Monday, May 23, 2011

WWJLD - What Would Jen Lancaster Do?

Pearls, Lacoste shirts, Argyle, Ambien, Barbie, Reality TV...

Is there any reason NOT to love Jen Lancaster?

I was so giddy Friday night when my friend Kim and I headed to the bookstore where Jen would be reading from her novel If You Were Here - yes, John Hughes fans, this book is for you and if you don't connect the title with what is only the most influential movie of anyone's life born between 1968 and 1978, than I suggest you google Jake Ryan and educate yourself.

And you can thank me later for the pinot grigio. Yes, it seems I've taken to the white that makes housewives, particularly housewives of NYC, dance like turtles. But anyway...

I'd been waiting for her all of my life.

No, really.

Ever since reading her first book many, many moons ago and being an avid blog and twitter follower (despite the fact that I only "tweet" when something goes wrong with my Internet in order to get the attention of the provider), I knew, I just knew, that if she ever came to town I would be there.

In my mind it goes something like this:

Jen Lancaster comes to Seattle and discovers Carrie, whom she immediately adopts as a sister and mentors in the ways of writing, snarking, music and generally having a good time. She flies Carrie and family home to meet Fletch and her beloved animals, including the feral cats, who are immediately tamed by Carrie's daughter. From this point on, Carrie's family and the Lancasters are inseperable. They celebrate holidays together and go on trips to The Hamptons, even though Jen makes fun of The Hamptons in My Fair Lazy. Fletch and Carrie's husband Brett get along like long lost brothers. Jen listens to Carrie tell stories about being a firefighter wife and mom to 3 crazy kids, and Carrie listens to Jen tell her about everything else. They enjoy cupcakes and taking in the occasional Bret Michaels concert together, just to balance everything out. Jen can't imagine what her life was like before Carrie. They all live happily ever after. The end.

In reality it went something like this:

I stressed out over what to wear to see Jen Lancaster all week, finally settling for a lime green "shirtjacket" that I think is totally the bomb. My husband, not so much. He thinks I look like a giant lime. But I took a poll on facebook and my friends there all gave it a thumbs up so sorry Brett, you lose. Giant lime it is.

After stressing out over my clothing, I frantically searched for all the pearls I owned. Even the fake ones. I tried on the longest strand I had, wrapping it 4 times around my neck, thinking if Jen Lancaster didn't think that was totally rad, than I don't know what is. But it was too much. And my kids were acting up. And my daughter came out of her room wearing an ensemble that resembled a very poorly dressed clown so I had to abandon my pearl experimentation.

Perhaps I should rethink my fantasy about my daughter taming Jen's feral cats, clearly she was the one who needed taming.

One strand of pearls and lime green "shirtjacket" later, I picked up Kim and we headed on the first leg of our journey to see Jen Lancaster.

Since it was the day before THE RAPTURE, we took notice of the strange band of color surrounding the sun. I may have freaked out a little and maybe even Kim did too as we craned our necks to see the entirety of this phenomenon out the car windows as I drove down the highway. We may have even panicked a little and totally freaked out the kids, but that's neither here nor there. What we did learn, after calling an expert on atmospheric happenings (my husband), was that the weird band around the sun was not indeed the coming of Jesus, but only something called a "sun angel," which is caused by high clouds.

But still.

It sure looked like Armageddon to me.

And nothing was going to keep me from my Jen Lancaster. Not even that.

To make what could be a very long story short, we finally made it to the book reading. We were even early enough to snag seats in the front row. We took about a thousand self-portraits with Kim's iPhone to pass the time and I nervously crossed and uncrossed my legs until I saw HER, Jen Lancaster, peek her face around the black curtain that defined us, the book reading audience, from the rest of the folk in that area of the book store who were just sitting around munching on bagels and reading The Stranger. What. Ever.

My friend Linda will recall a Dave Matthews concert circa 2001 (what the heck does "circa" mean anyway), when I screamed like a banshee in her left ear (that was the one facing me) during a particularly intense moment.

My friend Kim will tell you she lost a little hearing in her left ear when I saw Jen Lancaster for the first time.

Note to friends: Never sit on my right when we go to these things. And probably not my left either. In fact, I have a better idea - just wear earplugs when you go anywhere with me.

Jen read from her novel, she told jokes and answered questions. Why she does not have her own show in Vegas is beyond me. Celine Dion has got nothing on Jen Lancaster.

When it was finally time for Kim and I to meet my idol and future BFF, I completely lost my nerve. I was going to tell her how it was fate that we were wearing the same color - I mean, not many people can pull off lime green. I was going to say how much she has made me laugh while I was crying over heaps and heaps of Lego's and Polly Pockets and Little People. I was going to tell her how much it meant to me when she started following me on twitter, even though I have nothing to say, and how much I admire her writing, her wit and hilarious take on everything from Grey Poupon to Mob Wives.

But all I could do was giddily hand her the cupcake I'd picked up at the grocery store and tried to disguise as something special by stuffing it's box with pink tissue paper and sticking a curly ribbon on top.

When she asked me where the cupcake was from, I said, "It's from Kim and I!"

"No, where did you get it?" She inquired.

Instead of saying someplace hip and cool, like Cupcake Royale, I had to answer, "Le QFC."

Yes, QFC, as in the grocery store.

Don't I get bonus points for honesty?

I'm pretty sure my BFF-in-standing status plummeted a thousand points upon uttering those words, despite my lime green "shirtjacket." Or maybe it took a plunge when I told Jen Lancaster that had her flight from Seattle to Portland been delayed any longer than it already had, causing much facebook panic amongst her Seattle fans, that I would have happily gone to pick her up.

To which she said, "And that wouldn't be creepy at all, now would it?"

Despite my uncoolness, I still had the time of my life.

My friend Kim, Jen Lancaster and me


Anonymous said...

Well, too bad this isn't one of your tweets! Jen would love it.

As do I.


your cousin said...

Maybe the "creepy cupcake girl" will show up in Jen's blog. That would be, like, totally awesome!

Anonymous said...

I had much the same experience as you when I went to see Jen up in Seattle. I sounded so witty and eloquent in my head, and then I got up to the table, and the only thing to come out of my mouth was, "Those ladies you just talked to were so much funnier than I could ever be."

It's actually hilarious, now, because I have friends and coworkers who are exactly like her (minus the pearls), and we get along fantastically, but I choked in the face of fame. Which my author friends teased me to no end.