Update on the weird things that happen to you when you become that strange thing, a “signed author”. Don’t take this too seriously, but it tickled me so much I want to share it.
The hubby and I, we are many things, but certainly not wealthy. I mean, he’s a high school teacher. I’m nothing. So come on. But you all know I’ll be going to the States (AND Canada. I KNOW, Sue! ) this summer, and hubby and some US friends said going without a credit card is not a good idea. I would have, mind you. Just stashed some cash in my stocking and gone. There isn’t a lot to spend anyway, so what’s the big deal. Thought I. Until the Bunny said, “But what if there’s an emergency. You need plastic.” And hubby nodded and said he would take me to the bank to get me a card. I broke out in sweat. The bank is one of my least favorite places on Earth. I would rather get on an airplane than go to the bank, and that’s saying something. The bank is no fun when there’s no dough in the account.
So yesterday, my palms sweating, hubby grinning (HE is not afraid of the bank. He says we are customers and they always treat him like one when he goes there. I mostly hide under the bed in the meantime.), we went to the bank.
Here is what happened.
Guy at the bank: “Oh, you want a credit card?”
Me: “Uhm… I don’t wanna, but I’m told I have to. I’m going to the US next month…”
Guy: “Then you need one. Oh, you don’t have your own account.”
Me: “I don’t have an income. I don’t need an account. The hubby has one.” Sweat spreads from palms to… up higher.
Guy: “We need someone else to talk to. Wait a moment.” Sweat on the scalp.
He brings in Nice Lady. Nice Lady takes us to a secluded cubicle with a DOOR, and sweat prickles between shoulder blades. Door remains open, though.
Nice Lady: “So you’re going to the US? You need a credit card. No one uses cash there.”
Aha. This is normally the point when I start babbling, and so I do. Tell her yes, I’m going to the US, and on a pre-launch book reading tour since I had just signed a boo deal with a US publisher, and…
Nice Lady ( a bright smile on her face): “Then we’ll open an account for you now and give you a credit card.” Typing on the computer ensues. After a moment of consideration, “You had better take a gold card.”
Lady, I have NO MONEY. Who would give ME a gold anything? She does not even look at me, and so she can’t see the sweat running down my face. Figuratively, of course. The place has A/C.
Nice Lady, after some more typing: “A gold card it is. Which company would you like? AmEx? No, better take Master. They are accepted more widely.”
Again: NO MONEY!
Guy from before comes and sits down with us, also smiling brightly. I feel trapped, hubby is all relaxed. They push about a gazillion (I know; not a word. But totally apt, trust me.) papers to sign at me, and I sign, the hubby signs, they are put in a glossy folder. And,
“Oh,” says Nice Lady, “Wait a moment. I’ll get you the application form for the priority lounges at the airports. It comes with the card. You’ll be able to travel so much more comfortably with that. No hanging out in public spaces while you wait for your connections, and I guess you’ll be traveling a lot in the future.”
That’s a nice thought, but hey, SO far in the future…
Nice Lady: “Now you’re all set. We give you xxx credit, and if you need more… Your card will come by mail within the next few days.”
Sweat everywhere. Hubby is pleased.
Relaxed, seated guy, chimes in, “And when your royalties begin to come in we can always have a talk about a business account, and you’ll need help with the taxes, we are at your service. Please do not hesitate to call or ask.”
Folks… I’ve only just signed. Aren’t you a bit over-optimistic? Hubby thinks not. I think yes. Getting that call from the publisher saying they wanted to sign me was surreal. THIS here is like a nightmare turned into benevolent torture.
I have my folder, we shake hands, and Nice Lady takes a deep breath.
“I’ve been writing myself,” she says, “Nothing much, just the story of my family, but my friends tell me it is really good and I should try to publish it. Is it hard to find a publisher? How did you do it?”
“Would you mind if I asked you for advice? Would you look at my manuscript? Could I give you a call?”
Lady, ME??? I don’t know ANYTHING. Right now, I can hardly remember my freaking name. But sure, if that’s what I have to do to get a gold card… call me. Just don’t tell me you work at a bank, ok? No I didn’t say that. That would have been way too clever for me. I just nodded and said, of course, anytime, and the best advice I can give you is, don’t give up. Keep it up, write, write, write. And write a really good query letter (Insert: hysterical laughter, because I never did that. Write a query letter.).
They escort us to the door (the outside door) another handshake, another offer to call anytime… do they think the big $$$ will be rolling in some time soon? Folks, no one can promise that. Out on the street, I’m still dazed. Hubby shrugs and says, “I told you, no big deal. We are customers. Want a coffee?”
I’m still me. Yes, I wrote a book and sold it, and I’m working on the next one. But I’m still me. I’m not a big-shot bestselling author or anything. I have the spooky feeling one of these days I’ll wake up and find myself in my old reality where gold credit cards, book deals and airport lounges are a pleasant dream and my next task will be to tame a roaring 6th grade class at school. The puzzle pieces are not fitting together yet. The old life and the new have not merged. It scares the sh*t out of me. I feel like the greatest fraud on Earth, first for bamboozling a publisher into accepting my novel, now for dazzling Nice Lady and Guy. Hubby is all cool about it. He says it was due to happen some day, and to stop fussing. I don’t know that I will. It’s all too good to be true.
Note: of course there will be money in my account when I’m traveling, the hubby will see to that. So don’t worry. 🙂