ALA Midwinter 2012 – Day 3 (and beyond)


After yesterday’s post, I said adieu to the Magnolia and made my way to the convention center. It was, I reasoned, as good a time as any to check out the exhibitors. I dragged my way through once and was unimpressed. There were lots of things, such as book scanners and RFID, that I just don’t have anything to do with at work. It was kind of boring. But then I saw the small food court and my heart leapt. How long had it been since I’d eaten anything? Oh yes, close to twenty-four hours prior. You know things are getting bad when a reheated Red Baron pizza looks fucking fantastic. And it was. So was the energy drink I chose to complement it. With precious calories once again in my system, I decided to give the exhibits another shot.

The second time was much better. I actually felt up to talking with folks. I met some indie publishers who were very happy to tell me about books I’d never heard of. I like books I’ve never heard of. And I got some free books. If you ask most librarians, this is probably the number one reason to go to an ALA conference. Publishers pass out free books like mad. There are tons of them. It was very common to see a tired looking librarian dragging several bags along the floor behind him/her. I, fortunately, was not one of those people. As a librarian, I try to use the library. I don’t really want to amass large numbers of books to tote around with me. That said, I did pack my carry-on full of these:

I also bought my daughter this Skippyjohn Jones stuffed toy:

And my wife the dorkiest librarian shirt I could find (courtesy of the Unshelved folks):

It was a good time. My bag was heavy, though, and my shoulder was screaming. I decided to take a break. I ran into a couple of my Emerging Leader mentors outside (and another gal from a different EL group) and chillaxed for a while. One of my mentors bummed my badge from me so that he could go through the exhibits to buy something for a friend. I was happy to do it, but forgot to tell him about our Library District’s reputation as being very progressive, forward-thinking, early adopters. He found out on his own, though.

I hung out with them for an hour or so before we broke apart to go our separate ways. There were discussion groups happening, but none that really interested me (and I had to head to the airport in an hour anyway). I paid a visit to the Texas Longhorn (don’t call them cows, whatever you do) statues instead:

And then I decided to go find the Grassy Knoll. I was successful. This is me standing on it:

I think they only water it with tears. Then I visited Freddy Krueger:

After that, I hailed a taxi and made it to the airport. Rush hour apparently doesn’t exist in Dallas, so I got there hella early. I had a really bad dinner at TGIFridays (how hard it is, really, to make a lemonade?) and read a while. What was I reading? I’m glad you asked. It was an as-yet-unpublished novella about lewd sexual acts penned by a friend of mine. It was so gross and awesome. When it becomes available to the masses (and it will), I will let you know, laptop.

I got on the plane, finished reading the manuscript and felt dirty inside. We experienced some turbulence and I saw a monster clinging to the wing. We landed (harder than necessary, I think) and I got to see my beautiful family again. All was well. We went home; I ate half a burrito and read Corduroy to my daughter. I put her to bed. I missed doing that.

And then things got simultaneously stupid and annoying.

This afternoon, I received a call from American Airlines telling me that a stack of credit cards and identification with my name on it was found in the plane. I check my pockets and, sure enough, my shit is gone. They tell me where to pick it up, so we headed out for the airport, much to my daughter’s dismay. When I got to the desk, I was greeted by a very unpleasant pair of women. They gave me unnecessary attitude and explained that someone made a mistake. First that mistake was that no one had anything of mine. After I showed her the number that called me and the time it did, the mistake was that someone else had my stuff. That person, after a quick chat on the radio, was unwilling to bring it down for me. Since I didn’t have any ID to make it through security to retrieve it myself, I was at the whim of these assholes.

But I held my temper and smiled at them. One of the women disappeared never to be seen again. The other explained that she would just go up and get it, but she couldn’t leave her desk because several flights had just come in. Being the quick thinker I am, I offered to watch her desk for her. She accepted. So for ten minutes this morning, I was an unpaid and unacknowledged employee of American Airlines. I did a better job than her and was kind to the people who came to me for assistance.

When she finally returned with my shit, my money clip (the personalized on my wife bought for me) was conveniently missing. Someone stole my money clip, but left all of my credit cards behind. I suppose I should be thankful, but I’m overwhelmed by the assholishness of the entire thing. If you ever run into a person with  a money clip that has “Carizzle” emblazoned on the front, punch that person in the balls for me. So now, instead of my fashionable wallet alternative, I’ve got a goddamned rubber band. Or elastic, as the Canadians call it.

In sum, ALA Midwinter 2012 was super fun. I met so many cool people and had a blast. I’ll be looking forward to the annual conference in June.


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