So, tonight was a night for great and terrible stories. First I met the supper club people at Shakespeare's and one of the guys there was training to be an over-the-road trucker. He was telling us about this old trucker who was his trainer and the stories were not pretty at all, but so amusing. The worst part was that the old school trucker guy never wanted to stop and kept a garbage can with baggies full of his urine and feces in it and traveled around like that. Yeah, I promise I won't go into any more detail, but just know there were a whole lot of people saying, "Ew" over and over again during the telling.
Then I grabbed the Coadster and we headed to Van Allen Hall for the John Irving reading. Like many people my age, I fell in love with his work after reading The World According to Garp in high school. It was so dirty and quirky and there was so much mention of Iowa, that I wanted to live in that twisted world as long as I could. Then in 1985 when I lived in the redwoods and we had to drive all the way to Eureka to buy art supplies, music and books, I was starving for anything decent to read. My brother sent me the hard copy of The Cider House Rules for my birthday that Summer and I spent an entire weekend, lying on my favorite rock on the Eel River reading that book and pissing off my favorite river otter who really didn't want me hanging out on his turf. So, I was so excited to not only hear him read, but share it with the Coadster. She loved the movie Simon Birch when she was a kid, and was really interested in his work.
The hall was packed. So packed, in fact, that Lan Samantha Chang had to get up and tell us that we were officially a fire code violation and all had to move to a bigger lecture hall in the business building. It was kind of funny to watch so many people elbowing and running over to the new venue to get a decent seat. Once we were there Samantha Chang said that it was great to see 500 people all walking down the street for something other than a Hawkeye football game.
Irving was an excellent reader. He chose a chapter from his soon to be released novel that took place in Iowa City in 1967. Coadster has always loved reading about the 1960's, so she was really intrigued. Then toward the end of the chapter, he described the block on Iowa Avenue right where we lived until Coadster was seven. She knew every place he described. It was fun to see her get so excited about a reading. The best part came when Coadster said, "This was really awesome. We should go to some more readings together." Oh yeah, I done bred myself a little nerd girl child, just like me.