His voice has become very easy for me to recognize over the years. As soon as a few of his words start to float out of the speakers in my car, I know I’m immediately in for something good.
So good that I laugh through it, hard – so hard I can’t remember it well enough to even try and recreate it for someone else.
He’s like a guaranteed retreat from whatever is going on at the moment. A mental getaway seasoned with the easiest wit and most captivating observational storytelling. David Sedaris, for me, is a mental dessert.
There was a period of time when I didn’t hear him, because it was too difficult to. It would have been a fight, another argument about the things I do that take my time away from my family.
Because reading is so selfish.
Also selfish? Listening to news radio, NPR to be exact, where I would hear him narrate his writing among other news happening that day. Taking the time to get informed, to know what is happening in the world. Carving out space to intentionally learn.
All that, while I would be driving to work or home from work or on errands or whatever. It was too much, apparently.
“Who are you trying to be?”
That was one of the questions I’d get, with indignation. Who was I trying to be by reading and learning from books and experts analyzing politics, breaking news, social issues and the human condition. Just me, that’s all I was trying to be.
But that was frowned upon. Being me, that is. Thinking freely and choosing to explore. It all flew in the face of what was favored: isolation.
That’s why, just before driving to a book signing for David’s new paperback a week or so ago, I had a mini moment in my car. I realized I was heading toward another victorious checkpoint. I was going to see one of my favorite authors, in person. I’d listen to him speak, maybe get a chance to talk with him, and leave with a signed copy of his newest book.
And most of that happened. Except for the “chance to talk with him” moment, because he likes to take his time with each of his fans – so much time we were told we’d need to wait four hours, which meant we’d miss a surprise birthday party that night. And the party had fresh crab on the menu.
So, crab won. And I would have only said something stupid to David in my attempt to come up with something witty and clever. It’s best we didn’t talk.
And we still got a signed copy. And I still got to see him and hear him and laugh at his magical talent, as he bemoaned his obsession with his fitbit so much so he resented receiving a ride home late one night because he’d miss out on his steps. It was a perfect, classic Sedaris story – one he previewed for us as part of his next collection.
And after all of it, we got to bring home a bound indulgence for later, where I’ll be able to hear his voice as soon as I crack it open.