Laundry Day or Oblivious Fan?By:
Driving to Chicago from small-town-Indiana where we live, my husband and I decided we were close enough to the city to be among people who knew what an Italian beef sandwich is supposed to look and taste like. So we stopped to eat at a busy place near the interstate.
As I sat there, enjoying every bite of hard roll heaven, garlicky juices and hot peppers dribbling down my chin, I took note of a small family sitting across the large, crowded room from us. The mom looked to be in her 30’s and her shirt immediately had my attention: she was wearing a black Team Edward shirt.
I immediately felt a kinship with the woman. We shared a love of Edward, except she was courageous where I was not. I don’t own any Twilight shirts; I like to keep my fanaticism on the down-low. The last fanatical shirt I owned had, “May the Force be with you” written on it with the original Star Wars logo. I wore that shirt in high school during the late 70’s until it slowly faded to death and, trust me, it was cool with a capital C. But wearing a Twilight shirt? Not even at a Twilight convention but in broad daylight at a restaurant in Merrillville?
Was she displaying bravery? Perhaps her character was strong enough that she wasn’t bothered by anyone else’s opinions. Maybe she was simply unaware of the building backlash against all things Twilight. Ignorance is bliss after all. Either way, I felt compelled to let her know she wasn’t alone. As grateful as I am for friendships made in the fanfic community online, life can be a bit lonely out in the real world.
We would be passing her table to leave the place, and I felt I had to recognize her in some way as a fellow fan. A nod of the head would be nice, but she wouldn’t get the Twilight connection. I could gesture to the front of my shirt, looking at her shirt and saying “nice” with a thumbs up like Kristen Stewart in the prom scene, but she would definitely think I was referring to her boobages. While I have read
Yes, Mistress,” I’m definitely not of that persuasion.
As we got up to leave, I still didn’t know what to say or do. A plethora of thoughts quickly swam through my head. She could be one of my favorite fan fiction writers! I could be missing an opportunity to talk to Tara Sue Me, or AngstGoddess003, or (sigh!) Gondolier! (I could use Hydraulic Level Five code words, “Are you a sucky vampire?”) Then again, maybe the shirt has no meaning for her at all. Maybe it was clean and its laundry day at her house. I’ll just be embarrassing myself. I should just leave and not say anything.
But I couldn’t…I stopped at her table, looked her in the eye and with a friendly grin spoke two words, direct and to the point:
She looked down, puzzled, then looked back at me smiling and said, “Thanks.”
She understood. We connected. Our conversation was perfect. My husband rolled his eyes at me while I got in the car, gleefully content.
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