Monday, October 09, 2006

Hodging your bets...

You have probably seen these latest Apple ads with the two guys playing the Mac and the PC...If not--they are definitely worth checking out!!!!!

Also check out:

So in one of fate's funny little detours, here is one of those lovely 'follow the breadcrumbs' vignettes that make you think that the universe, if not winking in your general direction, is at the very least egging you on...

Several years ago my dad befriended this guy John Hodgman. He is a lovely man and his son John Hodgman Jr. at the time had one of those imoressive New York gritty stories of struggling writer gambling everything looking for his big break...a total inspiration. Hodgman Jr. worked as a receptionist at the New York Times. While there, he worked hard, made contacts and supported a young family on a struggling writer's salary...which is a heroic task in and of itself. In other words...he was committed to his dream to make his words live. A fledgling writer myself, I would touch base with him via email from time to time and he was always completely gracious and encouraging.

Fast forward to now...He is a successful published author of a very funny book entitled, "The Areas of My Expertise" and has been a recurring guest on the Jon Stewart show. But in all of that time that he was up and coming and arriving and here...I never actually met John in person...just corresponded electronically, sporadically over the years and followed his career as I tried to build my own.

One day this summer, a friend and I decided to play hooky and head to one of my favorite places on the planet...The Montague Book Mill in Montague, MA. Their motto (found on their website and t-shirts) is "Books you don't a place you can't find." The Book Mill is an old haunt of mine and I have gone there in all seasons since I was a student at UMASS Amherst. Back in college, I'd study there in the little cafe that overlooks the small waterfall surrounded by trees whose leaves trumpet rust, gold and crimson in the autumn or bend under a blanket of soft white as winter creeps in and covers all silently. The same trees are then riotously bursting with more shades of green than a graphic designer's color palette in Springtime when they practically scream Vivaldi... It is a tiny piece of heaven on earth and has always been a spiritual haven to me. A piece of peace.

As I walked in and scanned the 6 or so tables to find a good spot by the window...I saw John Hodgman Junior for the first time in all of our oblique acquaintanceship. He was just sitting there working on his laptop and on his cellphone.

And how did I even recognize him?

From the commercials, of course.

If I were a betting woman...I'd say the odds of that kind of random encounter were pretty slim, wouldn't you?

When he finished his call, I mustered up my nerve and went over to introduce myself and we chatted briefly. Didn't want to distract him from working on his Mac laptop. :) Yet another of life's little ironies since in the Mac commercials he plays the PC. He was very warm and kind as he'd always been in his emails and very down-to-earth.

It was a surreal moment. But one filled with that kind of glow that only the Book Mill's special brand of serendipity can induce for me. That 'you are here for a reason' glow. It's a place where time doesn't exist since I see myself overlapping with who I am now and who I was as a college student and all of the who I was-es (not a word--I know) I have been in between. Even the who I will be's were there, waving and beckoning and saying...'Someday your book will be here. Patience. Have a cup of tea and look at the leaves. Those trees aren't going anywhere, kiddo, but you are. So relax and enjoy the ride, the scenery and the breadcrumbs.'


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