Last week, we were swimming in the indoor pool and I noticed this guy staring at me a lot. Finally he came and said, “Excuse me, are you Alan Paul?’
“Oh, wow. I’m so honored to meet you.”
“I love your column.. been reading it all year. We just moved here and we were so excited when we realized that you lived in Riviera, too.”
“Oh. Wow. That’s uh cool.”
[“Daddy, throw me!”]
“Yeah. We were trying to decide between WAB and Dulwich and then we read your column about your kids going to Dulwich and so we sent them there!” [No response from me, thinking “Shit, this is weird.”]
[“Daddy, throooooowwwww meeee!”]
“Well, I better attend to my kids. It was really nice to meet you. Thank you for your support.”
”Oh thank you! I was hoping to run into you at school. This is great.”
I swear that this is not an exaggeration and it sort of wigged me out. I value my anonymity. I related it to Becky, who was in the outside pool with Anna at the time and she said, “My, my, my. What have we created?’
So yesterday, we have a terrible morning with Jacob. I think he was just burnt out after along weekend and didn’t; want to go to school and was dragging in there, and crying and fussing and fighting. And we got there and our friend Wyatt Cameron was out front greeting people and he saw Jacob and said, “Did he wipe out on the way or something?”
“No,” I said. “He’s just acting the fool.”
Bad idea. Jacob went crazy again and yelled at me, not unreasonably at that point. But we walk into the lobby and there’s Fan Boy, with his wife. “Hi Alan,” he said, rushing over with a smile and extended hand. “This is my wife. She also loves your column.”
I shook hands, said hi. They are really, really nice people (in addition to having great taste, of course). Then I said, “It’s really nice to meet you but I can’t talk right now. My son is having a rough morning.”
“Yeah,” Jacob barked form behind me, “Because of you!”
Anyhow, we went into the bathroom together and he calmed down and he was happy after school and has generally been very happy in school. He has a few of his best friends in his class, including the famous caroline.
In other news, I am getting perilously close to the big 4-0 and feeling fine about it. Tomorrow I am going out on a long hike with a bunch of women I don’t know. One of them wrote me last spring about my columns, said she is a regular reader, lives nearby, has been around for 8 years and now escapes Beijing by.. escaping Beijing and heading to the mountains for weekly Weds. walks. She invited me to come. I was supposed to join their last trek of the spring but had to sit out due to my elbow nastiness. But I am in for tomorrow. I have no idea where I’m going, but it’s far (about two hours) and supposed to be beautiful.
Turns out several people I know know this woman and I’m sure it will be the same with others in the group. I am excited to get out and stretch my legs and see some new sites. And that is going to be my real birthday present. Thursday is my birthday and I’ll have a regular day, Chinese class and all, then all go out to dinner together. Becky and I were going to go out but I figured bleh.. too complicated. What is a birthday celebration anyhow, but marking your life and my life is my family. So be it.
We are having a big bash for both of us on Sept. 23, however. Need to do some planning for that baby.