Monday, October 9, 2017

Hanging out with Alan Alda

So, did I tell you that I met Alan Alda last month?? No? Oh!! Well, sit down and I'll fill you in.

I don't think it is any sort of secret that I grew up in a MASH-loving home. Even long after the show was off the air, my brother and I would sit together watching episodes. I'm not talking right after the show was off the air. I mean going on 15 years after the show was done, we were still watching the show together. If we happened to turn on the TV and found a rerun playing (and, let's face it, there was a time in our not-too-distant past that there was ALWAYS a MASH rerun on!) we'd compete to figure out who could name the episode the fastest once it began or by watching the still images shown during the closing credits (if we missed the actual episode). 

My admiration of Alan Alda's work isn't strictly for his work on MASH (although, that was the beginning of it). I've admired his portrayal of countless characters, both on the big screen and on TV. Heck, I learned how to core a head of iceberg lettuce from him in the movie "Sweet Liberty". I kid you not!!

A number of years ago, Alan Alda was in town while promoting his memoir "Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: and Other Things I've Learned". Naturally, I went to the reading and was nothing but incredibly impressed with his way of interacting with the audience and his personable nature. At the end of the reading portion, he signed copies of his book. I bought 2 copies -- one for me and one for my brother Troy and asked for the inscription to read "Merry Christmas, Troy. Alan Alda". 

Fast forward to last month. I got a call out of the blue from Troy saying that we were going to a VIP reception with (and for) Alan Alda, who was in town to promote another book he wrote. I was floored and (yes, I'll admit it) giddy! After the reception, we'd get to hear Alan Alda speak to the audience about his book that discusses effective communication.

The next day, Troy and I met at a small Mercer Island restaurant, had a quick bite to eat, and headed to the reception. After wandering around a bit looking for the right building, we got to go right in and bypass the non-VIP people (tee hee hee... we were VIPs!) and join the other VIPs at the reception. We walk in and BAM! There was Alan Alda sitting at a table signing books. Troy and I giggled about how many times he must write his name during one of these events and how tired (bored?) he looked.... not to mention what his internal monologue must have been.

Waiting in line to meet Alan Alda
Hey, look!! It's Alan Alda!

We received our copies of his book and joined the line of others waiting for their turn to get their books signed. As we neared the table, I have to admit my giddy-o-meter when from "holy moly" to off the charts. 

Before too long (the line was kept moving at a really good pace), it was our turn to have our books signed. I told Alan (yea, we are totally on a first name basis now) that being there was my brother's birthday present to me. He (Alan, not Troy) very sweetly wished me a happy birthday. (YES! Alan Alda wished me a happy birthday.... booyah!) I also told him this was the second time I was at one of his readings, which (according to Troy) put a genuine smile on Alan's face. Pet Troy, he seemed touched that I was a repeat audience member! We shook hands, and then moved along... me with my feet a good 6-8 inches off of the ground.

Signed books selfie
Following the reception, we were ushered to the larger area where the presentation/interview would take place. Troy secured us some great seats earlier while I held our place in the book signing line, so we were probably no more than 10-15 feet away from the stage and dead center. During the interview, a local Seattle Times reporter and Alan talked about his work with scientists and researchers to help medical professional and other scientists improve their communication skills, especially when conversing with non-scientists and patients. 

Hey, look! It's Alan Alda


Sharing a story with the sudience

Thank you, Troy, for a truly wonderful evening. Yes, it was amazing to interact with Alan Alda (squee!) and listen to him speak (in person), but beyond that, sharing the experience with you means the world. You know me well enough to know that event would make me beyond happy and it would give us yet another moment to reflect back on with fondness and smiles. Also, thank you to Eric and Staci for being willing to take care of our respective kids solo so Troy and I could have a night out. 

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