It’s the morning of October 21st, and I feel my phone vibrate in my bed somewhere near my body, and the intro to Beyonce’s “Partition” grows increasingly louder. Oh...it’s Tuesday. Have to go to work. Snooze. Thank god that mysterious tampon thing was just a dream.
I slowly emerge from my bed and get ready as Gilmore Girls plays in the background on my computer. Oh yeah, I’m going to meet Lena Dunham today, I remember. This is the day I’ve been waiting for. I've been staring at this event page for months.
And then I spend the entirety of my day worrying about bed bugs. While I’m supposed to be working, I sit in my office chair examining my arms. I’ve had these little red dots on my arms my whole life, haven’t I? I google “tiny little red dots on arms”. One of the search results is titled, “11 Signs You Might Have Lukemia”. I then remember that I’ve seen these little red dots on my mom’s arm too and text her for confirmation that these little red bumps are hereditary. (They are). But still. And thus begins the spiral of bed bug googling.
I’ve been paranoid of beg bugs for the past few weeks now - a mostly irrational worry as there has been little to no evidence that there is an actual infestation. But the hypochondriac in me has a hard time letting things go. I’ve checked my bed numerous times to no avail. There is not enough help on the internet as to how to differentiate a piece of lint versus a bed bug egg. One of these pieces of lint looks blue, so I know I’m safe. But what about that little grey thing there? If I saw it anywhere else, I’d think lint, but it’s on my bed and I’m afraid - this is life or death! Also an entire vase of dried lavender fell on my bed and floor weeks ago and I keep finding the little buds everywhere, and they look a lot like a tiny bug. I’ve now watched about twelve videos of old men in hotels giving the same exact instructions on how to inspect for bed bugs.
It’s probably dust mites, I think to myself. It’s so clear. I can’t believe I didn’t consider this earlier. Another twenty minuets of googling ensues.
Then I remember that I need to be amping myself up for Lena Dunham. I’ve been looking forward to this day for months (or years, in a way) and all I can do is google the various signs and symptoms of a bug infestation! What is wrong with me? I self medicate with a beer and turn on my curling iron.
There is supposed to be a Q & A at the event, so I spend the entirety of the train ride there trying to come up with intelligent, well thought out questions. “How did you decide which stories to write about in your book versus your show” “What advice would you give to someone who wants to do the same things as you?” “Do you worry about bed bugs?”. Nothing seems right.
I have a hard time feeling present in the moments I where really want to feel present. There are too many thoughts buzzing around in my head. Zadie Smith is so cool and smart and chill... I wish I read more than 20 pages of White Teeth... Lena is literally herself 24/7... Is that more or less exhausting? ...Will I ever amount to anything? Maybe I should do stand up... or go to grad school. I drift in and out of consciousness, imagining scenarios in which Lena looks at a girl in the audience in a cute teal peplum top and brown leather saddle shoes and calls out, “Hey! You look cool and funny. Want to hang out later?”
But I have to drift back into reality. It’s kind of like yoga class.
I stand in line waiting for my book to be signed and my heart starts beating so fast. Who the heck am I? A crazed tween!? I’m not really sure if anything that comes out of my mouth will form a sentence. Maybe I should make some kind of reference to The Odeon. She’ll like that. I’ll thank her for the reference in Tiny Furniture? No. That makes me sound like a creep. I can’t tell her I’m her biggest fan cause only freaks do that. I should’ve planned out what to say. I’m an idiot.
Then a girl a few people ahead of me FREAKS out. “My mom got me these tickets for my birthday. YOU ARE SO COOL I LOVE YOUR DRESS I THINK YOU ARE AMAZING AND I WANT TO WORK WITH YOU ONE DAY. (Seriously...all in one breath.)
“How old are you turning?” She asks.
“19” and proud of it, crazed fan responds.
Note to self: don’t do any of that.
Then another girl, equally as hipster, but a little bit older bursts on to the scene. She slams her hand on the signing desk, “Oh my God I am your biggest fan I have so much to say to you can you please sign this and write about my friend being hot he’s going to die.” She clings to the table, out of breath. (Seriously, none of them breathe).
“Thank you for that burst of energy”, Lena says.
So fuckin’ classy.
And then the another girl hands her a note, and I’m all, FUCK ME! WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?
Finally, it’s my turn and there’s this weird combo of calm/panic/confusion happening. “Hi! How are you?” she asks.
“I’m freaking out. This is so weird.” I’m just looking at her face and I want to cry. I guess in retrospect, she’s made me cry a lot before just not in her presence, so maybe it’s not that weird of a reaction. “I think you’re amazing. Thank you for everything.” I continue. “I’m a big fan of Delusional Downtown Divas. I like to use the term ‘googelled’ when I can”.
She laughs. “I love that! People should use that phrase more often.”
“Oh, I do. On the daily”.
So maybe it wasn't the most profound thing ever, but it was something.