Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Here’s yet another apocryphal story: A rookie football player scores his first touchdown, and in his zeal to impress his coach with his passion for the game, makes a complete fool of himself dancing like a dork on the field. When he gets back to the bench, he expects praise, but all the coach says is, “Son, next time you’re in the end zone, try to act like you’ve been there before.”
I’m feeling a little like that football player lately, except it’s not an act with me. I’m genuinely having trouble acting cool. I finally found a copy of The Best Womens’ Travel Writing 2007. It’s the first anthology I’ve ever appeared in, and I’m just pleased as punch.
Yesterday I went to my favorite bookstore, Book Passage, in Corte Madera to pick up a copy I’d reserved. “Best Women’s Travel Writing, eh?” the man at the counter said to me as he handed me the book off the hold shelf. I was dying for him to ask why I wanted this title badly enough to special order it, but he didn’t. So I took my self-satisfaction outside. (First, though, I bought a cookie at the in-store café and was so excited I walked away and left it there.)
I sat down on a short stone pillar outside. I happened to be wearing a t-shirt I’d gotten from a charity I volunteered with at Christmas. On the front it said: “Anything is Possible.” A man walked by as I was flipping through the book (I’m on page 288) and said to me, “Cool shirt.” I thanked him, not really knowing what else to say. “It’s true, too, you know,” he replied, “Anything is possible.”
It made me happy to hear those words coming from him. I don’t know the guy personally, but I’ve seen him around before. He works at the REI next door to the bookstore. Aside from that, the only other thing I know about him is that he has a prosthetic leg, which doesn’t seem to slow him down a bit. (Well, maybe it does, but I hate to think how exuberantly energetic his pace would be with two good legs.)
Again not knowing how to respond, I heard myself blurt, “Well, I like to think that’s true.” And watching this man stride around like a titanium leg wasn’t any impediment at all, and seeing this book in my hands that had the words “Nicole” and “Best” together on the same page, I realized that at that moment, I actually believed what I’d just said.
(I almost left out the most important part of that story: The cookie was still there on the counter when I went back for it.)