Wow, I almost forgot to tell you about my Bad Times at a CVS! It was in the parking lot at the Western and Elston location one night a few weeks ago. Chris and I were stopping there on our way home. I’d started to pull into a parking space when I saw an even closer spot along the side of the building, and directly across the aisle from me. For some reason I decided I HAD to park in that spotâ€”that I would be a total chump to not park there, considering that all I had to do was coast straight ahead five yards or so. There were no cars in between, only open space and a single pigeon puttering around. I pulled ahead a few feet and stopped.
“I’m waiting for the pigeon,” I told Chris. Somehow it hadn’t flown away yet. There were parked cars on either side, so I couldn’t just drive around the pigeon. I rolled forwardâ€”slowlyâ€”and stopped again. Now I couldn’t see the pigeon.
“It flew away, right?” I asked Chris. “It had to have flown away,” he said. I pulled ahead into the parking spot and turned off the car. I had a funny feeling, though, and sure enough, when I looked back there was a crumpled ball of grey feathers right where I’d driven.
We got out and just stood by the car and stared for a minute. “How did I manage to kill it?” I said out loud. I was a little stunned. I wanted to blame my car. Maybe my Subaru Forester was a big clumsy killer, I thought, just like the halfwit in Of Mice and Men.
“Don’t worry about it,” Chris said. “It’s the city. It’s a dead pigeon.”
Another couple had come out of CVS and were walking to their car, which, as it turned out, was pretty much right next to the dead pigeon. The man had just walked over to the driver’s side when he spotted it a few feet away. He stopped, rather dramatically. “I think you just took out a bird,” he said.
I nodded. “Yeah, I guess so,” I said. “Weird, huh?”
But the guy just stood there, frozen with either horror or disgust. He opened his car door as if to get in, but then froze again. Definitely with digust. “God,” he said. He shook his head. “God,” he said again. The woman who was with him waited on the passenger side of the car. “Honey?” she said. “Let’s go.” The man looked at us one last time. He actually sighed. “Yeah. Let’s go.”
We could feel him glaring at us through the windshield as he started his car. “Does he think I ran over that bird just to ruin his day?” I asked Chris. “He thinks that, doesn’t he?”
“Good for you,” Chris said, and then we went in to shop at CVS. Though we have yet to determine whether this incident makes this CVS a Bad Times CVS.
In other news, USA Today liked my book just fine last year and thought us bloggers with book deals were just peachy, but apparently Stephanie Klein’s book sucks so bad that the rest of us now suck in retrospect. Awesome! Thanks, Stephanie Klein!
(Also, I hope Carol Memmott writes more publishing trend sidebar pieces about books written by people who got their start writing things that totally weren’t even books. Like maybe she can write about all those journalists who only got their book deals because they’re journalists, and who don’t make the USA Today Best-Selling Books List because, in the end, they’re nothing but journalists who can’t write anything as good as The Kite Runner or The Clique #6: Dial L for Loser (A Clique Novel) and therefore ought to go back to journalism, where they were “bigger” anyway, according to the latest hypothetical un-statstical non-data she’ll totally forget to cite.)
Side note 1: I’m going camping in Michigan this weekend, so any comments left after tonight may not appear on the site until Sunday night or Monday. Though, hey, if you’re a disgrunted Stephanie Klein fan, maybe you’ll just leave a multiple one-star reviews on my Amazon page just like you did with my friend Jen Lancaster’s book.
Side note 2: You know, I haven’t even READ Stephanie Klein’s book yet and I don’t know if I will, though if USA Today reporters are going to equate blog books with self-indulgent suckage, I’d sort of like to know what I’m being blamed-by-association for, so maybe I will read it, though when I do, maybe I’ll keep my mouth shut and stay out of all this.
Side note 3: Wow, I think I need to calm down. Let’s all watch this highly amusing video ad for John Hodgman’s book, shall we?
Dear God, let me fix the typos. Feel free to delete the first go around.
This just made me think- you, lovely you whoâ€™s book I enjoyed despite not reading your blog back in the day in pre-authordom, added me to your myspace friends. For that, I thank you. And right after you added me, I got an email from none other than Stephanie Klein (or her poor little intern whoâ€™s forced to sit on mypsace all day) asking me to be her friend. I was flattered! Honored! And now I feel cheated and used.
Sheâ€™ll probably write a sequel called â€œStraight Up and Dirtier: the Myspace Whoring Years.â€
I’m thinking that if a pigeon couldn’t get out of the way of a slow rolling car, then it was probably a service you gave to the earth by removing said pigeon from the gene pool. Now, the little song bird that I hit on the way to get my driver’s license that ended, literally, all up in my grill, was probably not so deserving (and to my 16 yr. old self, a great tragedy and source of endless drama).
Despite the Great Pigeon Massacre of ’06, I’d like to give some props to the CVS on Elston and Western. As far as cvs’s go, they’re one of the better ones and run very low on screaming crazy people. They also serve the very important function of being ‘just right there’ after you’ve made it out of Target alive and are on your way home when you suddenly remember you forgot to buy a box of tissues or some other small, yet important item, but you have little to no desire to go back into the chaos that is Target to retrieve what you need. And they have lawn chairs.
As for your book, well, have you ever given much credit to what the USAtoday has to say? I mean, these are the folks that presented global warming as a good time to surf and catch some sun…
Yeah, that’s what Chris said. And I agree that it’s a pretty good CVS!
About the critics: Don’t take these things to seriously! Your books are great, you write wonderfully. Some people just get pissed off because they aren’t half as clever as you are. About the bird: Stuff happens, if some bird gets sick and wants to end it under the wheels of your car? – let them. And the guy? – an ass.
At least you attempted to avoid running the bird over. One day, many years ago, my mom was taking me to school and a flock of seagulls were in the street. (Ok, they were pigeons, but I had to say it!) She just kept going at 35mph, saying, “Oh, they’ll fly away.” No. No they won’t. It was a little like that Hitchcock movie, except for it ended with me looking out the rear window at a small grey feathery body, with one wing up, pathetically flapping in the air…
Mmmmm. Maybe Ms. Memmott (doesn’t really roll off the lips, but makes me purse them together in a pinched, bitter way very reminiscent of Ms. Memmott’s own writing style) should shy from memoirs if she’s not into reading, “every little aspect of her life,” an author feels fit to print. On a positive note, she might be just right for the authoring of the Articles of the She Woman Man Haters Club. Apparently desiring to be in a satisfying relationship is a personality flaw…
Ooooh. If you ever see Pigeon Guy’s car again you must put some feathers in his grill.
Excellent come back to USA today. I can’t stand all the anti-blog crap. Who cares what the medium is.
The suicidal pigeon threw himself under the wheels of your car. Don’t blame yourself.
USA Today is just pissed that they get buried under room service breakfast trays from sea to shining sea.
Birds just drop dead in CVS parking lots from the bad mojo…Sorry folks, it’s CVS post-traumatic stress disorder over here. And about the bird – it wasn’t your fault, Wendy, I swear – just that mojo working again. And that guy? Get him a life. GOD.
Our Bad Times Medic (Crackheadic) closed, which is too bad because I never tire of standing in line behind college boys with popped collars and prodigious acne buying cases of Natural Light and boxes of condoms.
Um, you coulda beeped the horn (no guarantees it was smart enough to heed the warning, though). 🙂 But Chris was right – it’s just a dead pigeon, there are billions more (in the Loop alone, actually), so it won’t be missed…
You know, I actually think that silly USA Today piece was more a jab at Stephanie Klein than it was at you or your book.
The thing of it is, Klein got a HUGE deal and the book is absolutely awful. She certainly was not more deserving of that $500,000 than you or any of your fellow book-publishing bloggers (in fact, I would say her wretched writing and arrogant sense of entitlement along with those horrible made-up words she uses makes her LESS deserving).
But there she is, with her blatant (BLATANT!!) self-promotion and her narcissitic ramblings and her pretty face plastered all over anything she can think of to “Brand”. To me she represents a lot of what is wrong with the publishing industry – it sends the message that you no longer need to be a good writer to get a book deal you just need to put together the right “package”.
And all the bloggers before her who got book deals have now been tainted by the spectre of SK – because hers has the potential to be the most spectacular flame-out in the history of bloggers with book deals ($500,000 – do you think her merely ok sales figures thus far warrant that kind of advance?).
I’m reading the Stephanie Klein book right now, and holy shit is it ever awful. But it’s awful in that train-wreck sort of way, so you’re damn right I’ll make it through to the end just to see how fucked-up and pathetic she gets. It’s probably the most awful memoir I’ve read since Ill Equipped for a Life of Sex by Jennifer Lehr, and I still cringe thinking of that book.
Also, when I look at the photo on the back flap of the book jacket, I find her eyebrows disturbing. They’re a weird color and they look like penciled-in old lady eyebrows. Gross!
Sarah: I thought the same thing you did about the USA Today thing–that it was more to make a point about Klein’s book than to disparage me or anyone else. I was just cranky after getting advance word that USA Today was mentioning me in a story only to find out it was this thing.
And I don’t wish Stephanie Klein any real ill will, and like I said, I haven’t read her book. I just had a feeling that her book was going to be the tipping point for the blog-to-book backlash. So I’m a little irked to get a taste of it, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
I thought the backlash had already started, with Mike Lenehan of the Reader whining that blogs are stealing all his thunder, and that only “real” journalists knew how to cover the news. I’d whined about him on my blog a while back, but not far enough back to be part of the conversation when he first suggested that “real” journalists go on a sort of “Strike” so that the reading public would suddenly see the big difference. Whatever.
Haven’t read Klein’s book, so I can’t comment there. But then, I’m a blogger, I don’t care about facts, Mike, so why would that stop me, USA Today?
In my pre-driving high school days, I ran over a squirrell on my 10-speed. That’s the kind of thing you can feel through those skinny tires. I was going down a hill and swerved to miss him/her, but it was not to be. He/she went gently into that goodnight. It was in the neighborhood of a notorious stoner (the ones in high school who were emaciated from smoking so much pot that they forgot to get the munchies) and my friends conjectured that the wee rodent was also a connoiseur of Uncle Jerry’s burritos. We’ll never know…