A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again

I'm home.

I'm also sick. Lucy and I have acquired the same cold.

But we both survived Book Expo America, the flights to and from Chicago, and we came home with a giant bag chock full o' galleys. And this cold. Ugh.

"What did you do there?" my father-in-law asked.

I explained that my duties basically consisted of being nice to people for ten hours straight. It's harder than you'd think.

First there was the mammoth book signing (read all about it here, although I'm not quite sure what to make of the headline).

That night was the Atria cocktail party. This was rough. Normally I last for about twenty minutes at a cocktail party full of strangers before wanting to retire to the nearest couch or bedroom with a book or, lately, with the baby. Alas, that wasn't an option Friday night. I was one of the featured attractions, and disappearing wouldn't have been a good move.

Finally, there was dinner. A lavish, elegant dinner, to which the authors and booksellers and publishers were ferried in a stretch SUV limo with neon lights and a carpeted leather interior straight out of a rap video, and the last cappucino wasn't sipped until eleven o'clock at night.

It was all fun and interesting -- especially talking to people in the book business, the ones who actually move books into the hands of readers -- but by the end of it my face felt like it was going to fall off from all the smiling, and I just wanted to curl up with a book and go to sleep.

I'm devastated that I missed the blogger panel and the Carlin Romano/Dale Peck dustup -- ably covered by bloggers elsewhere -- and I arrived late to the Bill Clinton speech, so I only got to see him on the video hookup.

And the flight home on Saturday was not so good. Lucy fell asleep in the car on the way to the airport, kept snoozing as I unpacked her and repacked her into her stroller after going through Security, and woke up at the gate after about thirty minutes of sleep. I figure that was about an hour less than she needed, because girlfriend was not happy.

She threw a major tantrum at the gate -- a wailing, thrashing, no-I-WILL-not-be-consoled tantrum on the not-very-clear airport floor. I know that you're supposed to ignore a tantrum, but I figured that if I continued to let her spaz out on the floor, someone would say something, so I scooped her into my arms. She arched her back and jerked her head back, and I got it right in the kisser. Ow.

I'd managed to strap her carseat in without trouble on the plane ride down, but of course, given that she was screaming, and my left cheek was throbbing, of course the stupid belt got stuck. For the entire flight, I'd hand her things, and she'd consider them for maybe ten seconds, then chuck them. Sippy cup? Box o' raisins? Puppet? Dolly? Board book? Onto the floor (or the seats in front of us, or the people in the seats) they went.

Needless to say, I think we're both glad to be home and on the ground again.