Friday, June 01, 2007

Postcards from the Edge ... of BEA #3


OMG! For those not up on their texting abbreviations, that translates into "Oh My God!" That's what my right foot just said to my left foot. My left foot screamed out something incoherent in reply, but I think the response included some salacious four letter words. Trust me when I say my usually pampered footsies are not pretty tonight. Why are my feet talking to each other, you ask? You obviously have never attended BookExpo before.

Imagine standing for 10-12 hours with, perhaps a couple of 15 minute breaks in between, in hard unforgiving shoes that aren't even cute, and walking a show floor that covers three long city blocks. Or how about standing in line for 40 minutes to get a $15 sandwich (make that 3 sandwiches from my hungry helpers) from a snaggle-toothed, self-proclaimed sandwich master who took almost as much time preparing the feast. Or how about standing in line to send a FedEx … and then standing in line (sense I theme here?) to get a fitness book signed by LL Cool J and take a picture … oh wait, that wasn't bad. That was the bright spot of my day. I think my feet didn't hurt a lick at that time because I temporarily floated above the hundreds of others in the line who mistakenly believed LL wanted to sign anyone else's book but mine. My, did he ever grow up well. But I digress.

So anyway, my feet are officially throbbing like Fred Flintstone's feet after a long shift at the quarry and a "drive" home in that crazy car with only foot power to propel it. Admittedly the car WAS eco-friendly but very bad on the arches and soles, you know.

And after the show floor lights were dimmed around 5:05 PM, we straightened up the booth, reviewed the plan for Saturday and headed for the hotel shuttle stop. Five routes headed to approximately 12 show hotels. This has been well run so many times in the past, we didn't give it a second thought until we saw lines on top of lines waiting for buses with no signage and no apparent urgency to get hundreds and hundreds of tired people with throbbing feet back to their hotels. To add insult to injury it began to drizzle. My mother, husband and I looked at each other and said nearly in unison – TAXI!

Of course anyone from NYC would have immediately laughed out loud. "Taxi? at 6:00 PM? Rush hour in Manhattan? In the rain. You're crazy! Tourists." But believing in the law of attraction as we do, all of that meant nothing to us. Despite the reality of others, we were going to "attract" a taxi at 37th and Eleventh Avenue no matter what. Well, maybe Tenth Avenue. No? Well, certainly on Ninth or Eighth. But no luck! Taxis drove past us like we had the plague. But off in the distance we saw Madison Square Garden and high-tailed it over to MSG in search of a taxi stand. We found one and walked and walked and walked to the end of the line for what would probably have been another 40-60 minute wait in line!!!! But then my husband spotted an entrance for … the subway. And here's where my Postcards get dangerously close to the edge. Anyone who knows me is now laughing out loud for sure. "Tonya? Public transportation. The end of the world is near indeed!"

But what choice did I have? Tired, aching from stem to stern, starving and truly testing my wash-n-wear hair, I accepted my fate and descended into the subway in search of a place to get my pass and a transit map to figure out how to get to 56th and 7th Avenue. In retrospect it seemed so close on the map; so close and yet so far.

Well, we made it. And my LL Cool J book didn't get a spot of rain on it. Neither did the orders we took at the show (see the order of my priorities??). And after an amazingly expensive and delicious seafood dinner and a little vino to quell the throbbing, I'm now in bed with my laptop, happy feet and a pile of show contacts with whom I should now follow up. Ain't gonna happen. But that was the plan at 5:30 PM before the post-show travel issue.

I was about to type "woes" or "fiasco" but that would cast and overstate the issue in a negative light. True, I'm not jumping up and down for joy over the planes, trains and automobile style return to my hotel after a long day. I won't be jumping for any reason any time soon. But honestly, between you and me, it really wasn't bad. At the end of the day, I'm grateful – grateful to be here in general and at BEA in particular, to have options, to have a healthy body able to get around at all, to be with family and to be in a city that makes it pretty easy to get around if you have a full city transit map and half a brain. Who knew???

This is all part of the price of success at BEA. "Leave it all on the floor," is our motto. And today was a success indeed – lots of traffic, positive interest and feedback. And a greater appreciation for the scenic route. There are many different ways to the same destination, you know. Today I learned to keep an open mind and patient spirit. And, of course, some thick athletic socks and sneakers just in case I need to get from Jacob Javits to darn near Central Park any time soon.

Write on,



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