I was excited to arrive at the first book launch I’ve ever been invited to but quickly realized I had no idea what to do. I figured the first thing was obviously say hello to the author. I’d met Ashok only once before at a reading and we’d kept in touch about writerly things through email. His book is a non-fiction account about how he had a brain aneurysm when he was 25 after jerking off right before his brother’s wedding. Let’s just say that I’m halfway through his book and although it’s riveting stuff, I now know a whole lot about this person I barely know in real life.
I walked up to him and said hi.
“Hey, nice to meet you, thanks for coming,” he said to me, clearly having no idea who I was even though we’d emailed a few days ago.
“Really? Are you joking?” I said.
He stared at me for a minute. “Oh. Allie Moh with the sexy bangs. Sorry. You know, brain injury,” he said pointing to his head.
Wow. Way to make me feel bad for him not recognizing me.
Soon he was distracted by welcoming other people and after I bought the obligatory glass of wine and his book I stood there awkwardly realizing I knew no one and a lot of people there were from his brain injury support group. It soon became clear who those people were as they were way more open and inviting than anyone else there. Especially my new friend Gregory, who walked right over to me and started talking and whenever he said something outrageous he would put his head on my shoulder as if in a state of shock. He was fun to chat to, if and when I could get a word in, though being a New Yorker through and through, I’m not so good when it comes to invasion of personal space.
Ashok got up to read a bit from his book. He’d told me earlier that he requested a stand to put what he was reading from on because at the reading where we met, we witnessed a reader’s hand shaking with his unstapled papers and we thought about the perils of your papers falling as you read. He did well and after congratulating him, meeting a few people who were interested in starting a workshop group, I headed off into the cold night and into some other warm bars . . .