Car limbo and a book signing

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I’m still waiting to hear back regarding the estimate to repair my car as of right now. I did talk to both my insurance company and the other woman’s company today, and my deductible is being waived since they have confirmed, for sure, that I was not at-fault. (It seems like a no-brainer, and it is, of course; but it needed to be formally declared for it to count.) Now I just sit and wait… but apparently I might hear something later today.

I’m so anxious and distracted about it. I checked back into the claim I filed in July 2010, when I was rear-ended and had to get my rear bumper and tailgate replaced, and to my shock the cost of the repairs then was about $7,500. Two years ago, my car was worth a little more money, too. Now, since I’m looking at a current KBB value of about $7,300 or so, I’m not feeling very confident that I will be driving that car again. Knowing that there is damage to the front and the back driver’s side panel in addition to the bumper and tailgate definitely has me thinking the cost to repair will be higher than it was when they only had the bumper and tailgate to replace.

But I’ll wait and see.

In the meantime, of course I’m thinking about what kind of car I could get to replace this one if it does come to that. I’d most likely want another HHR, and for some reason I am leaning towards a white one since they look kind of funky in white. (I don’t like white on most other car models, though… too plain for my taste.) However, if I can’t find an HHR, I’m looking at smaller cars that have good gas mileage. On my list? A Mini Cooper… maybe? I don’t know. It is pretty small, but they are damn cute and compact. I saw a purple one on Carmax’s site yesterday and it was really nice-looking. I’d also like to consider smaller hatchbacks like the Honda Fit, the Toyota Matrix, etc… Sedan models are OK, but I definitely am drawn to hatchbacks for some reason. We’ll have to see how it pans out, if and when I am actually in the market.

So, in other news, last night I did something spontaneous. I went to Writer Ex’s book release. I had thought about going, but hadn’t given it serious thought. Last night I was sitting at home after work, not intending to go down there because I still feel kind of weird about the whole thing–OK, mostly it’s the idea of seeing his wife because I get the sense she is uncomfortable around me– but suddenly being like, “Oh, fuck it, I’m going,” and I did get up and go at that point. Because how often does one get to see their ex-fiance do a Q&A about the writing process of a book one helped him edit, once upon a time? I was curious, and wanted to see how he did up there at the podium, and what he had to say about taking a book he began writing in 1994 and turning it into the book that was just published.

I was half an hour late, so I missed most of his talk, but I did arrive during the Q&A part and it was amusing. People were asking him questions– one was “why he decided to become a writer” and he answered with some pompous thing about, “well, I had no choice, really” and I wanted to smirk… Someone wanted to know where he got his ideas, and if he did research to be able to write in the voice of a 17-year old girl who’s an artist, and he babbled about reading books on Salvador Dali and other things, and he sounded a little too pleased with himself when he mentioned “now I go to schools and do readings and get to work directly with kids that age, and it’s added such a level to my writing to have that direct experience with them…” Yeah, it was funny to me in a snarky way. He likes to drop little asides about how this is now his day-job and he is a “stay at home Dad” to his 8-month old son, and he definitely mentioned his agents way too much. He’s a braggart. He loves this attention, the spotlight, all of it. He was hamming it up to make people laugh.

Overall, it was cool to go, though, and witness all of it. The best part was I got to see some friends I never hang out with anymore since they’re in his social circle. I visited and laughed with everyone, and got to see three kids I have only seen on Facebook up until now. (This sounds mean, but I wasn’t impressed with those kids. The two babies–including Writer Ex’s– are very ordinary looking little boys, and the 10 year old daughter of a girl I used to be in plays with is downright unattractive. She looks like Chris Farley, which isn’t a good look for a 10 year old girl.)

Anyway, I bought his book and I do plan to read it at some point, because yes… I remember the original drafts he worked on, and I gave him notes and everything and I’m definitely curious to mentally compare the story I remember with this one that Random House published. I still don’t care about reading his first book, for some reason. It just sounds dopey.

The two weird moments of the night:

1) He signed my book, and he wrote an inside joke in there (a Bill Cosby quote, actually) and we chatted for a few minutes, doing a quick catch-up. I found out his parents have never met his son. He never speaks to his Mom and Dad anymore. Interesting. But anyway, beyond the gossip, it definitely feels so, so, so strange to have your ex sign a copy of his book for you. Try to put yourself in that position for a second, if you can. See what I mean? It’s weird!

2) His wife. OH MAN. She was glancing at me from the other side of the room and looking away the whole time he was doing his Q&A, and I felt strange knowing she was probably thinking, “Oh, why is SHE here?” But whatever. If she knew what I think, she’d know she has nothing to worry about. I roll my eyes at my past self, wondering what I possibly saw in him back when we were together. I do not find him even slightly attractive, and I don’t like this kind of arrogant side of him one bit. ANYWAY. After he signed my book, I walked over to her to say hello and she was super, over-the-top friendly to me. “Hiiii!!!” she squealed with a big smile on her face… but the smile wasn’t reaching her eyes one bit. It was so fake, it almost threw me for a loop. But I played along, and asked some small-talk things like,  “How are you doing? Congratulations on the baby, that’s great! Are you having so much fun being a Mom?” These are the kind of things that, if any of my real friends overheard me saying, they would tease me about later and be like, “What the fuck were you talking about? You totally don’t care how she feels about being a mother, and you know it.” YES. I do know it. It’s all part of the lame-ass social game we sometimes have to do in order to be civil. And also, it’s one of the rare times I can turn into a catty woman who likes to push buttons. Just push them a little.

I’m just being honest.

I asked about the house, and the dogs. I don’t think she’s ever been super happy about moving into a house that Writer Ex bought with his ex-fiancee, and she knows good and well that both of their dogs wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for me. There are subtle reminders in her life of me, and while enough time has gone by now that I’m sure she doesn’t think about it much, I could sense that when I asked about those things last night she didn’t like it. She got just a little defensive and snotty, but in that big-smiled, sugar-coated way. This amused me.

I wouldn’t have wanted to put little digs in at her if she could have just been normal when she talked to me. I mean, she didn’t get all “hiiiii!” with the other people around there she was talking to. It was obvious to me that she is overcompensating and trying to look like the chill wife who can be really, really, really nice to her husband’s ex. She clearly doesn’t realize that just speaking normally and not trying so hard would be the actual indicator that she was OK with me being there. She is a really strange person, overall. More power to them as a couple, I guess. She can have him. They kind of deserve each other, and are probably the only people who would really want the other one.

So, that was an interesting night! I felt pretty good when I left, though, knowing I had been supportive and didn’t let my weird-ass insecurities or dread of talking to his wife keep me from checking the whole thing out and seeing old friends. I felt encouraged, yet again, that I am doing the right thing with my own writing and thought (again): “If HE can do it, then I can absolutely do it, too, since I am better than he is and my stories are so much more creative than anything he comes up with.” Heh.

By the way, since I don’t want to type out his name or the title of the book in case it would show up in a search engine thing and bring him (or his wife) here, but I still want to share the title of this book with the three people who read this blog, so here’s the cover:

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4 responses »

  1. Bwah! You are being so MEAN about those kids, but I love it! I can’t stop laughing. I think I might check out that book, although … um … is that the actual cover? It’s a hot mess, quite frankly. I would be so pissed if I finished a book, got an agent, got the damn thing published, and THAT was the cover they came up with.

    On a more positive note, I’m impressed that you went. That’s the kind of thing I would never have the guts to do. And then if I did go, I’d be all awkward and overcompensating like the wife.

  2. Yes, that’s the actual cover! Isn’t it terrible?! I find it hilarious that this is what they came up with. The best part is that the guy in the story doesn’t have a mohawk. He’s described as having “floppy bangs” and I also read a couple Goodreads reviews that stated the cover completely gave the wrong impression about the book. It might seem like a gritty, punk-rock story, but it’s totally not. It’s about a girl whining about not getting a scholarship to art school, who falls in love with a drummer in a band. That’s it.

    I’m happy he didn’t get a kick-ass cover with cool artwork, though. Both of his books’ covers look like someone grabbed some iStock photos and made a collage. Very lame. Bwah! That’s what he gets. Love it.

  3. Nice moment of personal growth for you! Way to go! Who cares about whatever his wife’s insecurities are? She could have used the moment for personal growth and maturity, herself.

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