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.