How to Meet Laura Lippman

One would think that flying out 2,000 miles would have been good for at least a little more than hello. However, having a Y chormosome and somehow being in attendance at Laura Lippman‘s bachelorette party (along with other men), I’m sure there were extenuating circumstances. Upon entering the party, several ellipitical layers of people were seated and standing around a circle of couches. I was, I suppose, an unexpected mosquito planting himself on the outer epidermis, with Ms. Lippman herself protected by a group of loyal queen bees quaffing swank beverages.

Undaunted, I wrote a note to Ms. Lippman, expressing my congratulations, with at least one adept witticism and the hope that I might engage in a brief chit-chat of no more than two minutes. The note was conveyed from one hand to another to another, and eventually Ms. Lippman read the note and cocked her head left and right for this mysterious “Ed Champion.” I offered a broad smile and an inaccurate though heartfelt form of semaphore. But this, however, was not enough. Ms. Lippman soon became deeply embroiled in a conversation that caused her to raise her forehad in excitement. And very soon, I was contriving a strategy with a few mystery authors on how to deliver ourselves into the inner circle.

I gave up rather quickly on this exercise. I was not, after all, at a cotillion dance. And the mystery writers abandoned me without notice. And not long after, the snappy dirty martini I had imbibed had reached the micturition phase. I fled to the restroom and, while waiting in line, the one and only Laura Lippman and friend had reached a similar stage. And I was able to throw myself forward and make Ms. Lippman’s acquaintance, while considering the vagaries of her bladder. Upon our respective descents from the bathroom, there then began a rather fey descant and pretty soon I was being steered into the inner circle, where I was being urged to meet everybody, heaven knows why.

I am not a person to boast, but I could not let this fast-track delivery into the inner circle go unobserved by the mystery authors who had abandoned me without notice. But I decided instead to take the high road that evening, thinking of the disreputable long-term path I could follow in the morning by mentioning all this on my blog.

But let this tale serve as a parable. The public restroom cannot be underestimated. Indeed, one might declare it the great social equalizer.

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