It's true! I did! I really, really did!
He came to speak at Sixth&I which is a synagogue in DC with Nathan Englander to discuss their book, The New American Haggadah. (Well, it's not really their book, but, you know what I mean.)
I had knots in my stomach all day about possibly meeting him. I wasn't sure if they would do a book signing or not since it was a special event about a special book in a special place, but I got an email while at work saying they were indeed holding a book signing after the discussion.
I read that line a few times because it just wasn't really sinking in. That definitely meant I'd be meeting him. I had to run downstairs and tell my boss about it because I needed to not only tell someone how excited I was, but I also needed to be reassured that I wouldn't faint in front of him or start crying... Or both.
Just before I left the house last night, I was pacing and freaking out a bit, and Kendal said, "He's just a person!" which I think helped a little bit and I found myself repeating that out loud all the way to the event.
I know, I sound like a very sad, obsessed 12 year old, but I just adore him so much. I can't help it. And I'm already so bad at talking to people and meeting strangers, so meeting him just wasn't even fathomable.
My friend Shaun met him in San Francisco a few years ago when he spoke at Google and my heart was doing cartwheels when he got a book signed for me, and mentioned to Jonathan how much I love him. I couldn't believe it! I was so happy, even then, and I wasn't even the one who met him!
Anyway, more about the event...
Jonathan's mother is actually the director of the synagogue, so she went up to the microphone first, not only to welcome and thank everyone for coming, but also to talk about how proud she is of Jonathan and to speak about how very honored she was to welcome her son to be the guest speaker at the synagogue.
That must be very weird, but also so heartwarming. His whole family was there it seemed; they all had reserved seats near the front. Andrew got there a bit earlier than I did (because my brain was on omgomgomg-mode so I got off at the wrong Metro stop, grrr) and saved us an excellent spot close to the stage. I was so happy!
The discussion was great and finally getting to see him speak in person after watching countless interviews online was incredible. He's so smart. I could listen to him talk all day...
After it was over, everyone got in line for the signing. I was actually keeping my cool a lot better than I thought I would. The line was inching closer and closer and when it was my turn, I simply said hi and asked if I could get a picture. I was completely normal, and I have Andrew to vouch for that. I didn't even throw up or cry or anything.
It was funny because it was obvious that I only wanted a picture with Jonathan since I don't even remember looking at or talking to Nathan, but when I walked around to the other side of their chairs, Nathan started to lean in and pose for a picture, assuming I would be standing between them, but I walked right by him and stood on the left side of Jonathan and then noticed he was posing so I felt bad and quickly moved to the middle. They both caught it and laughed and Jonathan sort of pushed Nathan and said, "just move a liiiiittle bit further that way," trying to move him out of the picture, haha. That's why they're laughing in the photo and unfortunately have their eyes closed!
Oh well, I'm still so happy with it. I of course regret not telling Jonathan all about how much I love him and his books and how I wanted to bring all of them but didn't want to be that person, etc.
I also planned to mention how he met Shaun at Google to see if he remembered him and the book he got signed for me, but I just couldn't find the words.
Book signings are a bit awkward and impersonal since they're kind of like an assembly line and people just want to keep it all moving quickly. Plus, you're sort of in shock so it makes it difficult to let your mind think anything at all, but next time I will definitely be more prepared and make sure I let him know how much his writing means to me!
I love how supportive Andrew was/is. After we left, he said "Ahh, you met him! How does it feel???" Which is the exact reaction I was hoping for. He's the best. Life is good and I'm happy happy happy!
Have you ever met anyone you really admire?