Last night, a few of my Twitter pals and I attended a Rachel Maddow book signing event in Los Angeles, where we picked up our copies of her book, Drift, and had a rare opportunity for a very brief encounter with her.
The entire night was a liberal fantasy-come-true. The event was held at a theater near Beverly Hills, filled to capacity, and featured Bill Maher and Rachel Maddow. Essentially, Bill Maher interviewed Rachel about her book, and the two of them couldn't have been more informative, charming, hilarious, and engaging. After about a half hour, Maher left and Rachel answered questions from the audience for another half hour or so.
Then came the book-signing, which was run like a well-oiled machine in that, after waiting in a very long line, a crew of about 5-10 people, with assembly-line efficiency, took each book as we neared the table, passed it to the next staff member who passed it to Rachel, who took a moment to say hello, and then off we were scuttled to keep the process moving quickly.
I didn't quite know what to say to Rachel in the few seconds that anyone really had to say anything, so I said, "Hi! I don't know if you'd know me, but you follow me on Twitter. I'm GottaLaff."
What happened next was stunning to me, because, come on, out of the thousands she's meeting every day, I'm surprised she hasn't become as robotic as Willard Romney. But she stopped cold, sat up straight, threw her arms up in the air, smiled, and said something like (it all went so fast, I could barely remember, but my friends--particularly @Nay731-- witnessed and confirmed this account), "Oh my god, of course! HI!" I'm pretty sure she reached across the table to shake my hand, and continued, very enthusiastically:
"I read you every day! When I go to my Twitter stream and see your tweets, I always make sure to stop and read them! I love your stuff, you always get it exactly right!"
My jaw literally dropped. I said something moronic like, "Wow! You made my... MONTH!" at which she laughed and said something else that I can't recall because someone to my left was talking to me. So I gave one of my favorite Twitter friends, Jamil Smith, a former segment producer on The Maddow Show, a shout out, turned around to see who was speaking to me, and was I startled to see TRMS producer, Bill Wolff (@ProducerGuy1) an inch or so away!
I nearly fell over when he said something like, "Thank you so much for coming tonight! You were one of three I wanted to see here (he named @Ali_Davis and @PourMeCoffee as the other two)! He also gave me mad props, which puzzled me because he doesn't follow me on Twitter, and I was more than a little surprised that he valued my attendance, or even knew who I was! [UPDATE: Bill Wolff, aka Producer Guy, did, indeed, just follow me. He thought he already had, and didn't realize he wasn't a follower until he read this post. This story just keeps getting better, and I am so grateful and honored.]
At that point, I was so grateful and overwhelmed that I went completely fangirly and asked him for a hug. I'm happy to report that he was more than willing, and we had our blissful Moment of Embrace...
... which was abruptly ended when Security Guy told me to move along. Which I did... reluctantly.
The entire encounter had me floored.
Here is a woman, someone who so many admire (I'm at the top of that list), someone who is as good at teaching as she is at making us smile, someone who is never afraid to face off with her political opponents, who is not the least bit hesitant to correct herself when she makes an error, someone who is widely admired by the admirable... and it was she and her executive producer who were generously making us feel as if we were the important ones.
And that, as ephemeral as it was, is my Best New Thing in the World. UPDATE: VIDEO: The SECOND “Best New Thing in the World”: A shout out from The Rachel Maddow Show!
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