24 August 2009

The Author and the Housewife

Alternate titles for this post:

What not to do in an elevator with your superhero

How to be an idiot if your alter-ego is named Rowena

Book of a Thousand Regrets

The Chicken Girl

Rowena Burning

This weekend we were in northern Utah at a family reunion, and on Saturday morning my sister-in-law and I went to IKEA. After discovering the perfect head for Alex's robot, we got in the elevator to go down and pick up the lampshade. I went in the elevator, and to my shock, awe, dismay, and delight Shannon Hale, her husband Dean, and her daughter Magnolia stepped in behind us.

I was overcome.

I was overcome with joy! My hero! The literary love of my life, the idol of all of my writer's hero-worship was trapped in an elevator with me! I had just recently been plotting what I would say if I ever met her. My heart filled with emotion at the thought of how I LOVED that last book. My brain raced.

Should I say, "I love your work?" That would be an unoriginal inside joke, from The Actor and the Housewife. Should I say nothing and respect her privacy as the fabulous super-star celebrity I esteem her to be? My mind cast about for something clever, original, witty... Nothing. Should I just out her, and ask if everyone in the elevator knows that we are in the presence of greatness, my favorite author, the greatest writer in the United States and probably the world? Maybe I should have just bowed down and told her how much I worship her in her authorial awesomeness.

"Um, someone has to push the button, if we want the elevator to go down. That would probably be you," said a nice lady, bringing me back down to the earth, where many days I reside.

"Oh," I said, thinking, That's because I want to trap us all in here for an hour because a paragon of brilliance and wonder is standing right there, and I want to hang out with her. Instead, I said, "Oh, yes, of course. I only shop here about once a year." Truth be told I only ride an elevator about once a year, and the technical details of the ride are generally attended to by my sweet husband. For crying out loud, what woman can be expected to think of something like an elevator button when Shannon Awesome Freaking Hale is on the elevator with her!

And I said nothing to her.

I will never let myself live this down. I am a weak cheese sauce lame shy housewife.


Kimi said...

I would peed my pants with excitement and then if I worked up the courage to say anything it would have come out totally wrong, not at all how I meant it and for the rest of my life I'd have to try to convince myself that she wouldn't remember me.

The Rookie said...

How funny! One time the roommate and I saw a general authority in the Honolulu airport and uttered the ever eloquent, "Hiiiiii" like we were 14 and bumped into Zach Efron or something. We even elbowed each other as he kindly said "Hello, ladies."

Needless to say, I'm not so smooth in such situations.

And the next time YOU are in Northern Utah you must email in advance and we'll meet. I'll try to be eloquent and charming and witty and I'll push all the buttons on the elevator.

Queen Elizabeth said...


Dansie Family said...

you are freaking hilarious! sorry you chickened out. it is better than your mom calling her over from across a restaurant for an autograph and mortifying you.

Marie Loves Ben said...

oh, oh, oh! saddest story i have EVER heard today!!! i am so sorry. dadgummit, i am going to track down shannon hale and INSIST she get back into an elevator with you so we can try this whole thing again. dear rowena.
it could all look better tomorrow. i'm not saying it will. just that it definately could.

sammygrace said...

awe jenny...dont beat yourself up too much... only a little. just kidding. i would've prob done the exact same thing. sometimes its in our bramall blood to overanalyze what to do in a situation- so then the situation passes. its ok. it happens. life shall go on. p.s. thanks for reading the actor and the housewife- thus far i've about peed my pants laughing at it. and i'm only halfway through.

shannon hale said...

Actually, I think you said, "I only shop here once in a blue moon." And your hair looked really cute.

Jen said...

Oh Shannon Hale, I love you more every day.

[dies of happiness]

amy said...

At least you're hilarious.

Saddie said...

You should totally email Hale and and link this post. She would love it and you. How could she not?

msjvd said...

Saddie: LOOK THREE POSTS UP. Shannon Hale has already been here and done that.

Andrew said...

Great, Jenny. Now her head's gonna get all big again. : P

Andrew said...

PS I knew you liked Shannon's work but I didn't know you adored her that way! I would totally abuse my relational proximity to her to get you a second chance at meeting dear Shannon. Especially considering that you and Shannon are two of my favorite humans ever. Of course you girls should be friends!

Marie Loves Ben said...

oh. my. heck.
shannon hale commented on your blog. you exist! she likes your hair! she made your elevator comment sound cute and clever!
happy day, rowena. happy day.

myimaginaryblog said...

Wow. Just think how this story might still have had a sad ending without the internet.

The thing that blew my mind was when I saw on Shannon's blog (at least I think that's where I saw it) that she had met Dave Barry and joked around with him. If I met Dave Barry, my tongue would get tied into such a knot I'd choke on it and expire on the spot. I do want to live, so I guess I'd better not write a bestselling book and meet Dave Barry. (That's my only reason not to. Of course.)

Tink said...

Sounds like something I would do!