Monday, May 7, 2012

AwkwardFlail FTW


1. Oh, reader.

2. I had my first official author event this past weekend.

3. It was a trial run which should probably be titled "C.J. Tries To Be Authorly In Public."

4. The subtitle is "AwkwardFlail."

5. The fine print reads "If you invite C.J. to an event, and you haven't done your research, you deserve the spectacle you're about to witness."

6. What happened, you ask?

7. I was invited by the lovely people in the Heart of Dixie RWA chapter to host one of the tables at their annual Reader Appreciate Luncheon.

8. The event was wonderful. Fun, high energy, and very well attended.

9. There was a meet and greet beforehand, and then a fancy catered lunch, and then gift baskets and door prizes etc.

10. And there were photo ops.

11. Sadly, I believe my table was treated to more photo ops than anyone else.

12. I should come with a warning label. Something along the lines of "Read her blog BEFORE you meet her, and then sit near her at your own risk."

13. But I didn't have a warning label.

14. So innocent people who wanted to meet a new YA author sat at my table.

15. And brought their teenage daughters with them.

16. The lunch went something like this.

17. We all sat down at our table. The caterers had already placed glasses of tea and water by our knives, and had also set a selection of desserts around the table.

18. I began talking to the two teenage girls seated to my left.

19. I gesture as I talk.

20. At one point, I leaned forward to say something, and I slapped my hand SMACK DAB in the middle of a piece of pie.

21. I was covered in whipped cream and shame.

22. Well, not so much shame because I ran out of that about a decade and a half ago when I realized that growing up didn't necessarily mean I was going to grow out of general klutziness and epic fails.

23. But whipped cream? Oh yes. My hand was covered.

24. I could see the others at the table were trying to choose the correct response.

25. I can't blame them. I don't think there's a bylaw in the Social Etiquette Handbook that tells you how to act when a gregarious girl slams her hand into a piece of strawberry whipped cream pie.

26. So, I chose the response for them.

27. I very solemnly said, "That will be my piece."

28. And then I assured the girls that I do stuff like that all the time, and that they should feel free to laugh and find me slightly ridiculous.

29. The conversation moved on, and one of the girls told me she was being bullied at school for being different.

30. As she was saying that, the waiter set salads in front of us.

31. I assured the girl that the small-minded morons who bully others in school find themselves adrift without a victim or a vision when they graduate because outside of school, those of us with different brains and strange dreams are the ones who go on to greatness.

32. And then, dear reader, I took a bite of salad.

33. The fool of a chef who thought bite-sized pieces of lettuce were for wimps and who then followed that egregious error with a whopping half a bottle of dressing for a tiny pile of greens is on my LIST.

34. Because I forked up a bite of salad.

35. And the leaves were too big to fit completely in my mouth.

36. As you may have surmised, I have a big mouth. So these leaves of lettuce? HUGE.

37. Realizing I couldn't fit the entire bite in without stabbing the back of my throat with my fork, I closed my lips over the half-inserted leaf.

38. There is a law of physics that applies here.

39. I don't know the official name, but it has to do with leverage, and momentum, and copious amounts of salad dressing.

40. I bit down, the un-inserted end of the lettuce leaf shot up toward my mouth, and all of that extra salad dressing?

41. ALL OVER MY FACE.

42. And worse?

43. IN MY EYE.

44. I may be the only person in the entire world who can shoot herself in the eye with salad dressing using nothing more than a fork, a leaf of lettuce, and her own lips.

45. Here is the truly sad part of this tale.

46. I was so concerned with the dressing to my eye (Balsamic vinegar burns ... just a little bit), I failed to even realize there was dressing anywhere else.

47. Everywhere else.

48. I gently dabbed my eye and said something to the effect of "Crap. I shot salad dressing into my eye."

49. And when I looked up, everyone at the table was trying to signal to me.

50. Surreptitious swipes against their foreheads. Pointed glances at my cheekbones. Finally, one of the ladies just said "You have some on your face, too."

51. Hurray for understatement!

52. It was on my forehead. Both sides. On my nose. And on my cheeks.

53. I had to use my fancy cloth napkin to just wipe my whole face.

54. And then I turned to the girl beside me and said, "See? You can be awkward like WHOA, and your dreams can still come true. And then people will pay to come sit by you at lunch and think you're cool even though you've insulted a piece of pie and done terrible injury to yourself with salad dressing. People like us? Teenage years are torture. But the rest of life? It's wide open possibility."

55. And her mother said, "I told you C.J. was cool!"

56. Somehow, losing a poorly planned battle for my dignity with a plate of salad equalled cool. Those kind of things don't happen when you're a teenager. But when you're an adult? And you've learned to laugh at yourself? (Because hey, food was around. SOMETHING was bound to happen, but it doesn't have to derail you.) When you've learned to embrace the things that make you different, and when you value the stuff that once made you want to crawl into a hole and die from the awkwardflailness of it all, you win. You attract people who like you because you aren't afraid to just BE you.

57. And when you aren't afraid to BE you? Anything is possible.

58. Still, for all that pep talk, I think my publicist will read this and probably issue a memo to all future events instructing the organizers to keep me far, far away from food.


44 comments:

  1. I just want to sit at your table, because I will probably look like Miss Neat Queen in comparison, which never happens.

    Or more likely we will laugh ourselves sick and have a lot of fun.

    <333

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  2. Yes, I want to sit at your table too. It's clearly where the coolest kids sit. Forget what was cool when we were teenagers. I want your kind of cool now.

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    Replies
    1. You may want to bring some napkins, but you are more than welcome! :)

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  3. Again I ask - how in the WORLD did the two of us get through 2.5 weeks in China without causing a major international food incident?! I swear we are long lost sisters or something! (This from the one who wore a piece of fettuccine most of the afternoon Friday without realizing it.)

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    Replies
    1. LOL. Maybe because we could blame anything that happened on our wiggly babies??? :D

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  4. Replies
    1. Naturally, I suspected you were in charge of the salads that day ...

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  5. LOL, oh goodness. Now I totally want to have lunch with you. One time on a date in college, I got a bottle of snapple and popped the lid and set it down. Then when I was ready to take a drink, I started shaking it, forgetting the lid was already popped. Juice went EVERYWHERE. My date just stared at me for literally a minute while I stared in horror and then he said, "I'll get napkins" and jumped up. I think if we ate together things would be epic--also messy. Also I sometimes talk to my food when I'm having trouble with it and am known to say things like, "get in my mouth!" Really.

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha!!! I often look at my food and say, "REALLY???!" but it never helps matters.

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  6. That sounds like something I would do. lol

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    Replies
    1. Must be why we get along. One of the reasons, anyway. :)

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  7. If ever you're at an event in Texas, I will be sure to bring you some truffles. After taking all that happened and keeping your stride, you deserve them. :)

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    Replies
    1. Change truffles to lemon bars and we have a deal! =D

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    2. You know, I do have a fabulous lemon bar recipe. =D

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  8. Giant lettuce salads are high on my list, along with Giant Broccoli Florets (and Giant Broccoli Florets IN Giant Lettuce Salads? It's just frightening). I'm so glad that you are a successful and intelligent human who somehow still winds up wearing your dinner. It makes me know I'm not alone.

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    Replies
    1. You are NOT alone. And you should abandon your scheme to bring me pie at the signing Monday night. *gives you the Beady Eye*

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  9. Snort- those are all reasons why I would always want to sit at YOUR table!

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    Replies
    1. Lol. Well then, you've been warned. :)

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  10. I totally feel your pain. Lettuce, spaghetti, soup, and chili are my biggest nemeses. You are completely awesome for taking it all in stride. Me? My face would closely resemble a tomato. I am a champion blusher, which is not so good when you're a total klutz in addition. :-D

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    Replies
    1. I learned long ago to take it in stride. I've done SO MANY ridiculous things in public that it was either learn to roll with it or just never leave my house.

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  11. I am so glad I share this world with you!

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  12. My dear, you ARE cool. Sometimes it's good to show teens that their role models are people too. And being a klutz? Heh. That's okay in my book. :)

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    Replies
    1. I sort of just had a heart palpitation when you said "role model." Lol. But I agree. There's very little mystique surrounding me, and I think being authentic is a valuable trait. :) (Even when I want to murder a chef)

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  13. So ... What events shall we attend together when I'm there in August? Because you by yourself needs a warning label. Us together? PSA campaign.

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    Replies
    1. Weeellll, we'll both be at my launch party. And there will be CAKE. And possibly FIRE. So ... yeah.

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  14. Oh my gosh, I rarely laugh out loud when reading anything. But this really cracked me up!

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  15. The day Awesome Agent Holly took me out for treats to celebrate my signing with her, I bit my lip so hard while eating some cake that I bled all over everything. Then my lip puffed up so spectacularly that I couldn't even eat the rest of my cake. And it takes a LOT to keep me from eating cake, CJ.

    What I'm trying to say is, yay awkward eating twins! *high five*

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    Replies
    1. Ha! I think Holly attracts the awkward eaters, which is hilarious because she is very rarely awkward.

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  16. I would have loved sitting at that table! Just the way you post on here, makes me think how fabulous you are in person!!

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    Replies
    1. Aww. Thank you! I hope the readers at my table left feeling the same way, lol. :)

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  17. Oh, C.J., you're adorable. ^_^

    As an eye-witness to this event, and to you being owned by a plate of leafy greens, I have to thank you for the experience. It was like you absorbed all of the things that -I- was most likely to do, and martyred yourself on my behalf. And you handled it all with more grace, wit, and lesson application than I could have ever managed, to boot.

    And then when I apparently couldn't sustain my veneer of 'mature adult' any longer (you know, when they tried to take my plate away while it still had a half a piece of PERFECTLY GOOD CHOCOLATE on it that I clearly wasn't finished with, and I proceeded to squawk/flail/plead until they brought it back for me to polish off) you were so forgiving as to relay your own run-in with certain waitstaff over their premature efficiency in table clearing (i.e. The Chips n' Salsa Incident.)...

    Fact: You are awesome, C.J. ^_^ I would be honored to sit by you again at any semi-formal event and dodge the splatter from your sabotaged salad. :D

    ~Angela Blount

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    Replies
    1. Lol. That's gracious of you! And dude ... waiters should NEVER remove perfectly good chocolate. Or chips and salsa. It's a RULE.

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  18. C.J., I think you need to record all of your meals in the future. And then post them to this blog. XD

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    Replies
    1. Oh, my ... there's a reason I don't vlog. But if ever I do, I will name my youtube channel AwkwardFlail.

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  19. Oh my God. (wipes the tears of laughter from eyes.) Are your books half as funny as your blog? I'm pre-ordering Defiance right now:)

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    Replies
    1. Hee! Defiance has flashes of humor in it, but it's far more epic fantasy adventure than humor. But next year, I do have a humorous adult fantasy series coming out, so ... yeah. Have to put these life experiences to work!

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  20. I am CRYING right now while reassuring my boys that these are tears of laughter!! I thought this kind of stuff only happened to me. ;D I'd pay to eat a meal with you any day!!

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    Replies
    1. Lol. We would be a mess. A hawt mess? Maybe. Maybe ...

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  21. You are my new favorite person in the whole world. :) Also, that poor shaved llama is hysterical.

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    1. That poor llama!!! *pets his poofy head*

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  22. See if I knew you were at an event, I fight people to sit next to you. Especially if you brought the shaved llama. LOL. It is really cool that the teenager was able hear what you had to say. Hopefully it will stick with her.

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