Saturday, June 30, 2012

ALA 2012 Wrap Up: Awkward Moment Edition

If you left ALA annual not totally in pain you did it wrong and have to do it over. Every part of me was burning to the point that I’m pretty sure I asked, “Where’s the eyewash?” My pupils were on fire. Fire!

Very little sleep should have occurred. My brother says sleep when you’re dead, but since I have an inkling we’ll be in a post-life work release program my mantra was “NO SLEEP TILL TUESDAY!”

(Tuesday was a lot more doable than 2072, when a family member discovers I've passed in my sleep in one of my luxury mansions and decides to hide this fact to avoid reenstated estate taxes.) 

Unless you’re a student, you get points deducted for commuting in. The rest of us stayed in hotels that wanted $14 to use their gym and printed instructions on their “deluxe” shower caps (in case you mistook one for an iPad 2) and either spent 6 uncomfortable hours crammed in a Mini Cooper with 2 co-workers and 14 boxes of swag, or got patted down extra special by the TSA.

I “chose” the pat down.

When asked by a glove-wearing body-gropping agent, “What’s in your jeans?” I stopped myself from saying, “Fat. That’s my butt.  I like to loaf around in yoga pants while eating brownies and watching Grey’s Anatomy.  Now you owe me dinner, or to explain on my behalf to the online community that Shondra Rhimes didn’t kill off Lexie because she has a personal vendetta against them, and why I went from hating Kepner to really liking her."
(BTW Kepner, God was ready to give you a fist bump for hooking up with Avery, but then you upset Him by booting Avery out of bed. Had you not done this, you would have passed your boards.)
In preparation for the return flight, four plus hours should have been spent cramming 3000 pounds of swag into your carryon while saying, “Miracles can happen. Don’t people see Jesus on food all the time?” As a last resort, you dumped swag outside the closing session ballroom.

At at least one event you should have felt overdressed and socially uncomfortable. Like at the ALA Dance Party. I knew it would be in an unusual place---they always are. What I didn’t know was the Saloon was a country line dancing spot.

I don’t think anyone had a clue.

Who knew you needed a choreographer to have a good time? Since we paid $10 to get in, my friends and I made the best of it. When they asked for two-steppers, we did the tango.


While laughing hysterically.

The only line dances I knew that they did were the Cupid Shuffle and the Wobble.  Yes, the floor was packed with skinny dancers in cowboy boots line dancing rap music.

And I just loved it when the Saloon regular I danced with asked me about my favorite books. He said, (I kid you not):

I’ve never heard of the Color Purple.”
Please guess which response I used:

a)      “How cool is it that you live under a rock! Awesome!”

b)      “You’re a drunk guy in a bar.”

c)       “It’s like the Shawshank Redemption for women.”
    d)      “It’s a movie.”

Hint: I went on to list The Hunger Games and Stephen King novels.

But at least Am and I had fun.
(For those of you who don't know, my full name is Tabin Am Rain Crume, so imagine my shock at meeting someone named Am? Score!)

You should have experienced at least one awkward moment. Pick which ones happened to me and which belonged to colleagues (or you):

a)      Running into a former ALA president in a swimsuit cover-up because someone put all their meetings on the same floor as the pool. (Thanks a lot!)

b)      Not recognizing an author you talked to the day before.

c)       Having someone lie about being drunk so they can claim not to remember what they said.

d)      Trying to avoid weird non-ALA people who insist on joining your group.

e)      Having to publically clip your nails as you break them one by one while “bowling.”

f)       Telling people, “I’m awesome! I rock! I’m worth millions of dollars! Why doesn’t this menu have prices on it? Hey, waiter, can you tell me how much this stuff costs?”

g)      Trying to explain a personal philosophy called “Don’t be in an orange jump suit” to an author.

h)      Explaining how it is easier to get a job when you’re not crazy-in-a-bad-way.
i)     Asking someone if they had a designated driver and it turning out they weren't drunk, they were just a "questionable" dancer.

j)    Dancing to misogynistic rap music while saing, "This song is sooooo feminist!" 

k)    Lying to get into something you don't have a ticket for.

l)    Sitting alone at an offsite ALA event for 45 minutes because no one wants to wear their badge and admit they are a librarian there for an ALA event. 

You should have also dealt with lots of shushing. I had to explain to someone, “I don’t  shush. I call security.”

Inspired by a truly awkward moment (that I really wish I had witnessed because it would have made my year) a friend and I decided every time something awkward happens during a conference you should say, “This moment was brought to you by ALA.”

Does anyone have anything they want to add to this?

Who were you in the hot tub with?

And was Warren G really at Fire and Ice?