Best exchange of the week

A few days ago Laila Lalami prepared herself to interview Salman Rushdie (the end result will run in the Oregonian next week.) She had a list of rules for herself:

Do not mention the f-word. The man deserves a break from the fatwa. Do

not mention the p-word. Yes, his wife is a model. So what? Do not ask

him to sign his book. This is an interview, not a reading. Do not take

his photograph. Leave that to the professionals. And, of course, do

not, under any circumstances, talk about your book or your blog; it’s

crass, and it’s probably not the least bit interesting to him.

But when the escort mentioned that Rushdie was a fan of her blog, things spiraled a bit off course

The elevator doors opened then, and out came Salman Rushdie, in blue

jeans and button-down shirt, looking … well, like one might expect

him to look like on a book tour. Seemingly relaxed, but a bit tired.

The escort introduced us. How do you do?” we said to one another.

That’s when I noticed he had my book in his hands.

“You have my book!” I cried, rather stupidly.

“Oh yes,” he said with a grin.  “I know all about you.”

This wouldn’t do. Not at all. I told him all about my rules, and the

special corollary about my book. He laughed, and then explained that

he’d been given a copy of Hope by a bookseller on his

previous stop, in Seattle. Earlier in the day, when he arrived in

Portland, another bookseller gave him a second copy, so he figured he’d

take it. “You’re going to have to sign it,” he added.

Okay, cue the theme music for The Twilight Zone.

Was I trapped in some alternate universe? Did Salman Rushdie just ask

me for my fucking autograph? “I don’t know if I could,” I mumbled.

The book is the supremely awesome HOPE AND OTHER DANGEROUS PURSUITS, which should be in bookstores everywhere right about now.