Earlier this week I noticed that rich and famous NYC blogger, journalist, actor, writer, bon vivant, and all around media darling Josh Helmin mentioned on Facebook that he’d be in Houston and Austin this week on business. (That stupid Foursquare really takes the skill out of stalking people these days! When I was a lad…) I sent Josh an email letting him know that I’d really like to meet for coffee, if he had time while he was here. If he didn’t have time, I’d need to buy better handcuffs–I mean, erm, I’d certainly understand if he was too busy. The next day, on Tuesday, he said he’d love to get together, if I knew a good place, and would 3:30 be okay?
I wrote back and explained that 3:30 on Tuesday was okay, but it was a Hanley Inc. day for me, so hoped he liked spending time with toddlers. Whenever I pick up Hanley from school these days she immediately says, “Coffee?” So, meeting Josh there seemed like a good plan. Unfortunately, the email didn’t get to him in time. Which meant that between 2:45 and 3:30 I was frantically texting directions to Agora to Josh at stoplights after I picked up The Big H from school, while simultaneously texting H’s mom to let her know that I had Hanley and that she was fine. I may have mixed up the text boxes a couple of times and told H’s mom that I wanted to sit inside the coffeehouse, and told Josh that Hanley didn’t nap but did pee in the potty at school that day. I can’t be sure. (And, no, I never text while actually driving!)
Luckily, when I showed up looking a little frazzled and holding an uninvited toddler, Josh didn’t bat an eyelid. He was talkative, gracious, and accommodating, like a Southern hostess, which is odd, since he’s originally from Minnesota. Hanley decided to be extremely shy and, like a leach, she attached herself to my torso, silently judging Josh with her head buried in my chest, occasionally sneaking quick peeks at him to make sure he wasn’t trying to poison her orange juice. Once she determined her safety was in check and I had a her covered, she consented to turn around on my lap and be amusing.
For those who don’t know (shame on you!), Josh contributed a short story to Fool For Love, the anthology that I edited with Becky Cochrane. Because of all the emails and phone conversations exchanged as a result of that collaboration, it hardly seemed like I was meeting Josh for the first time. On the contrary, it seemed like meeting at Agora and hanging out with him for an hour was a regular thing. He promised to return soon, and I’m hoping that’s true, because I’m looking forward to blindfolding him and taking him to The Compound for dinner sometime. Also, because I forgot to take pictures.