Another brush with fame (among well-read news junkies, at least)

David Brooks was on my shuttle from Dulles to Raleigh on Monday morning, a few rows ahead of me. I saw him stand up to escape down the aisle and that’s about it. I attempted to catch up to him in the airport to say that, although I often disagree with much of his thinking, I respect it and appreciate his writing, and ever since he would seem to have turned on Bush, I have more respect for his thinking. Not that it would have meant much to him, of course.

He was wearing a pink oxford and his glasses (and other things), and it looked like he had shaven recently. Respectable, in other words.

I was wearing microfiber camping pants, a t-shirt, a denim shirt, sneakers, and my leather jacket, and I looked like I hadn’t shaven, eaten, slept, or had water nor a coherent thought for at least ten hours (because, of course, I hadn’t, having flown red-eye from SF). Like hell, in other words.

While trotting from baggage to the rental car bus, I pondered the cost of fame. If David Brooks had looked as beaten up and downtrodden as I did on that shuttle, at least a few people would have recognized and thought ill of him, and it probably would have made gossip columns or at least a few blogs. If I’d caught up to him and spoken to him and he’d received my comments with any kind of grace, despite my appearance and probable incoherence, it would have been to his great credit.

I looked like hell, and nobody cared.

My politics are better and I’m sure I make way less money, but his life might be harder, and I’m not sure I’d trade with him. Anonymity has its privileges.

David Brooks, if you should google yourself and land here: I enjoy your columns. I often disagree with you, but you don’t make it easy. Further quibbling with your recent writing is less interesting than the preceding points.

And you look better in pink than I ever will. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.