This morning I awoke painfully at 5.50AM in order to get to the Javits Center before 7AM, for the NCTE convention. Good god, it was terrible. But things picked up after that.
I worked four hours at the program booth, and some people were very nice and friendly (lots of Southern accents, which I had to consciously avoid picking up), and some were assholes. See, unfortunately, for people who forgot or didn't have their name tag and program paper, we couldn't give them their program. Which means they had to go to the registration line, which was really long for awhile. And I certainly felt bad about it and wished it weren't that way, but it's not like I made up the rules or was just being stupid. People shouldn't be rude to the service people who are just trying to help out. Rude people suck.
I'm sad to report that I missed Amy Tan's presentation/signing in the morning, as well as Dave Barry's lunch workshop (which was all the way in Times Square). Happily, I was more than happy to visit the Exhibition Hall.
Oh. My. God.
The line must have started at eleven, and I joined it at about ten to twelve. When the ropes opened, a frisson ran through the crowd, and then the noise escalated. I hoped no one was rioting or stampeting. But the people charged into the hall and down the aisles, crowding the booths and sweeping up the freebies on the tables.
It was all I could do not to run down each aisle grabbing greedily while gleefully shrieking. I really did feel like a kid let loose in a candy store, except most of the candy was FREE! WHEEEEE!!
So I paced myself and tried to be patient. Don't misunderstand, I swooped up the free things too, but I looked a little closer and for once wasn't afraid to chat with the booth-minders. (Sometimes I turn mute in public, so this was a nice change.)
Very soon I was laden down with stuff: lots of free totes filled with posters, pens, stickers, even some free books and magazines, even a couple free academic journals. I bought a few books because they were ridiculously cheap--such as the sequel to Scaredy Squirrel for only ten bucks! I didn't even know it existed, and that's five bucks cheaper than retail. Some other books were two and three dollars, and I got signed books by Scott Westerfeld, E. Lockhart, and Sarah Mlynowski. Laurie Halse Andersen's line was too long this afternoon, but she'll be signing tomorrow, as will Jerry Spinelli, among others. Squee!
I left the exhibit hall a little after 2pm; my feet hurt and my shoulders were sore from carrying all the loot. I didn't make it to any workshops or sessions, but I'm working tomorrow morning again and will try to do something academic. Because my AP wants me to turnkey whatever I learn. Right now I'm thinking I'll just be like, Um...here's some pens?