My friend and I
walk down Laneda Avenue
in Manzanita when his wife,
also a friend of mine,
calls the cell phone and says that
Colin Meloy is inside the Cloud and Leaf
signing books, and, like a teenager, I start
running down the street.
Having been earlier inside the bookstore,
having thought about purchasing Wildwood,
because, you know, I like the Decemberists,
and Colin Meloy’s a musician
and I’m a musician, he’s a writer
and I’m a writer, he lives in Portland
and I live in Portland, and his book
is a book for young readers
and I think it might be a fun book
to share with my son, but deciding
not to buy for whatever reason
one decides not to buy something
one wants, and walking away
up Laneda Avenue, I’m three or four
blocks away when my friend’s wife,
who is also a friend of mine, calls and tells us
that Colin Meloy is inside the Cloud and Leaf
signing books. My teenage heart
trapped in a middle-aged body
goes pitter-pat and suddenly
I am motivated to buy his books
and I run, I run down the sidewalk,
dragging my friend and my eight year old son along.
I burst my way into the bookstore
like Kramer making an entrance in a Seinfeld episode,
and there he is, Colin Meloy, making a purchase.
And I say, Colin, as if we were long lost friends,
and he says, yes, and I say, are you signing books?
He points to a table of freshly signed copies of Wildwood.
I shake his hand, tell him my name, that I’m a fan.
He thanks me, walks out, and I buy his books and that’s the whole story.
It was not the best part of the beach trip,
only the most unexpected and strange,
because of the chance meeting of a local rock star, sure,
but mostly because of my behavior, which surprises me
in both good ways and bad. Not one to faun
over idols, as I get older even less so, I find it funny
and odd that I sprinted down the street so as not
to miss him, that in this moment, meeting Colin
Meloy was somehow monumentally important.
Was it that crucial to have attention and approval
from someone famous, my vanity satiated by
introducing myself, identifying as a loyal supporter,
or was it simply the discovery within myself of that part of me
never too far from the surface, hiding nevertheless under
middle-aged dignity, that part of me belonging to the
eternal teenage rock and roll fan club?
Guilty on both counts.