...at a Penguin launch last evening, which goes to show that precocious young writers are not as omniscient as we think. They create entire fictional universes in their heads but they don’t always realise that in the real world toothpicks mustn’t be lifted off ashtrays. Yesterday Samit and I were annoying Penguin CEO Thomas Abraham with Sandman talk when a tray-bearing waiter passed within grabbing distance. So what does our young duck of destiny do? He reaches for the nearest toothpick whereupon the waiter screams, "No sirrr! That’s dirty!" Samit straightens himself, puts on his most dignified expression and slurs, "I see. Now that wouldn’t have been a good idea, would it?" (Did I mention he was already quite high before coming to the launch?) And then, after airlifting the snack item in a more conventional fashion, he discovers it’s a vegetarian thingabob. Bad night for our young scribe.
The waiter sauntered off, probably wondering if there was any mention of common sense in all the thick books these lit-types loudly read out to each other at such events. The whole episode reminded me for some reason of the story about Aristotle falling into the gutter and the old lady who helped him out rolling her eyes, saying "Here is a man who would study the stars but sees not what lies at his feet" (they talked funny back then). Of course, the analogy does no justice to either Aristotle or the waiter.
Not much else to say about the event, except to mention the senior promotions lady who wagged her finger at me sternly and said, "First you promise you won’t blog, then you blog even more prodigiously. What is all this?" To her I dedicate this post.