I was sitting outside at Café Rose Nicaud on Frenchman Street, scribbling notes about my last meeting when I caught a glimpse of someone running toward me. I instinctively clutched my purse and looked up as a young woman dashed across the street, stumbled to a stop in front of me, and (loudly) blurted out “OH MY GOD! You’re that religion lady, right?” Since she was looking right at me, and I could indeed be identified as having something to do with religion, there didn’t seem to be any way to deny this.
People at neighboring tables were craning around to see what was going on, and a group of tourists paused to gawk.
“I thought it was you!” She said, “Tell me about religion!”
I had absolutely no idea how to respond to that. I vaguely wondered if she had mistaken me for someone else, but she said she recognized me from my headshot at The Huffington Post, and seemed to know a little about my writing and Interfaith work. She was VERY excited to meet me and I was worried she was going to ask for my autograph or something. I was still trying to figure out how to respond to “Tell me about religion.”
I was pretty confused by her enthusiasm…I mean, I’m a religion blogger and whatever. Not really a celebrity-forming line of work. Luckily, she did most of the talking, and after a few minutes, she thanked me and left. (She had obviously been drinking, but was really sweet.)
I was simultaneously weirded out at being recognized by a stranger; slightly embarrassed by the onlookers studiously looking elsewhere while clearly listening in; pleased that someone thought my work was so cool; and baffled by “Tell me about religion,” --which I as yet have no idea how to respond to.
It all happened very fast, so I was still befuddled when the guy at the table next to me leaned over and asked “So, who are you?”
I opened my mouth and this is what came out:
“I don’t know.”