds of excited to see Marjorie, and said that she was the first chipmunk she’s ever signed!  And when I gave her the Jefferson Peabody cross-stitch, she was beyond grateful.  She didn’t just give a polite thank-you, she was genuinely impressed and happy to receive it, and it made my heart happy.  I couldn’t have asked for a better reaction:
So excited!
As we prepared for the picture, and I made sure to position Marjorie in it, she remembered that she had brought Copernicus, who was sitting in her purse right at her feet.  I watched her struggle to pull him out of the clawing tangle of things in her purse, and contemplated helping, but wasn’t sure if it was cool to reach into a New York Times Best Seller author’s purse, so I held back.  After seconds of her struggling, which felt like minutes, I decided, awesome author or not, she needs help, and it’s the humane thing to do, so I reached down to help untangle Copernicus.  At the same time, her sister rushed in to help, and suddenly there were too many hands, and I heard her sister softly say, “No,” and wasn’t sure who she was talking to, or what she was referring to, but I’m pretty sure it was directed to me, the complete stranger, putting her hands on her sister’s purse junk.  I get it though.  If I were ever famous, I’d like to think that my brothers would look out for my possessions too.  In any case, out popped Copernicus, and with Jenny victoriously holding him, we snapped a picture together. 
I love how genuine she is! I mean, look at that smile!
When it was all over, Marissa and I were literally shaking with nervous excitement, and our giddy smiles stayed plastered on our faces all night.  It truly was one of the best days of my life, and one that I will never forget.
Marissa, Jenny, Me, Copernicus,
Not-So-Bad-Ass-Legolas, and a naked Marjorie.

And if you made it to the end of this post, thanks for sticking it out!  There was just no way I could cut any of that day from this entry, so I appreciate your dedication. 

She validated my Cool Girl Book Club name by
voluntarily writing, “You Rock!”


10 thoughts on “Will You Sign My Dead Chipmunk?

  1. She's going to think people named Erica are psychotic.I was five hours early and I nearly mauled her in my excitement. And I told her my shirt was more important that her book so if she was only allowed to sign one thing, could it please be the shirt? She signed the shirt AND the book AND wrote, “Erica: You're #1!” because I had the first ticket for book-signing.But on a serious note, isn't it amazing how gracious she is? I felt she truly appreciated the gift I gave her even if inside her head she was thinking, “What the hell am I going to do with all this stuff I keep amassing in every city?”Also, I think it is SOOOO COOOOOL you got to sit next to Lisa!!!

    • That's awesome that she wrote you were #1!!! Us Erica's don't mess around when it comes to meeting Jenny! In her Q&A, she briefly mentioned something about having a storage unit for all her gifts…I wasn't sure if it was a joke or not, but I bet it's totally true. That'd be awesome to walk in and have, basically, your own personal shrine!

  2. I loved every detail of this post. Sadly, I haven't had an opportunity to see her at a signing – the only one she's done anywhere near me is Boston and I was out of the freakin' country that day!Thanks for sharing your experience AND the photos! Marjorie is beyond cute. And, I think Jenny's right – You DO rock!! 🙂

  3. Oh my holy bloody butt-fucking ducks, Batman! I am so super duper jealous of you right now. (I know I’m late on the post, but in my defense, I just found you today.)
    She came to Portland AND Seattle on her tour and I had to choose between taking a day off work to go to her book signing, or going to a close friends’ bachelorette party. I OBVIOUSLY made the wrong choice because I got completely tanked and driven home by some random Indian guy that had been stalking us all night. (Also probably not one of the best decisions ever. I really am full of those. . .)
    I promised myself that if I ever get the chance to meet her again, there’s no way in hell I’m passing it up. Not even flying monkeys will keep me away. I always talk about awesome things making me giggle-pee, but I’m pretty sure I might actually do it then. Which would be totally okay because IT’SJENNYFUCKINGLAWSON!!!!!
    So, uh – can I touch your chipmunk? Somehow, I feel that if I were able to touch the chipmunk she touched, I would be able to vicariously suck up some of her awesome and fulfill my life-long dream of becoming a super hero. . .
    Hell, I’d even be okay with just smelling your breath since you obviously inhaled some of said “awesome” by being so close to her fabulously crazy brain.

    Okay, I’m lying and I’m not that crazy (with the touching and the smelling), but I really am super fucking jealous. That is so bad-ass.

    • So sad to hear that your possible “Jenny meeting night” entailed, instead, being brought home by a stalker. Lesson learned.

      You definitely need to set all plans aside the next time she comes your way. She’s so amazing in person, and her fans are equally amazing and kind. You could pee your pants, and everyone around you would just give you a knowing smile and a tissue to wipe up.

      Oh, and if you come to California, I will gladly hand Marjorie over for some Lawsome love. I’m all about the crazy!

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