I met Douglas Coupland once. Well, not really met. I queued up to get a book signed (for a friend’s birthday) in a chain book shop in Leeds around the turn of the millennium. It must’ve been for Miss Wyoming. I was working at a posh shoe shop at the time, just a couple of streets along from the book shop. It was a job I did in-between lectures at university and clubbing (my real occupation). I went along to the book signing one lunchtime and there he was, signing books. When it was my turn he glanced at the name badge I was wearing (why did I have a name badge? That’s not posh) and said, “You won’t always be wearing one of those.” I think he got a kick out of saying things like that to fans. Stuff he knew that would be taken to heart, that might even be motivational. It was too, I felt like I’d seen a psychic or something. I’ve just remembered this because I am three quarters of the way through re-reading Hey Nostradamus! and I am savouring every word. I’d remembered the outline of the story but all the colour, all the sadness and all the beauty, I’d lost. Books, man! Not everything’s on the internet and halle-damn-lujah for that.
Update: I just met up with Alice, the signed book giftee, and it turns out it wasn’t Miss Wyoming but All Families Are Psychotic, which makes it around 2001/02, and I wasn’t working at a shoe shop but in a bank, of all places, doing some temp work on the summer holiday. I had completely buried that experience, no doubt out of shame. Memory is weird.