I received an email from a very nice young lady with whom I had a conversation with at the Renaissance Fair in Ansonia, CT. In the email she was very angry with me and felt that I had made fun of her and insulted her.
You see, during our conversation I had asked her what her favorite book was and she replied, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Since this was one of my favorite books I fell into telling some of my favorite Arthur Dent stories with her. Sadly, the stories I remembered were in later books by Douglas Adams, not the Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy as I had said. She did not, during the conversation, remember those parts of the Hitchhiker's guide to which I was referring. When she returned home she must have gone looking for those stories I spoke about only to find that the book did not contain them.
She is not wrong. They are not in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The stories I referenced were in So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, one of the later books about Arthur Dent.
I felt like an idiot. I would never intentionally mislead or insult anyone. And I would never do so to make a sale.
I wrote her a sincere letter and tried to email it to her but my explanation was returned to me as having a bad email address.
I am including my response to her here in the hopes that she will see it and understand that I had no ill will.
I do remember both you and your boyfriend. Your boyfriend was a landscaper who sat with me in the hot sun when I was very tired. We spoke of chickens. After a very nice conversation, and after introducing you and I, he bought a copy of The Soulweb for you as a gift. It was to be a surprise. I wrote a special quote for you in the back of the book and I think I used orange ink. Still, my memory may be failing me. I believe the special quote I put there said, "It always rains somewhere.” I remember this because of our conversation as I was very happy to meet another fan of Douglas Adams.
I assure you that I was not making fun of you. I was very happy that you and your boyfriend stopped to chat with me. I remember our conversation about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and I remember telling you the story about the sticky buns. I remember telling you about how it was my favorite story in The Hitchhiker's Guide. I understand the confusion and I must apologize because the error is mine. I own the collection of Douglas Adams books entitled The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Why this information is important is because it doesn’t just contain The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy but four additional books about Arthur Dent, Marvin, and Zaphod.
The books in this collection are:
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe,
Life, the Universe and Everything,
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, and
Young Zaphod Plays It Safe.
Each of these books continues the story of our heroes. Because I have only read these books together in one volume I tend to call them collectively, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This is my error. Again, I assure you that I was not making fun of you at all.I was very pleased to meet another fan of Douglas Adams. The story of the sticky buns happens in Chapter 20 of So Long and Thanks for All the Fish. I could not remember which part contained the story of the buns when we spoke, and like I mentioned, I tend to call all five books together The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because I have only ever read them sequentially in one single volume.
For the record, the special quote I added to the back of your copy of The Soulweb is in reference to Chapter 2 of So Long and Thanks For All the Fish. Your boyfriend requested a quote that might hold special significance for you so I chose to reference another Douglas Adams story that I enjoy very much about a rain god. I hope that you get the chance to continue the series of books by Douglas Adams. They had me laughing every time.
I sincerely hope that you can forgive my error in my mistaking which book the story was from. I do so love them all. Please write me back. I was so distraught that you thought I was insulting you that I got lost on my way home this evening. Selling books at all is a lonely business. When someone is kind enough to stop and speak with me I hold them in the highest regard. I don’t remember every book that I sign, but I remember yours.
Sincerely and humbly,
Steven M Nedeau