Ah, Saturday. Started out the day at a hectic pace with a brand new way to count bookfair attendees–giving each one of them a numbered label before they could go into the bookfair. We did a little packing up (only had a few stations up anyway) and gave out labels at a fast pace all morning until it was time to shut down. At this point, everyone pretty much left for lunch except for me. While a few people handed out labels, I packed up. I wanted to be finished up as soon as possible. One of my coworkers kept trying to get me to leave and eat lunch, but I couldn’t eat anything there anyway, and I had the only food I could eat waiting for me back in my hotel room. So I worked as hard and fast as I could, cleaning up and packing up. By the time they returned from lunch, I was pretty much done. I escaped as soon as I possibly could.
I went straight to my room, had a bite to eat, packed for that afternoon, then set out on an adventure to see the Seattle Public Library. This was a place I’d been wanting to visit for years. I even wrote a story set there a few years back, basing the whole thing off photos, having never actually been there. I was to meet friends that afternoon, so my time was limited, but I was THRILLED to be able to fit this into my schedule at the last minute, though it meant hurrying.
It was SO WORTH a visit. The children’s section is charming. There is art everywhere. I got to see the entrance to the auditorium where I set part of my story. The reading areas are comfy and there are so many computer stations. The Seattle history room with old books, maps, and models is a place I could have spent days. The continual nonfiction book spiral totally rocked my world. Neat, unique collections of maps, music, and other media. A great friends store and a coffee shop inside the library. And the automated check-in process with its conveyor belt (which does half my job as a library volunteer back home) was amazing to see in person!
I stayed a few minutes too long and then raced back to the hotel. Okay, I did stop once to take a photo of a snarf at a theater I passed. I usually snarf on Saturdays during a conference, but I gave that up to see friends. So I wanted to get at least one photo in :-) I made it to the hotel and raced to my room. I grabbed my things, including food for the evening to give and to eat if needed. I made it downstairs to wait before my ride arrived. Whew!
I was meeting one of my former boyfriends from back in college and his current girlfriend. They arrived a little late because of traffic. Allie, who I’d never met, was kind enough to drive. It was great seeing Chris again and meeting Allie (I’m envious of her job and her awesome hair). They are adorable together! They pointed out sights along the way and I got as close to the space needle as I did during the whole trip. They took me to their home in Redmond, and I gifted them with the remainder of the food I didn’t get a chance to eat, so it wouldn’t go to waste. And I got to meet their new kitty, who I forgot to take a photo of! Oh no! I was too busy petting him :-)
They took me to Chris’ favorite pub for drinks. They’re regulars there; everyone knows them. That was really neat and small towny in what felt like a big town to me :-) It was neat seeing part of their life and briefly meeting some of their friends. I don’t drink but an Irish pub that has hockey on every TV? Perfection! I had an iced tea that made me so cold I spent half an hour trying not to shiver to death like a weakling. Allie left to go get reservations at a restaurant and Chris and I chatted until the owner said Allie had called the bar (Chris’s phone was charging across the room) saying she was waiting for us. Apparently there had been no wait! I felt terribly guilty. And cold.
I regaled them with the fun story of our convention and social media craziness from the past couple weeks. Then the food arrived. There wasn’t much I could eat, so I had ordered steamed beans and told them to make them very steamed. They came to me really hard. So hard that they blew out the left side of my jaw. Embarrassed, I excused myself to the bathroom and completely freaked out. I couldn’t move my jaw without horrible pain. I popped a couple Acetaminophen, knowing it probably wouldn’t help much. I went back and we chatted a bit. Then they drove me back to Seattle in time for me to catch the evening event with Sherman Alexie. It was so great catching up with Chris and meeting his amazing girlfriend and adorable new cat. We didn’t have time to see the Microsoft campus or his office, though. Maybe next time.
I “met” Sherman Alexie briefly at AWP in Washington, D.C., but I didn’t get a chance to see him speak then. I got there just as the doors open and sat up front in the VIP section with several of my coworkers. AWP is the only place I get to sit in VIP sections; it still makes me nervous, like I don’t belong. LOL All the speakers were good, but Sherman Alexie was fantastic, even though he’d caught the AWPcold. He was a hoot and read a few things, including an excerpt from a YA work in progress that was the best possible thing he could have read in my presence. Squee!