But what’s your exact address.

joan

I met a celebrity at a bookstore last week and was determined to remember the conversation forever. Me and a very cool celebrity, both of us there at the bookstore. What a moment to be able to re-live later!

She shook my hand and she started talking to me and all of this is real, I promise.

“I love this bookstore,” she told me, and I told her I loved it too. We have so much in common! And I told her, out loud, that I live just a few blocks away. But silently I repeated “Oh my goodness I’m so excited to meet you” over and over again.

“Where do you live?” she asked.

Where do you live is one of my least favorite conversation questions. Not because I live somewhere secret or complicated or embarrassing, although all three are sort of true, but mostly I hate the question because it’s the most boring possible conversation topic and people ask every day.

Maybe I’m being unreasonable, but I don’t want people asking me anything at a party where the answer could also be an answer that would advance me to the next round of a geography bee.

“Really, just a few blocks from here,” I said.

“But what’s your exact address.” she said, quickly switching from someone who I’ve admired for years and whose books I’ve re-read and re-highlighted, to someone who needs my exact address, either for a form or for a way to fill time at a bad party while we drink room-temperature drinks and discreetly check our phones..

And I told her, out loud, my exact address. But silently I started thinking about other things: how I would navigate the bookstore if gravity were reversed and I had to crawl on the ceiling, how long it had been since I’d had tacos, what name I would choose if I had to go into witness protection.

And she told me her exact address, and it was not far from my address. And I’m writing this conversation down because obviously it didn’t end up exciting enough to remember forever without help.

Image: Lindsay Beyerstein

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