Hello all you beautiful people – I’m back! I’m also pretty worn out, but if I don’t do a recap tonight, I won’t likely post one … for I have oodles of work to do tomorrow. Ergo, tonight it is. I’ll try to keep it brief and not too travelogue-y.
Friday afternoon I flew out of Seattle into Baltimore, caught a shuttle that would take me to the train at the BWI station and made it to the (very lovely) Union Station. Then I had to wait in a frankly epic line to get a cab; so even though I was a little early getting in, I was a little late getting to my hotel. The hotel was awesome, even going so far as to furnish me with a massaging chair – into which I parked myself, alternating between the chair remote control and the television remote control, while fantasizing about how often I would indulge this same activity when I am rich. But I could not indulge long (nay, only a few minutes at first) because the Tor crew was meeting downstairs in the hotel restaurant. Yea verily, we did dine – and there were a bunch of neat people, including (but not limited to) Cory Doctorow, Jane Lindskold, Brandon Sanderson, and Dom Testa. There were also some marvelous librarians and some fabulous Tor folks, but if they have websites for me to link, I am unaware of the URLs. My apologies!
After several hours of very good wine and very good food and very good company, we went our separate ways – which is to say, I went right back to the massage chair and watched TV for awhile. It was nearly midnight East Coast time, but only 9:00 p.m. on my internal clock, so bedtime didn’t come easily.
In the morning I got up to join the afore-linked usual suspects aboard a van to a TV station in Arlington, VA. There, we were individually interviewed for a show called Fast Forward – and we were likewise treated to lunch, a groovy green room, and the beagle someone had brought to the station. It was only lurking around us for the turkey sandwiches, but I rubbed its tummy anyway.
Following this (which ran a little long), we were shuttled back to the conference center where we had thirty minutes to get our bearings before going on stage to give talks on the subject of “Science Fiction and Fantasy: Informing the Present by Imagining the Future.” A lot of people showed up, and they made a great audience! In the wake of our jabbering at them, they lined up and we signed books until all books were signed. This took a bit, because free copies of our books had been given out to 250 of the librarians present; but that was great, because we got to chat at 250 librarians on a more personal basis, which was lots of fun.
By the time this wrapped up, the convention had shut down for the night – which meant no hanging at the Tor booth for moi. Instead, I got hold of my little brother, who is in D.C. at American University. And a senior, no less! Truly, I am getting old. Anyway, he came to get me – and we cabbed it over to his neighborhood, where we acted like cheese-monkeys and got some very good pizza at a place called Two Amys. Then we went back to his apartment so I could meet his kitty, “Walter Cronkat,” and a friend of his named Lauren. I tried to get a pic of Walter, but he was not interested in holding still and it was dark. Ah, well.
Eventually (and far too soon), I had to head back to the hotel – because I had a date with a train around breakfastime.
Awoke at an ungodly hour, which is to say, 6:30 D.C. time (and 3:30 a.m. in my West Coast universe). I didn’t actually have to get up quite that early, but since I was awake, I said “screw it” and went in search of breakfast. I checked out of the hotel, got a cab, and went back to Union Station – where I found a McDonald’s and a whole lot of pigeons, in front of whom I ate a chicken biscuit, which felt weird. I mean, how did they feel about that? Isn’t that kind of like me watching a lion eat a monkey burrito?
Right around the time I was flicking bird-flavored biscuit crumbs at the feathered cannibals under my table, the train pulled in so I took off. Back at the Baltimore BWI station I nabbed the shuttle back to the airport and, in time, caught my flight back home. The flight was unremarkable but for two things: (1). it was almost six hours long, and (2). I was seated next to a pair of deeply obnoxious teenage girls – the kind who unfairly give teenage girls everywhere a reputation for shrill frivolity, and who are not at all representative of the entire breed, thank God.
These girls were epic in their capacity for being annoying. And I do not exaggerate when I bust out the italics around “epic.” Let me put it this way: For nearly six hours, I sat next to two fifteen year olds who thought they were in their dad’s SUV. They shared a set of headphones – read: turned them up SOOPER LOUD so both of them could get the FULL KE$HA EXPERIENCE through their solitary listening earpiece – and performed interpretive dances in their seats. Their repertoire included such stirring depictions as “brushing their teeth with a bottle of Jack” and “something about how you can’t get none of this in their car car car” and “your love is my drug, and by “you” they mean whoever is sitting in front of them, because that’s whose headrest they are vigorously stabbing at length.” When they finally tired of this game after a few hours, they moved on to singing timeless classics such as “B.I.N.G.O” and “It’s a Small World After All,” by which point I was ready to do a Shatner and rip out a window so I could swan dive off the plane’s wing. But alas, I was on the aisle seat. Speaking of which, did I mention they each had a bladder like a nervous poodle – yet continuously rang the flight attendants for MOAR SODA?
Anyway. Yes. I’m home now, of course – and Seatmates of the Damned aside, I’m very glad I went. It’s always cool to connect with readers and the people who nurture them, and of course I was glad to see my little brother. Next time I hit D.C., I’ll try to go when I can stay a few days. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there long enough to see the sights, and I should totally remedy that.
So thanks so much to the entirety of D.C., and the librarians, and the ALA people, and the Tor folks who made the arrangements to bring me out into the middle of it. Now I’m going to log off and relax for a couple hours before turning in early for the night … at which point I shall surely dream of massagey chairs …