I was in London yesterday. And I met a reader, sort of by chance.
I do not normally do personal appearances, as I am a believer in the phrase “never meet your heroes”. I would not like to disappoint fans in real life by being not as attractive or funny as they thought (I know you have high expectations.)
It would be like me meeting Leonard Cohen and discovering that he has a high squeaky voice and gets his inspiration from the poems they have inside Hallmark cards. Or Leonard Nimoy, and finding out that he has normal ears after all and is not from space. (Note to Messrs Cohen’s and Nimoy’s lawyers – I am just using these as examples, and am not implying anything).
Fortunately she was both quite fit and not a stalker. I had been a bit worried about ending up like that blonde Abba lady on the telly the other night, or the chap from the film ‘Misery’ but I seemed safe enough. We walked down Charing Cross Road. I am a bit of a ‘new man’ so I tried not to look at her breasts, but when I pointedly averted my eyes away I found myself leering into the window of the ‘Harmony’ sex shop, then I went red and almost walked into a fat tourist.
“I liked the thing you wrote about pants yesterday,” she said. “It was the funniest thing I have ever read in my life and you are so talented.” (I am paraphrasing, as I cannot remember the exact words).
“Thank you,” I replied, modestly. But I also remembered that I had not put on an appropriate pair of pants for meeting a female admirer. I was almost about to mention this, but then I thought she would think that I was obsessed with pants as well as being someone who got their kicks from sneaking glances at sex shop window displays, so I kept quiet.
We settled down outside a coffee shop. By this time I was getting a bit anxious about all the crowds of people around, as I am not used to that these days. There was also a problem with our order which flustered me, as I was trying very hard to look cool and in control and cosmopolitan, rather than like a simple Norfolk pants-fixated bumpkin.
Unfortunately, when the street cleared a bit, I realised that I’d chosen a spot immediately opposite a large and trendy pants shop, in whose huge window was displayed four immensely bulging mannequins modelling a variety of extremely brief briefs.
I goggled at them in total disbelief. They thrust back at me. I looked left and right down the road. There were about a grillion coffee shops and only one pants outlet.
I drooped my head in humiliation and shame.