Dean isn’t the only one in the family with obsessions. I have them too — mostly about meeting authors. I wrote about my obsession with Phyllis Reynolds Naylor a couple of times, but never really explained that the real obsession was that I could possibly be walking in Bethesda and pass her on the street or in the grocery store because she actually lived in Bethesda. Back when I was following Neil Gaiman’s blog I used to imagine bumping into him somehow, someday — not at the National Book Festival where he’s been an invited author many times, but maybe if I ever traveled to Minneapolis or something. I mean, it could have happened…
Well, my latest obsession about meeting someone sort of famous lasted about 5 years or so. A while back (like I said, 5 years or so) I was searching for something involving Bethesda on Google and came across a blog written by a young mother who, it seemed, lived in Bethesda. I read her blog and recognized places she talked about (the Trader Joe’s with the crazy stupid parking lot and the Pier 1 store not far from Trader Joe’s where she once dropped some packages and a passerby ignored her [I wouldn’t have done so, I vowed]).
As the years went on she wrote more about her family — the births of her second and third sons; the death of her father a few months after my own father’s death. She freely posted photos of herself, her boys and her husband, but I always wondered if I would recognize her or them if I passed them on the street in Bethesda. Photos are one thing — the real live person is another.
I even dreamed about meeting this blogger. I posted about one dream — where she fed us hot dogs, but have not bothered to mention the other dreams. They usually simply incorporate her as a friend of mine. Please note — while I read her blog, I do not really know her and do not pretend to know her, but try telling that to my subconscious.
So the other day when Clare was home for a few days after Superstorm Sandy hit our area she wanted to go shopping at a local mall to find some new jeans. She found a couple pairs (okay — four pairs of skinny corduroys in different colors) and we were meandering through the mall wondering where to go next when I turned around near the Fossil store and saw AMALAH! (her name is really Amy but she goes by Amalah on twitter and that’s the name of her blog). There, in the middle of a bunch of strangers was this family I’d read about 3 times a week. The whole family, was walking in the mall as if they were not totally famous. I had a few seconds to decide what I would do. Would I run up and say, “Amy! I read your blog! I am so glad to finally meet you!”? or would I just watch the family pass by without saying anything, but feeling all giddy and wanting to dance a little jig?
I chose the latter. I did tell Clare about it and pointed out each of the children by name and she thought they were adorable. (they were!)
Afterwards I felt a little let down — not because I’d seen them, but because my wait was over. I finally ran into them somewhere in Bethesda. Of course it could happen again — and maybe next time I will say something — hopefully I will be calmer then.
But really — now I have nothing to look forward to. I need a new obsession!
*No chasing was involved — it was a purely accidental encounter. Promise!