Well, it finally happened.

Last week I was sitting in the coffee shop around the corner, tap-tap-tapping away on my laptop, when I noticed someone staring at me. "Excuse me," she said, "but are you the famous author?"

"I. Um. Well, not famous..." I was completely rattled, because this has absolutely positively never happened before. I've never once been at the gym or the grocery store or out to eat and have someone say "Hey, aren't you...." I ascribe this to the fact that even on a good day I only semi-resemble my author photo, which was the result of lots of hair and makeup attention. Normally, in the time between one book tour to the next, the hair is in a ponytail, the makeup is in its makeup bag, as opposed to on my face, and the outfits are accessorized only by a healthy dusting of dog hair. And the idea of "famous author" just sounds like an oxymoron. Even the John Grishams and Stephen Kings of the world aren't on par, recognition-wise, with C-list of TV stars, and I've always sort of taken it for granted that I could move through the world as invisibly as I did in my pre-book life, even though Chef's Market now has a poster with a quote from GOOD IN BED on their walls (it's from the scene where Cannie, who's pregnant, covets their high-priced cheese....although I noticed that they didn't post the part where she fantasizes about stealing it).

But there I was, in my little coffee shop. Busted.

"Your picture is on our refrigerator!" said the woman. I cannot even tell you how weird that is. My picture should not be on people's refrigerators. Not even as a disincentive to snacking. "And you really do work in a coffee shop!"

"Nice to meet you," I said. We had a little chat about how it's easier to get things done in coffee shops, whether it's novel-writing or bill-paying, and then she left and I went back to work.

So it's the New Year, and so far, so good. We had a wonderful, low-key New Year's Eve (dinner with friends, followed by fireworks over the Delaware), and it's been gray and rainy and cold and quiet in Philadelphia (except for today, when the Mummers belatedly did their high-volume, liquor-lubricated strut), and I'm doing lots of writing, and sorting, and cleaning-out, and baby-preparation stuff. And eagerly awaiting tomorrow night's debut of "Joe Millionaire." Yes, it's Evil TV. Yes, I'll be watching anyhow.