We started off the day at the Oasis 26 SciFi convention at The Castle in Orlando seemingly well. The wife was trying to “help” me become less introverted by encouraging me to talk to total strangers walking by the table. May not seem like a big deal to most, but to people like me, it is. Think about a snail coming out if its protective shell.

My wife is blessed with the gift of gab, wit, and a remarkable way of making big things seem small. When she suggested I approach the next person by asking them if they were a writer or reader, I thought “OK, I can do this.” The first person walked by and, well, I said zip. The next person walked by and I mumbled something or other. Anyway, the morning went by and she would bring them in with, “Hi, are you a writer or a reader?” And most people would stop and engage in conversation. Wow this works.

So now in comes a gentlemen and I say nothing. Not because I’m uncomfortable (which I was), but because I knew he was a writer, recognizing his name. I hadn’t read any of his books but I knew he’s a big deal in Science Fiction. My wife, more than mildly irritated with me by now, blurts out “Hi, are you writer or a reader?” He chuckled, looked up from my book display, looked at her, looked at me, looked back at her and said, “I’m a writer. And I occasionally read.” And he kept right on walking, never looking back. I just hung my head. The guy at the table across the aisle recognized him and greeted him by his name, Ben Bova.

On a bright note, I did get to hang with another celebrity, Mike Hinman from AirlockAlpha.com. He just about pissed his pants when we related this story.

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