Yes, for anyone who knows me this is an old ass story, four years today to be precise!
And yes, it really isn’t click bait (I also know you’re not suppose to start a sentence with and but it’s the internet so the rules don’t count…kinda)
Anywhoo I’ve never really written this story down, I mean my loved ones have heard it a lot but I want to write it down, whilst it’s still fresh in my head
THE DAY I BUMPED INTO JK ROWLING DUM DUM DUMMMMMM
The funny thing about it is the likelihood of it not happening was a one million times higher than the chances of it happening. I wanted to go to Primark because they’d started selling Hogwarts t-shirts (remember the days when Primark didn’t have an entire range but just THAT one burgundy t-shirt?) I was waiting for my colleague Amelia to finish something she was doing as she had an errand to run on Oxford St too, but she told me to go ahead because her work was going to take her too long.
So I plodded off in the direction of Primark, glued to my phone as always (well not as always since my phone was nicked from my hand in the street, but back then). I happened to look up from my phone to ensure I wasn’t bumping into anyone, public politeness ya know.
That’s when I saw her, passing my left hand side. I was beyond shocked, I stopped in the street and then spun directly on my heels. What happened next might sound like a creepy pink panther esq chase but it was about eight steps to just check it was her.
During this time a thousand thoughts are running through my head, I mean it CAN’T be her right? Surely all these people swarming around us would recognise her? But then she is wearing Louboutin boots which she could afford and they look like they could do with reheeling and I’m pretty sure Jo is the kind of person who wouldn’t just buy a new pair because she could afford to. I don’t have anything for her to sign if it is her, what if it’s her? OMG. *Scrambling through my bag to find a book (one by Jane Fallon) she can’t sign a book by a different author?!, ahhh a business card that I picked up from someone that morning, it has a plain white background PERFECT* Except it’s not perfect, the irony of ironies is that it’s about anti black magic, the perfect thing to hand over to a woman who wrote a book about magic eurgh. But it’s all I have. That all went through my head in around 8 seconds.
And then the woman stopped off at Halifax bank. This confused me, does JK Rowling just like to check her bank balance to remind herself that she really is that rich? So I wait until she’s done and stand far enough away that I don’t look like I’m trying to steal her pin. She has no shopping bags with her, no kids, no one else and she’s been walking at a leisurely pace so I deduce she’s not in a particular rush. So I tap her on the shoulder, she turns and it is indeed THE JK Rowling.
I start by apologising, acknowledging that this is probably really annoying but that she’s my idol and if I didn’t I would regret it for the rest of my life. She said it was fine and took me aside to a part of Oxford Street which was gated off due to road works.
We had a couple of minutes of chatter, she asked me about my work and I spoke about how I was moving to Florida (lol, that went well – but that’s for another time) I started to get a bit teary and she gave me a hug, and it was a fast but lovely conversation. She personalised an autograph for me whilst I built up the courage to ask for a photo.
I was 99.999999% sure she would say no, but she was surprisingly fine with it. She took off her glasses quipping that no one would recognise her if she kept them on, and then proceeded to ask who should we ask to take the photo? Or should we take a selfie. I went for the latter not trusting anyone else to capture this moment so perfectly.
She hugged me again and then went on her way, which happened to be the same way I was going (to Primark to get that t-shirt) so I awkwardly hung back so she wouldn’t think I was following her and bathed in my confusion, joy and utter buzz.
And that’s my story, of how I met my literary idol, on the way to buy a t-shirt that represented the world she created.
And there is probably the longest blog post I’ve ever written, or ever will write.