I just realized I've been posting about professional things without giving you a glimpse into all the crazy stuff that happens to me.
Last summer I was sitting in the Kroger Starbucks in Mt Vernon, Ohio. [Surprise!] I was working on something, maybe catching up on reading, can't remember exactly. I find the ruckus and hubbub at a place like this invigorating enough to get some things done, also it's a good place to go to be around people. Along with getting stuff done, I can meet people in an informal and very public setting. In fact, it's an ideal "third space," using a term made familiar in sociology by Ray Oldenburg. Oh yeah, and someone else brews the coffee. It was a Saturday late morning, and I wasn't meeting anyone so I was scruffing it with a stumbly face over a wrinkly brown t-shirt and an old pair of jeans. There were several occupied tables around me, and the self-checkout lines were beeping and rattling with activity not uncommon on a weekend.
Barely noticeable in this atmosphere, a balding older gentleman in a tennis shirt and shorts walked by once and then twice. I kept reading, after throwing a brief glance his direction. A few minutes later, I sensed someone walking over to my table. I looked up, and it was the same guy.
Meekly, his head almost bowed down, he approached me like a monk chanting morning prayers, saying, "Excuse me, I hope I'm not bothering you. You must be used to people coming up to you, I hope you don't mind, but if you do just say so." I just looked at him and smirked a bit, not sure who he was or what he wanted. I'm used to people I know chatting me up here, but I had never seen the guy before this moment.
He continued, "Again, I'm sorry, but I'd like to ask a favor." I said sure, but still not sure what was happening. "You see, it's my wife's birthday in a few weeks," he said with more than a tinge of nervousness. "And, Mr. Clapton, I'd like for you to sign this CD cover for her. Her name's Sally." I just stared at him with my jaw visibly dropping into my lap, and then my own nervousness kicked in which expressed itself in a smile of the creeped-out spreading across my face.
"Um, well, you see, I'm not Eric Clapton," I replied, spotting the CD cover (below) in his shaking hands.
(Deep sigh.) I was almost consoled by the fact that even taking off the age of the imported album cover, taken in the early 2000s, the image captured him still in his late 50s. Ugh. So much for my brush as being a famous celebrity. Apparently, Clapton's wife is from Columbus and they own a house in Apple Valley about 10 miles east of Mt. Vernon. I hear he's picked up groceries at this Kroger a few times, and I still drink coffee there. No one's asked for my autograph since then.