Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

The life and times of a girl named Swishy.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Scenes from Printers Row

I am a little bit late on this because I am in the throes of a complete existential crisis (dramatic much? no, not me), but I went to Printers Row (a massive book fair in Chicago) AND to my talented friend Jess Riley's book release party last weekend. Manic, Jess and Trish Ryan already have written funny, detailed accounts of various parts of the weekend, which leaves me with ... a bucket full of random.

* I'm driving to Manic's in the middle of a tornado warning. This is merely the FIRST tornado warning I will be driving through during the weekend. I get past the rain and decide I need to chill out, so I put in a CD, lean back and prop my left leg up on the dashboard next to the steering wheel (which, trust me, is much more comfortable than it sounds). I'm driving along, and all of a sudden a trucker honks at me. I look in my mirror, and he's waving. I wave back because ... I don't know. Isn't that what you do when someone's waving at you?

I go another 10 or 15 minutes, and a DIFFERENT trucker honks at me. I look up and he waves, then blows me a kiss. I'm like, what's THAT about? Manic calls to see where I'm at, and I'm like, "Is this some trucker thing? Are they just saying hi? Did someone stick a 'Honk if you love bloggers!' bumper sticker on my car? WHAT IS GOING ON???"

I'm wearing shorts, and finally it hits me: They see my bare leg on the dashboard, and they don't think I'm wearing pants! They think I'm one of those girls who drives around topless or bottomless or whatever and flashes the truckers ... YOU KNOW the girls I'm talking about. They think I'm one of those girls! And they're telling each other on the radio! Ten minutes later, yet ANOTHER trucker honks, and I nearly steer myself right into the guardrail as I turn around and wave my arms at him, in a "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! I'M TOTALLY WEARING PANTS!" kind of way. It is the first of many near-death experiences on the trip.

* Manic's husband thinks our plan to attend Printers Row on Saturday and then drive to Wisconsin and back on Saturday night is a bit "aggressive," and he tries to talk us out of it. There's a blues fest downtown, he says. You can go out for a nice dinner instead, he says. And besides, he adds, there are only three things in Wisconsin anyway: porn, cheese (what about cheesy porn?) and fireworks. And then he pauses. "Although," he says, "The women wear flannel year-round there. I guarantee as soon as you cross the border, they're going to think Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra just arrived."

I would just like to say, in defense of Wisconsin, that I did not see one woman in flannel the entire time. In fact, they were all very cute and nicely dressed. There WAS a lot of porn and cheese and fireworks, though. A LOT.

* Approximately 13 seconds after parking, we make our first bathroom pit stop ... IN THE PARKING GARAGE. I wait outside. This is a trend that will repeat itself, oh, 493 times over the course of the weekend.

* One of the very first things we see at Printers Row is a table marked "Real Men Read." Zero books. Zero men. It is the only completely deserted booth in the entire multiple-block fair. We decide the real men are all home reading.

* We meet up with Trish and head straight to Epic Burger where, yes, the burgers (and the wait time) are epic. We make friends with the hungover guys next to us while we wait. They were so hung over, they are probably STILL hungover, poor boys.

* An elderly gentleman stumbles into Stephanie Klein and Jen Lancaster's panel just in time to hear the words "I stuck my finger up a guy's ass." His poor, creaky jaw drops to the floor. A few minutes later, when a reference is made to fellatio, he starts applauding. It is quite possibly the funniest thing we see all weekend.

* First traffic. Then another tornado. Swishy is not a happy driver. I think we will leave it there.

Except this. This was the view out the window:

In related news, I will be giving someone my blog password so that next time I travel, there will be a way for you to all find out when I die.

* Jess's party: Awesome. So fun to see her, so fun to meet her friends and family, totally worth the hellacious drive.

* Trish's panel at Printers Row: She was so poised and a fantastic speaker. I felt SO honored to be one of her "Author Relations" (yes, I got a name tag) people!

* Manic: As always, the best BBFF a girl could have, our tornado-induced tiff (ha) notwithstanding. She even had chicken tacos and Diet Coke ready for me when I got there! (And! We saw the lovely Kristabella, too!)

Author highlights (besides Trish and Jess, of course): Meeting my favorite ever, Marisa de los Santos, and the VERY funny, very likeable Sloane Crosley.

I am exhausted. That is what a crazy weekend and an existential crisis will do to you. More on THAT later, you lucky kids, you.


At 3:31 AM, Blogger JenKneeBee said...

Haha! I love that random truckers thought they were getting a peep show. So. Freakin. Hilarious.

At 7:42 AM, Blogger House of Jules said...

The "elderly gentleman" at the reading cracked me up! Glad you guys survived the terrible weather!!!
House of Jules

At 8:23 AM, Blogger Jenster said...

Great random!! Seriously Swish. I didn't know you were the type of girl to lead truckers on like that. I just don't know how I should feel about it.

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Melek said...

cheesy porn...love it! and they have bathrooms in parking garages there? how odd. here, people just pee in the stairwells.

i saw a Marisa de los Santos book last night at B&N and almost bought it thinking "i think this is the book swishy raved about"...but it was like $20+ dollars, so i figured i'd go to 1/2 price books and find it there. gotta love cheap literature :)

glad you made it thru the tornadoes ok. did you hear about those poor boyscouts? yikes.

At 11:53 AM, Blogger Manic Mom said...

WHo's she kidding guys... She really wasn't wearing pants!

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Bina said...

Only you and Manic and can have such fun in such a major crises! "Finger up some guys ass". My my. I would LOVE to hear the story behind that!

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Senor Beavis said...

Sorry about getting the plans mismatched and especially about the whole leaky light fixture mishap that kept me out of the Printers Row story. Glad to hear it was such a success.

At 2:44 PM, Blogger Vanessa said...

So cool that you got to go to this! I wanted to go so bad, but the timing/airfare/other reasons just didn't work out. Glad the tornado didn't get you!

At 4:21 PM, Blogger AlaneM said...

Hahaha, I'm just imaging the convo the trucker were having with each other.
Swishy you trucker tease you ;)

At 12:11 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

I drive with my leg up like that all the time and never thought about how it looks from the other side. EWWWWW!

Glad you got to experience the porn, cheese and fireworks that is Wisconsin for yourself. I could never live there with all that... ok, and the ridiculously high taxes would be a problem, too.

The book fair sounded like such fun!

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Tuesday Girl said...

I am so distracted by the fact that you put your bag on a public bathroom floor that i canot comment on anything else.

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Beth said...

fun just follows you swish.....truckers, tornados...tacos!!!! nasty bathrooms...did ya'll feel like britney? )

you ALWAYS have fun whereever you go!!

At 5:06 PM, Blogger Patti said...

this entry was epic...

At 10:01 PM, Blogger kim said...

You know a road trip was almost the end of Oprah and Gail. Perhaps, bff's shouldn't travel together, lol.

At 10:52 AM, Blogger Eileen said...

What an adventure. What a wonderful and fun time. Plus, it is always good to have truckers on your side!

At 7:32 PM, Blogger Trish said...

Fun road trip!

At 10:13 PM, Blogger DeeMarie said...

I really think I need to just start making random trips to Chicago to book signings to meet these awesome authors (and then hang out with you and Manic)! Sounds like you had a great trip and I'm so glad you all made it home safely!!

At 11:24 PM, Blogger Trish Ryan said...

I'd forgotten about the guy in the Jen Lancaster/Stephanie Klein panel! I bet he's still reliving those moments!

The trucker flashing is kinda funny, too--maybe Jess can use that in her next road trip book???

At 5:43 PM, Blogger XYZinn said...

Ew. That bathroom looks so nasty. I hate public restrooms! I have to call you. I've got some exciting news!

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Angela Williams Duea said...

I am so completely bummed that I missed seeing you, Trish, and Manic that weekend. Unfortunately I left Chicago the one weekend you were there :((

Great stories, BTW!


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