This weekend, I’m heading out of town to the NCTE conference in Nashville (if you’re attending, why not come by and say hello at one of my signings? No pressure, of course. Just if you’ve already seen the Opry and the dancing fountains). And of course traveling means flying, and flying means…fear of losing my luggage.
The last two times I’ve flown, my bag has not arrived with me. The first time was when I went to New Orleans for ALA, and my original flight left late, I missed a connection, and ended up having to fly into an entirely different airport and drive from there. A long day, made longer by the fact that I missed a fun dinner AND had to go to Walgreens to buy some cheap T-shirts to wear to my signing the next day. I was so not fabulous, let me tell you. Next, my bag got lost coming back from Cape Cod, which was not so bad because at least I was at home, where I had other clothes to wear. Still, kind of a drag.
So it’s safe to say I’m not exactly optimistic about my stuff arriving this time. I’ve decided to take a two prong approach to this: first, Ive been really working my good karma this week, holding open doors for people, moving turtles to the side of the road, letting folks with fewer items ahead of me in the grocery line. But in case that doesn’t work, I decided to pack with pessimism (that sounds like a book title, doesn’t it?) and just prepare for the worst. Needless to say, I will be bringing something I can wear in a pinch in my carry on, as well as my toothbrush and some mascara (the essentials). Maybe I’ll also dress in layers, in order to have that much more to choose from, outfit-wise, in case it ends up being all I’ve got. From there, I guess the only option is to just cross my fingers and hope that all those turtles and open doors and extra minutes in the checkout line combine to work in my favor. I can dream, right?
It’s always fun for me to return to the Opryland Convention Center, though, because it’s the site of the first conference I EVER went to, back in 1996, when That Summer first came out. It was for SEBA, the Southeastern Booksellers Association, and I was just so excited. I brought my husband, and we stayed in this awful little hotel room in a corner, with a view of a wall. The only thing I was there to do was a signing, but we were SO excited when I went to do it and people were lined up waiting (little did I know that people go to ALL signings for the free books, and that these folks had no idea who I was, nor did they care). My husband took pictures, it was all over in an hour, but still. It was great, the beginning of everything. Unfortunately, going back, our luggage was lost. That was the first time it happened to me, actually. Maybe I should go look for some more turtles. Hmmmm.