The event is called Writers With Drinks and it took place last night at the Make Out Room in the Mission. Ruth Ozeki was there. She’s my favorite writer. I hightailed it across town early so I’d have plenty of time to park beforehand.
And I actually found a place to park in the same block, but still. When I burst through the door and my eyes adjusted to the darkness I realized all the chairs, tables, and barstools were taken.
I ordered an absinthe (they actually had it!) and then another, in case someone tried to make conversation with me. Not good at talk, small or large, I found an out-of-the-way spot to stand against the far wall. A disco ball spun white flecks of light through the air.
Minutes later the disco ball spun purple and a silver cage descended from the ceiling.
“Who wants a Super Power?” asked Ruth. It was Ruth Ozeki herself! In the cage! She was speaking into a Mr. Microphone so everyone could hear.
“I do!” we all shouted. There was whistling and clapping.
“Line up, then, and take a chit!” She’d hit the Chipmunks voice button on the Mr. Microphone by mistake, but we knew she was serious. Everyone lined up.
“This really works,” the woman behind me said. “My life coach got a chit two years ago that said ‘Super Muscle’ and she was able to ride her bike home all the way up Telegraph hill in two minutes flat.”
“N-no way,” I stuttered, still a little comfortable speaking with strangers.
“Yes way,” said she. “But the next day the chit flew out of her pocket while she was riding up Mt. Tam, and now she can barely pedal at all. In fact, she barely makes it out of bed in the mornings. So don’t lose your chit.”
When I finally made it up to the cage, Ruth folded her hands around the Mr. Microphone and gave a short bow. Then she looked me in the eye and handed me a chit.
On the chit was one word, “Chat.” And with that, I headed straight for a crowded table and squeezed in between David Koehn and Rose Caraway. My chit chat was working; my Super Power would never quit; I could not shut up and I haven’t since.
p.s. This is fiction.