Adventures in Marketing: Weeks 283-284

He was waiting for a bagel and café au lait and eying my books and smiling – and eying and smiling. Asian-American. Maybe 40. Pony-tail. North Face puffer vest, black.
He picked each book up, one-by-one, took in each front cover, turned each over, took in the back. He smiled and nodded and nodded and smiled.
I smiled, nodded, and gestured, like, you know, “Help yourself.”
He smiled and nodded.
Maybe he is mute, I thought. I handed him my card.
“Oh. You wrote these.”
Like I might be sitting here selling old books I had scooped up from my basement.
“It’s a treat to meet you,” he said.
He added, as if that was not enough, “It’s so nice to meet you. Really nice.”
Then he left.
A minute later, he was back. “I’ll take this one.” I Will Keep You Alive. “I feel lucky to have met you.”
I asked his name. “And what do you do?”
“I build things.”
“Commercial or artistic?”
He left again.
And then he returned and sat against the back wall.

I couldn’t leave it there. I wanted more of his story. Which he was happy to share.
He had been an English major who had gone into investment banking. He made a lot of money – but he hated the people he worked with. So he became a contractor. He built multi-unit apartment buildings and was about to build his first high-rise when the sub-prime crisis wiped out his financing. About that time, a close friend, who had been diagnosed with brain cancer, was told by her neuro-surgeon her best hope was to “smoke a lot of weed.” Then he had his own catastrophic injury, the recovery from which, its own “miracle,” had drawn him to IWKYA – and mine. It also accounted for his present career: constructing grow houses for medical marijuana.
“I feel blessed to have met you,” he said.
We agreed we looked forward to speaking more.
It wasn’t till a couple hours later I wondered how stoned he had been.

In other news…
Two previous customers stopped by my table.
The first (“Cheesesteak.” “Adventure 275″), was excited to learn my new book was coming out soon. He asked for my card so he could order it. When I said an SASE could bring him a free one, he waved his hand and said “No, no, no. I will buy it.
The second (“The Schiz” “Adventure 280″) wanted me to know she hadn’t read it. This time I was excited because I had thought she had – and was avoiding me. It has that effect on some people.

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