There are a number of questions I’d like to pose to you, my virtual posse, and I’ll get to them in time. But an interesting one came up today: what is the very best (or favorite) compliment you’ve ever received?
Here’s why I ask. On one of my booktours I was flying Southwest and was fortunate enough to get the aisle seat in the third row from the front. The window seat next to me was empty. The last person to board came dashing in and up the aisle and said to me – and I don’t know how to describe the way he said it, because it’s not going to sound funny, but it was VERY funny and I knew it immediately – “Look, it’s your fault you have to get up to let me in.” I said, “OH NAY. It is your fault for being an untimely slacker.” He had trouble getting his carry-on bag under the seat and I said, “You’re one of those.” “One of what?” he asked. “One of those people who don’t want to check a bag because they’re so enormously important they can’t waste time waiting for the bags to be unloaded, and so entitled they believe they can take up as much space as they want.” He looked at me gleefully and said, “You really KNOW me.” Needless to say, we made with the yackety-yack all the way from Houston to Durham, and much of the conversation was side-achingly funny. It turned out he was a breast cancer specialist, on his way to deliver a paper at a conference at Duke Medical School. He had developed a very specialized technique of tumor removal, and he showed me the slides he would use the next day. We took to each other just smashingly well – which is odd, because, you know, he was a doctor, not a bohemian or an outsider or . . . one of us is what I mean. But after an hour I had reached the point where, when he mentioned how much he loved spending a day on his boat I said, “Oh here we go. A boat. Boat Guy. So you get out on the water and you’re drinking a beer and feeling manly, and the wind is in your hair, and the 25-year-old nurse you’re trying to seduce looks SO fetching in her bikini, and THIS is freedom. You are free. And the next day you go back to working 80-hour weeks because you want a bigger boat.” He said, “Hey, that nurse was twenty-seven.”
When we landed in Durham he turned to me and said, “You know, you are so smart and so attentive and quick – just lightning fast – you would make a great bird dog.”
I am complimented constantly by my readers and by booksellers, etc., also my mother, and I appreciate every one, truly. But THAT will always be the best.
Okay, your turn.