I am a social dork

It’s official.  I should not be allowed to talk to famous people.  If you are my friend, please don’t ever become famous because I won’t be able to talk to you.

I don’t know why, but anytime I meet someone of notoriety, especially someone I admire, I become a bashful, tongue-tied mess.  If I know in advance I’m going to meet them, I plan elaborate speeches or witty remarks, which never escape my lips.  I will inevitably say something lame like, “It’s nice to meet you” or “I love your music.”

Such was the case last night.  My daughter Kelsey and I drove three hours one way to hear one of my favorite authors speak.  Donald Miller’s books have inspired and challenged me, and I was both hoping and dreading the opportunity to meet him.

A lot of writers express themselves better through their writing than in person.  Obviously, this is certainly the case with me!  Donald Miller is not like that.  One of the reasons I like his writing is because it’s like getting a letter from an old friend.  His side of the conversation makes you feel like you’ve known each other for years.  He speaks like he writes.  He makes you feel comfortable, engaged, and welcome.  I was so impressed, I wanted to ask him how he does that.  That was going to be my big question if I got to meet him.

Speaking of being impressed, what kind of well-known person invites people to their home?  Don Miller.  Anyone donating $50/month or more to his charity for fatherless sons gets an invite to his home for an intimate gathering and house concert.  It made me wonder how much money could be raised by other famous people doing the same thing.  But it won’t happen.  Why?  Most famous people would be worried about crazy people, stalkers and kleptomaniacs in their home!  Don just honestly wants to know people and is genuinely interested in having meaningful conversations.  You would think that would have made it easier for me to talk to him, right?

I wouldn’t have met him at all if it weren’t for Kelsey.  She has some sort of built-in radar for finding artists after a show, and she is persistent.  She was not leaving the venue last night without making every effort to find Mr. Miller, and she did it.  There was a short line of people waiting to speak with him.  While we were waiting, we came up with all kinds of clever things to say.  Kelsey had been joking all night about a picture of him they kept putting up on the big screens, saying it looked like a cheesy Sears portrait.  She planned to tease him about that, and then ask him to sign her book, letting him know she hasn’t even read it yet.  I planned to admit my social awkwardness and ask my question.

During the wait, I spotted one of the musical artists we saw that night, Robbie Seay.  I’ve long been a fan of his band, and I mentioned to Kelsey that I really wanted to tell him how much one of his songs meant to me.  She kept nudging me to do it, and I managed to blurt out a few words about the song.  He was grateful for the encouragement and chatted with us for awhile.  I began to think I could really do this…I might actually be able to have a conversation with someone I greatly admire.

Did I mention we were last in line?  In other words, we could have talked with Don as long as he would stay.  We introduced ourselves, and the only words that came out of my mouth were, “It’s nice to meet you.”  Kelsey amazed me by asking him to sign her book, talked to him about the movie currently being made about his book “Blue Like Jazz”, and asking for a picture.  She kept giving me a look which said, “Say something!”, but I couldn’t do it.  Don looked at us for a second as if to say, “OK, do you want to talk more?”  Still, nothing came out of my mouth.  He shook our hands a second time and thanked us for coming to the show, and off we went.  *sigh*

As we talked about the experience on the way home, I told Kelsey I think the reason why I’m such a dork if because I’m really in awe of other people’s talents.  She replied, “Mom, you are around people of amazing talent all the time!”  She’s right.  Even right in my own home, I’m surrounded by people with incredible gifts to create, direct, and influence.  There are musicians at my church who are just as talented as the ones I heard last night.  I have friends who constantly amaze me with spiritual insight, artistic abilities, and graceful parenting.  All of these are just as deserving of my praise.

So, I’m sorry, Donald Miller.  I guess you’re not that special.  :)

Somehow, I think Don will be OK with that.

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4 Comments

  1. Dede Holt
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    I just love reading your "stuff". Now I can anticipate seeing you this weekend. Glad I'm not famous because we've got lots to talk about!
    Oh and it's nice knowing you too.

  2. Laura
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    I had a feeling you may blog about meeting Donald Miller :) I'm glad I'm not the only person who chickens out when it comes to meeting famous people. I say the stupidest things– really. I'm glad that someone as even-keeled as you is still a big dork :)

    I'm also really glad you got to meet him :)

  3. emmila2015
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    thanks for mentioning me :) (the part about people in your home with incredible gifts) ;)

  4. Christy in Seattle
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed your post. I would be every bit as much a social dork as you felt you were, if I had met Donald Miller. Good for you for at least going up to meet him! More than I would have had the courage to do. On Saturday night I saw Phil Keaggy (Christian musician) in concert. I've been following his music since I was 16 (more than 25 years! Eek!) When he left the stage for the last time, he actually ended up pausing only a few feet from me and looked my general direction and actually made eye contact with me and smiled. I am a HUGE fan and have seen him play almost as many times as there have been years I've followed him. Yet that brief smile and eye contact was the most coontact I've ever "braved." :] I'm a groupie at a distance, I guess. Lol. I just would never know what to say to someone I admire so much. I saw Anne Lamott read a few months ago and friends were encouraging me to queue in line after to talk to her but all I could think was, "What would I say that she hasn't heard a million times before?" "I love your work." :p Boring! Good for you for meeting Donald Miller. I'm jealous. :)

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