I had been talking up Third Place Books to Deanna and Barb all week. Last year, it ranked as the most fun of all the events on the West Coast. Size-wise it was in the top five with 60 people, but it was the crowd that made it the best. They were there to have a good time and really got into it. Third Place, way out in the suburbs of Lake Forest Park is where we got our first bra for the Bramobile. Hearing that, Barb decided to stay another day.
Experience has taught me that letting my expectations run wild most often leads to a let down. But I couldn’t help it, I was really excited for this event! When we got to the store and found out we had been bumped by a book group and set up in the farthest corner of the store, that there were only a handful of people at ten minutes till show time, and that the store had only received their books that day—my first thought was See what you get for thinking this was going to be the best one?!
Luckily, that wasn’t a lesson I needed to learn right then and there. As I milled through one of the best travel essay collections on the West Coast (shelves upon shelves, case after case after case), the women filed in and the book group directed them to the way back of the store.
When we began, there was a crowd of nearly 60 that continued to grow. The most notable in the bunch were a group of five women sitting right near the front. They were dressed in purple with red hats and were part of a group called the Red Hat Society. One even had a tea serving with her. Yep, that’s my Third Place! I gave my rock star greeting , introduced Deanna Sukkar and Barbara Shaw for our last event together, and asked the purple and red women what they were all about. They told us about their red hat society and then stated their motto “You never know how a woman will react until she’s in hot water!”
I started off the readings with Jenn Dlugos’s, “Eat My Shorts if You Can Find Them!” Barb grossed them out with “When You Gotta Go!” Next, I got really into reading “Waiting for the Big O” by Felice Prager. I mean, I really got into it. I was yelling, they were hooting, and I actually started cracking up almost to the point of tears as we got to the end of the story. Then Deanna read her story, “Underwear and Tear”. After a lack luster response from the Elliott Bay audience, she was happy that the Third Place gang enjoyed it. We ended it with Cindy Chupack’s “The Mile High and Dry Club” which never fails to be a good closer.
Some of you might noticed that I didn’t read my story. I will admit, I am slightly burned out on reading it. I thought I’d take a breather last night so I can gear back up for it by the time I got to Savvy Traveller. I’ll have friends in the audience there, and sad to say, this story is funnier for people who know me. I mean, what was I thinking by putting in that turkey line?
“I wasn’t interested in sex. I wanted a man who knew how to carve a turkey. “
There are probably only two handfuls of people on this planet that will get that joke. But I suppose that is an editor’s prerogative to wield an inside joke. Or 10.
Some interesting non-specific stats on the event were:
–There were hardly any writers in the mix.
–There were a small handful of people who also attended the event for Sand in My Bra.
–A slightly larger handful (but not two) of those who knew Travelers’ Tales.
–We had our first (?) repeat customer. A USC dad who came to the Elliott Bay event and bought two books but came back because he remembered someone else he just had to get this for.
–There were some excited folks who are interested in our Fancy Pants Contest (They cracked up when I told them about the “Wanna Get Lucky?”pair.
–We had 3X as many as the Greenpeace author
So, all in all it was a blast of an event, just as I had hoped for. Many thanks to Barbara Shaw for making the trek up from Eugene and staying up here all week. Big thanks to Deanna for her jaunt down to Portland and all her efforts in Seattle as well for putting me up. Both of you made a rip roaring difference at these events and I wish I could’ve taken you ladies to a nice restaurant!
Laughs: On the SF Datebook scale, Man standing up on his chair clapping