Whose Panties at Easy Going in Berkeley


I loved kicking off the tour at Easy Going though it was not without a rocky start. GraceAnn Walden was unable to make it, and I had been stuck on a runway in Vegas all afternoon not knowing when I’d get into SFO. But Susan’s quick thinking and rush hour traffic advice got me there at 7:30 on the dot. To my surprise, Audrey wasn’t stressing and the audience was milling about.

Suzanne LaFetra brought a bunch of friends to hear her read “Hemorrhoids in Holland,” and Susan Lyn McCombs had them laughing with her story “Blind Faith”. Sidebar contributor Kathryn Pritchett read a few sidebars and participated in the Q&A. Most of the panel questions and those from the audience were addressed without a hitch. But I was reminded that I was in Berkeley when the woman in the back said, “I know you write travel, and humor, but do you do anything for social justice?”

Selfish little me? Uh no. I tried to bring up my old BikeAid days as something I did for a cause—once. But that was purely for my own adventure, too. Lucky for me Jeff Greenwald was in the audience and I turned the spotlight on him to give a plug for his Ethical Traveler.

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All in all we had 50 people turn out and sold 21 books. That’s almost what we sold last year to a crowd of 80. It’s decent. Nothing to be disappointed in at all. Afterwards a few of us went over to Cesar’s for tapas and drinks. Big thanks to WR fan Johanna for coming out and spreading the good word.

The reason it was meaningful for me to begin at Easy Going is because it feels like I’ve grown up in this store. And I told them that. I’ve been setting up, attending, or moderating events there for nearly ten years. Michael, Audrey, Thelma, and Julie continue to give me the warmest welcome, to the point where it feels like I’m speaking in their living room to a group of their friends.

It saddened me to hear that the economy has been hard on them in recent years and business shows little sign of improvement. I have a few ideas that might help, but until I can sort that out, isn’t there a new travel book that you’ve been meaning to get?

And speaking of helping out. My digital camera has been dropped one too many times. If you know of a place in Portland or Eugene where I can get it fixed or have one for me to borrow for a month, I’ll give you a few books and thank you immensely.