Actually, here's what it was like:
When we got to the Barnes & Noble, there was a little table in front of the store with three people with tickets. If you wanted a ticket, you needed to buy a book. She wasn't doing a meet and greet. So I went in the store to buy a book, expecting there to be a huge pile of them somewhere. After wandering through the store, I finally asked a staff member where they were. They were all behind the counter. Why? I do not know.
So I bought my book and went back in front to get my ticket and also got a little speech. We were told, "Don't ask her about Ellen. [She's Mrs. Ellen de Generes, you know.] Miss de Rossi will include a personal name, but no personalized message. No photos."
Wandered around the store some more and accidentally entered a no-fly zone where a uniformed security woman said, "No standing in this aisle until after Miss de Rossi comes through." OK. We shuffled off to the business book section, but noted the table set with bottles of water just behind her.
Over the PA system, those with tickets 1-10 were invited to gather in the cookbook section "on the right-hand side of the store." Ummm...which way are you facing that it's on your right? I was ticket #14, so I looked to see if there was any clue from the way people were moving, but I didn't see it.
And then, in the distance, in the back of the store...a procession, and a woman with a blonde ponytail in the middle. It was she! She apparently made her way up the aisle unmolested, but then those with tickets 11-20 were called to the cookbook section.
Which was on the complete opposite side of the store, of course. "Do not ask about Ellen. She will include a name, but no personalized message. No photos." Did I want the book personalized? No...no... The truth is, I'm thinking to sell it on eBay once I'm done. My friend astutely and truthfully noted, "We don't know who we're going to give it to yet."
Those of us in line chatted about this and that. I heard about other celebrity book signings and how this compared (pretty standard, apparently), and then we were all marched in a line around the store to stand behind a pink line of tape and be ushered one by one into the presence.
"Don't ask about Ellen. She will include a personal name but no personalized message. No photos," said the staff person. "You will hand in your ticket and you will be escorted to see Miss de Rossi," each person was told as they reached the pink line. The woman ahead of me was walked around the corner. I reached the pink line.
"Don't ask about Ellen. She will include a personal name but no personalized message. No photos," said the staff person. I handed in my ticket. My friend and I were escorted to...the table.
Afterwards, I realized that what happened there was amazingly similar to this:
We arrived at the table where Portia sat and I put her book in front of her. "Welcome to El Cerrito!" my friend said. Portia (now that I've met her, I feel I can call her Portia) said, "Actually, it's lovely here." She turned to me. "No name?" Slack-jawed, I shook my head. She signed her name. "Garden state of the East Bay!" said my friend. "I've never had a chance to be here before," Portia said. "I've been to San Francisco many times, of course." I think she said something else. Or my friend did. I don't remember. It's all a blur, until I said, "East Bay all the way!" and we quickly decamped.
At any rate, I started the book, which is really good. Painful, but good. Here, at long last, is the teaser:
I sat on the dark green vinyl sofa facing the kitchen and smoked four cigarettes in a row to try to take away the urge for the icy-cold sweetness, because only when I stopped wanting it would I allow myself to have it. I didn't take my eyes off the freezer the whole time I sat smoking, just in case my mind had tricked me into thinking I was smoking when I was actually at the freezer binging.
So what are you reading? Any good story behind getting the book?