Pollyanna meets Crazy Aunt Purl, And About Time

Lyda here. So, ya’ll want to hear about my weekend? There’s zombies and fiber and everything. I knew ya would… but first I have to post about My Big Adventure.

On Saturday, I drove all the way to Mission Viejo to a book reading and signing by Laurie Perry, Crazy Aunt Purl herself.

I have been stalking  admiring her a long time. Plus, I read her book front to back in less than 24 hours. Plus, Anna-Liza met Laurie already. I’m the one who lives on the same side of the Stupid Pointy Mountains as CAP, for crying out loud!

But I have a problem. All I want to do is be home. Hermit or homebody?

Uh. I must admit that I often decline invitations from friends, especially in the last year or two. Or three. Or eleven. I don’t go out to lunch or for drinks after work with coworkers. I don’t visit friends, or call them much. Bad friend! Bad! I’m much better with email. I haven’t gone out for dinner with friends in months. Some of this was the illness, some of it was the extra work that came with graduate school. But most of it is just my innate hermit-ness, and hiding from the world.

So, it was a BIG ADVENTURE for me to drive to meet Laurie. Saturday morning I rushed out and bought hair dye (’cause there might be a photo op and I couldn’t let ya’ll all see my roots!), and rushed home and used it. Then I had to decide what to wear, and what knitting to take, and what bag to put my knitting in. Note to self: Make cute knitting bag.

It was exhausting, and I was anxious and nervous, and I almost backed out eleven billion times. What difference would it make? I could do it another time. After I’ve lost weight and had a cute top to wear and am not a complete nervous wreck… Ya’ll know. Actually, I hope ya’ll don’t know…

And then I left later than I planned on, and then I was so focused on reading the directions that I took the wrong freeway even though I’ve driven to Mission Viejo a billion times since Second Son used to live there. Oh yes I did. Ya’ll, I am directionally challenged, and get lost easily – see: lost on way to post office half a mile from my house – and get anxious because of getting lost. There was a little voice that said, “See, you aren’t supposed to go, this is a Sign, just go home.”

And I wanted to go home. I really wanted to.

But instead I got off the freeway and got back on going South, and drove. And the voice kept saying, “You left too late, and there will be a huge crowd, and you’ll have to stand, and you won’t be able to hear…” On and on.

But I kept driving.

And then I got to the exit, and my heart pounded in my chest, and I had the air conditioner on full blast because I was sweating like crazy. Hello, I am Crazy, and this is my sweat.

And I made it off the freeway and around the turns, and I wondered if everyone in the cars ahead of me was also going to meet Laurie. And now I was excited but still so very scared.

I found the bookstore and wandered in. I looked around for the chairs. No chairs. I looked for the crowd of knitters. No crowd. I asked an employee, and she pointed me back to the front of the store. I couldn’t find the spot, so I asked another employee.

She rolled her eyes and pointed to a very small table. There was one chair, and a vase of flowers, and a 8×10 sign. There was a small rack of Laurie’s books next to the table.

And that was it.

I looked at the clock and discovered that due to my excellent driving, I was fifteen minutes early. No, officer, I was not speeding. No, really. So I walked over to get a drink – a diet soda, though ya’ll know I could have used alcohol by this point –  and saw a woman sitting at a table with The Book next to her, and asked her if she knew where the signing was. Her name is Pam and she had her nine-year-old daughter with her, and she was so friendly that I forgot to be so nervous. We talked until Laurie appeared.

Ya’ll, Laurie was great. She took one look at the set up and told the store employees that this would not work. She was awesome in action. She was polite and sweet and firm, the steel showing just a bit under the magnolia, ya’ll know. She stood her ground until she got what she needed: the table moved to the back, and chairs delivered for everyone in the crowd.

Then we all walked to the back of the store. Her grandmother was with her, and they chatted, and Pam and I chatted with them. When we got to the spot, there was one armchair, which Laurie insisted her grandmother sit in. Ya’ll, her grandmother was so nice and funny, and handled everything so gracefully. Including certain words that may have slipped out of her granddaughter’s mouth, and the possibly slightly racy nature of the two chapters Laurie read. A true Southern lady.

Finally the staff delivered chairs, and moved the table and the rack of books, and we all sat down. The store manager was not gracious at all, and would have been thrown out of the South for rudeness. I was glad I wasn’t buying a book and hadn’t even bought a drink.

I sat down in the first row and pulled out my knitting to keep my hands busy and calm me down. I had with me the Airspeed of an Unladen Wooster Scarf, also known as the Lumberjack of the Lake Scarf (“You can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just because a watery tart threw a scarf at you”). Laurie apologized for the confusion, and introduced herself, and read two chapters, and answered a lot of questions. There were at least twenty people there, maybe more.

Ya’ll, Laurie was as funny and wise and warm as you’d think from her blog. She was a hoot, as we’d say back home. Super Special Awesome.

Then it was time for the signing, and everyone else kind of held back because they had good manners, and I just barged right up to the table and introduced myself as one of the Pollyannas.

And Laurie stood right up and hugged me! She knew who I was, and said she likes our blog and reads it all the time, and said Anna-Liza is awesome. I confessed that I was really nervous and that I’d come mostly because Anna-Liza would have been… displeased… if I’d missed the chance. Laurie congratulated me for being there. There were pictures taken, and then I had to go sit down again because it was all so great.

I talked to some other people there, and gave out the blog address a couple of times. Hi, ya’ll, welcome! Anna-Liza, better make some more sweet tea for our new guests. I wished I had cards to hand out, but that would be weird, huh? I didn’t introduce myself to Laurie’s grandmother, or her aunt and uncle, because I was still so nervous and I didn’t want to sweat all over them. Laurie came over and admired my yarn – Lions Brand Thick and Quick in “lumberjack” – and I told her I was so nervous that I’d dropped about a billion stitches.

And then people started leaving, and then almost everyone was gone. I was still hanging around because I do not have the sense that the gods gave a doornail, so I walked with Laurie and the contest winners to the door, and chatted a bit more with Laurie.

She was so nice even though I think I seemed like a stalker by then. And I hugged her inappropriately way too many times, and at the end, I did mention pony play and leather in passing… Oh yes I did.

And I drove home all happy with my signed book, and then sat down and re-read the whole thing. And later I frogged the scarf and started again.

And that is the story of Pollyanna’s Big Adventure.

There are no plans for a Disneyland ride. Just so ya’ll know.


6 thoughts on “Pollyanna meets Crazy Aunt Purl, And About Time

  1. annaliza

    I knew you knew that I would be disappointed if you backed out! I’m still proud of you! Baby steps, girlfriend!

    Um, she didn’t really say … “awesome” … did she?

    Wait … pony play? In what … context?

  2. lyda Post author

    Anna-Liza – I can’t remember if she actually used the word “awesome” but it was something like that. She also mentioned that they were all shocked you had ridden the bus to get there, as it has a reputation as being dangerous.

    Uh… I’ll have to tell you about my inappropriate mention of pony play… It was embarassing but kind of funny.


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