I went to Pub or Perish last night.  I thought I was there early enough, but I didn’t see any seats available.  After loitering around for a few minutes, I saw some guys get up and leave, so I casually wandered over to their table.  I put my hand on the back of one of the chairs at about the same time that an older lady came up and did the same thing. 

We smiled shyly at each other, and she asked, “Oh!  Are you sitting here?” 

I admitted that I’d been thinking about it, but the lady, whose name is Ann, agreed that since we’d both come alone, we’d just sit together.  We chatted a bit, and when another lady sidled up to our table, Ann asked if she was looking for a place to sit.  She offered our extra seat, adding, “We just met!”  When she said it, the arrangement seemed like a such a lark.

Now, I knew that the other lady was Dorothy Allison, the author of Bastard Out of Carolina which has led to my mild 5 year obsession with the idea of people washing their hair in baby urine, but Ann didn’t.  Dorothy introduced herself and we shook hands all around.  I didn’t know what to say, really, but Ann talked about some of the panels she’d seen earlier and eventually we chatted pretty companionably.  At some point, it came out that our newest tablemate was a writer who would be reading that night.  Ann asked me if I’d known that, and I admitted that I’d read one of her books.


We ordered food.  Lots of people came over to introduce themselves to Dorothy, and every time she introduced me and Ann.  I found it both embarrassing and a little thrilling because I felt like a total fraud sitting there as if I knew or had some connection to Ms. Allison.

I spent about 20 minutes having an inner debate with myself, but I finally took a deep breath and asked the pee question.