Tuesday, August 12, 2008

POV Nationals

We have a unique opportunity to see through four sets of eyes. Carrie's experience, Patti's experience (four posts--read all four for the full pic), and Cathleen's (Lorelie's) experience. And now my own experience of the same events. (This sounds like the lead-in to a detective show, but it really does fill in details we each saw differently).

Wednesday, July 30
Discovered that Mahlon Sweet Airport no longer allows non-passengers through security to accompany anyone to the gate. Granny and Kidlet had to wave to me from the bottom of the escalators as I went through TSA strip-search (not really, but you know if you've flown recently). Kidlet wheedled goodies out of Granny at the gift store.

Lonely minutes perched on the edge of my airport chair, carry-on luggage clutched in a sweaty hand as I read the sign at the United Express counter proclaiming ALL CARRY ON ITEMS MUST FIT UNDER THE SEAT IN FRONT OF YOU. OVERSIZE BAGS MUST BE CHECKED. My rolly-cart suitcase, so compact and neatly stuffed with all I would need for my first vacation in six years, was much too large to fit under a seat--didn't the aircraft have overhead bins? I had no time to run all the way back downstairs, wait in line, check the back and go back through TSA. I fretted for fifteen minutes. They called my name--badly botching pronunciation--and I thought they know.

Instead, the lady handed me a different boarding pass than the one I'd printed from the computer the night before and asked if I was OK being seated on an emergency exit. Um, sure. More nervous waiting, until I noticed a man across from me had a larger rolly-suitcase.

All fretting was for naught (that ought to be my slogan) as yes, the 737 had overhead bins. I swung mine up overhead and tucked it away, then realized my seat had no seat in front of it--mega leg room! No passengers around me, either, on our mostly empty flight. Nice.

Patti had told me what gate to meet her plane, so after I arrived I wandered that direction. I had an hour to kill. Called Hubby to let him know I'd landed. To back up a second: flying into San Fran in the summer is interesting. A soft, fleecy blanket of fog covered the ground inland from the ocean everywhere except downtown (where our hotel was) and the airport. I kid you not. I'll bet when they chose the location they knew where the fog stopped and said "there." Patti's gate was at the end of one concorse with an unobstructed view of the take-offs and landings. More fun to watch that than try to read.

Patti met up with me and we grabbed her luggage and headed to BART. At least, we followed the sign we found, which took us on a circuitous route...then when we got to our destination, the BART station had four exits. The one we chose was not the same location as on the map, and I got us lost. This pattern repeated often during our weekend...

BART took longer than I had planned and we arrived/checked in with 25 min left of the literacy signing. What's this? Room number is 2 lower than Carrie's...We zipped to our room [yes,next door], dropped luggage, and waited waited waited for the elevator from 4th floor then down the escalators...down more escalators..to the world's largest ballroom. LOTS of people.

Patti and I split to find the one author we each needed to see in the final 15 min. I found my spot in the alphabet. Jade Lee. One track mind--want her to read Martial Hearts. Who was that tall lady in the black blouse at her table? Why, it was Carrie! Quick hug of recognition for internet pal newly met. Waved to Patti from behind Carrie's back and turned to Jade Lee while Carrie and Patti greeted. Got a copy of Tempted Tigress signed by Herself (RITA finalist, who sadly did not win) and she said "go ahead and send [MH] to me." In her vast amounts of free time she might be able to read it. Cross your fingers.

Minutes left. Soo much of the alphabet unseen. S. Oh, yeah, Susanne. I rushed about, forgetting how to alphabatize, and found one of my TWRP authors, Susanne Saville. Light chat of greeting. Anouncement to get in line to purchase dings overhead.

Tension releases a bit as we wait in line to purchase our books. I did the stupid traveling Oregonian thing and questioned why the book cost more than cover price. We have no sales tax in Oregon, silly me. Up to our room and fling open the adjoining room doors. Meet up with Ann and the five of us stroll to the MALL next door (many multi-floor mall of white-walled escalators with gold trim. Astounding) for dinner at a fantabulous restaurant. Cute waiter with great tips. Much good food, served family-style.

Back to the room. Patti crawled into bed and was soon asleep as the rest of us giggled and greeted. I turned out the lights in our room and pulled the door to, so we powowed in Carrie and Ann's room until 2:30.

More in another post.