Two weekends ago I went to the David Sedaris vs. Sarah Vowell Celebrity Death Match up in Santa Barbara. Leah came up with her husband and Grace came down with her step-daughter; Jack bailed on me but I found a date at the last minute. A date who could both hang with and inspire the affection of a table of total strangers after I abandoned her in the restaurant for forty-five minutes while I tore home to get the tickets out of the envelope that I’d taped to the wall next to my desk so I wouldn’t forget the tickets.
And I tried and I tried but I couldn’t figure out how to make the whole thing Jack’s fault.
The Arlington was packed. They tag-teamed the reading, David Sedaris started with a bittersweet story about a child molester, then Sarah Vowell used her little, tiny voice to read a long piece about a nineteenth-century free love community in Oneida, New York. Then David Sedaris took another turn with a shorter piece about getting his hair cut in Japan by a man whose hands smelled like shit, and then Sarah Vowell read a shorter piece from her defunct advice column in which she was simply incredulous at the advice-asker’s problem, and so on and so on until it was time for a Q & A, at which I am sorry to report I forgot to ask him to sing the Oscar Mayer Bologna song as though he were Billie Holiday, which you have to do if you ever go to a David Sedaris reading.
But about halfway through the show I started worrying about where I’d parked. I totally lost track of at least two jokes while thinking about how, the second time I’d tried to park, my excellent spot on Anacapa from the first time I’d parked was gone, and I’d had no choice but to pay to leave my car in the Granada garage, in a dark corner on the second level, away from the staircase — the parking garage rape corner! So there I was, deaf to the hilarity around me, wondering if it would be possible to get all eight people I knew in that room to walk me to my car after the show?
Later, as we closed the bar at Opal, I confessed this slightly but actually not totally absurd thought to Leslee, who immediately understood and gave me a ride in her Jeep all the way into the parking garage, up the ramp, and onto the hood of my car. Well, not really onto the hood; she just got real close to the trunk and then covered me with her Glock and a hand grenade. With the pin pulled.
I love having friends.