Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Best Friday Ever?

I interviewed Jonathan Safran Foer last Friday. I guess this means I will have to develop a new literary crush as I can no longer make pervy jokes about what I would do if I met him. No, we didn’t make out, but I did get to say the word “panties.” We had a very nice chat over pecan pie and coffee (him) and Stella Artois (me. I was nervous.) in a café in Park Slope. He’s very cute and slender with poofy black hair. We talked about books and writing and his new son and you’ll be able to read all about it in the interview next week.

Something you won’t read about in the interview is how, in the café, we were sitting in the back, near the bathrooms. This was my choice. I thought it would be quieter back there, away from the main dining room, which was empty, but still—what if it filled up? I had one of those ancient plastic handheld tape recorders that tend to clearly pick up every ambient sound, while somehow totally distorting the voice of the interviewee. I tried to pick a quiet spot. But from the way the traffic moved into the restaurant and back towards us, you would have thought this was the only working toilet in Brooklyn. I mean it was ridiculous. At one point a tall, pony-tailed man in a windbreaker jittered up to one of the locked bathroom doors (there were two), cupped his hand at his ear and listened through the door for almost a full minute, then engaged one of the cleaning staff in an argument about who, if anyone, was in the bathroom. Sure enough, a couple minutes later some other cleaning guy came out of the bathroom with his mop bucket. Then another cleaning guy came over and went into the other bathroom. Then, for awhile, it seemed like it was all cleaning guys in and out of both bathrooms. What were they doing back there? Anyway, this was more or less pretty distracting since the bathrooms were about two feet away from our table. Distracting and gross. Oh well. Lesson learned. At one point JSF leaned over and whispered, “Have you been watching all this? It’s very random.” I do have to say: it was fun to share a moment of weirdness with him.

Strangely, he and I intersected on a bunch of things, including the journalist Robert Birnbaum (JSF’s favorite interviewer; my old boss) and books like Postville and Operation Shylock. I got to slip in, “So I did part of my thesis on Everything Is Illuminated and Operation Shylock…” Oh, snap. Maybe that made up a little for the toilet smell that must have been making it hard for him to eat his pie. Maybe not.

Really though, it was a top notch experience, talking with one of my favorite authors about books & stuff. Very wish fulfillment-y. To top it off JSF emailed me on Monday morning to tell me he had a good time. Swoon and cut. Perfect.

So who’s next? Maybe Gabe Hudson? Stephen Elliott’s bizarrely hot, but we’re both bottoms so I just don’t think it would work. If you have any suggestions for my replacement literary crush, please let me know. And check back for the interview link next week.


Blogger The Count Del Monte said...

Although pecan pie does take on a disturbing taste when mixed with fecal odor, strangely enough, when mixed with the scent of Lysol, in particular pine-scented Lysol, the flavors become more robust, earthier--simply wonderful. Or so I read somewhere.

1:41 AM  

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