Friday, February 13, 2009

The Strangest Things Always Happen at the Y

There’s something about meeting one of your literary heroes when you’re both naked that’s a little strange.

Let me back up a bit.

I took a swim at the Y this afternoon, my favorite time to go, when I practically get the whole pool to myself. After my usual flapping about (don’t know what else to call aqua-jogging, except, well, aqua-jogging…or the more well-known term, jogging in deep water while wearing a giant floatie around your waist), I marinated in the hot tub, avoiding eye contact with the other tubbers (often advisable because of some of the other people who use the pool in the afternoon, who usually want to tell me more than I want to know.)

Anyway, the sequence of events-flap, tub, shower, dress-was timed down to the last second, because from there I had a doctor’s appointment. It was at one of those offices where they have that snooty sign in the receptionist’s window (the kind that slide closed so you can’t hear that they’re talking about you) that if you are more than a minute late for your appointment you “may be rescheduled,” and if you’re a no-show, you’ll be charged a $25.00 fee. Come on. When has a doctor ever been on time for our appointment? Do you see me asking to be rescheduled? Do you see me asking for my co-payment back? No. I’m pacing around in a paper smock and bare feet. (Always a hit with the other people in the waiting room.)

So I’ve tubbed, I’ve showered, I rush into the dressing room, and there’s an older woman who is also wrapped in a towel. She’s having a chat with Fran, the wonderful, big-hearted woman who cleans the place, but I kind of look upon her as the housemother of the ladies’ locker room.

During this conversation, the woman says that she’s going to Hawaii to give a talk about her book.

“You wrote a book?” Fran asks, and my ears perk up. For those of you who don’t know me, I write books. Most of which are romantic comedies. All of which are unpublished.

“What kind?” I ask.

“It’s about end of life issues,” she says. She also says that she writes a column on personal health.

I tell her I do, too, and then I ask her name.

It’s Jane Brody. Holy freakin’ shit. I am at the Y with Jane Brody.

For those who don’t know, Jane Brody has authored many books about health and nutrition, and she is a pioneer in her field. One of her cookbooks (extremely well-worn) is sitting on my kitchen counter. And the column she writes is in the New York Times. And I’ve been reading her work for decades.

And…damn. I’m chatting away with Jane Brody and I’m supposed to be at the doctor’s office in five minutes.

And…she’s a lovely woman, and smart, and witty. And she says I should contact her publicist about promoting her book on my web site.

Why do you always run into famous people when you’re late for an appointment?

I don’t know. I guess it’s just one of life’s little jokes.

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