If you’ve experienced it, you know exactly when I’m talking about; when someone does or says something that to one percent of the world is acceptable, but to the other 99 percent of us is completely uncomfortable. (Before you envision me with stone in hand ready for hurling, I recognize that we all take a trip to this one percent world now and then. This post is about how nice it is to be in the realm of the 99. My one percent moment will come in a later blog or when you meet me in person – whichever comes first.)
Back to the expo – Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson had just completed a very funny and very interesting session about their book series based on the story of Peter Pan. Graciously, they had opened up the forum for questions and people were asking expected things like – what tips do you have for young writers, what challenges do you face in collaborating together, etc. There was time for one last question when a woman near the front of the room said something to the effect of, “Have you heard of (insert some random book title here)?” When Mr. Pearson’s answer was no, she continued for a few minutes to praise the works of this other author and finished by instructing both Dave and Ridley to read said book.
After the call of the cricket came the collective, All Together Now Awkward sigh. As with most ATNA moments, the sigh was followed by a shared nervous giggle. I know you know this giggle – where the trade off for the absence of audible sound is a bouncing abdomen/quivering shoulders combo and an occasional snort escaping from someone who hasn’t quite mastered the art of retaining an inappropriate laugh. The pinnacle of the All Together Now Awkward came in Ridley’s simple yet startled response of “Okay.”
Then, the session was over. We all went back out into the wild world of the D23 expo with more than a refreshed appreciation for good writing, but also with a unified sense of relief that it wasn’t us who has been the awkward one. While its never kind to revel in someone else’s awkward, it is nice when something good, like the unification of total strangers, can come from an otherwise terribly awkward situation. So today, I salute you awkward lady in the front row. May you step back into the world of the 99 percent, hopefully with opened eyes and a mouth that thinks twice before speaking.