Monday, October 05, 2009

I Couldn't Be On Time Even If I Sat on a Clock

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(cc) Douglas CooteyTonight was going to be glorious. Everything was lined up. I had decided that with so many local children's book authors having launch parties at the King's English Bookshop I should hobnob at a few of them. It would be much cheaper than attending a writer's conference and, if I bought a book and had it signed, I might endear myself to the authors. You know, get them to open up to me. Share their secrets with me. Invite me over for dinner.

Alas, all my clever plans were foiled.

There I was, chatting up author James Dashner on Twitter, helpfully letting him know his countdown clock was wrong, and using my trademarked and incredibly clever repartee to show him that I was somebody he could not only share his secrets with but also could borrow his laptop. I told him I'd see him later tonight, then hurried off to get the girls from their high school. I had them all booked for babysitting. I would hit the launch party, graciously decline the myriad offers from all the authors to join them for dinner, then spend a few hours writing at Barnes & Noble.

What could go wrong?

Alright, aside from running behind forty minutes, I did find it odd that there was parking available. So very not a good sign for Mr. Dashner. The bookstore almost looked deserted. I walked through the door and was surprised to hear no sounds of hobnobbing. No dinner invitations wafting in the air-conditioned breeze.

"May I help you?" asked a voice from somewhere behind a stack of books.

I had missed it; I was sure of it. I thought it was supposed to run until 6pm, but obviously the party wrapped up early. I should mention, however, that at this point alarm bells were going off within my mind. It was as if I was waking from a daydream and was taking sudden notice of my surroundings. Whatever it was that had happened, I knew as surely as I knew I was 40 minutes behind schedule that I had gotten something horribly wrong.

"I am here for the James Dashner launch party?" I said with not too much sheepishness.

"Oh! That's tomorrow," replied the kindly lady from behind the stack.

I wasn't forty minutes late; I was a day early.

After some merry and pleasant conversation, I purchased a book (Shannon Hale's Forest Born) and wished the ladies of King's English good evening. I told them all was not lost. This misadventure would be perfect for my blog. Then I promised I would be back the next evening.

There is a part of me that died inside. Maybe just a little. How embarrassing. But I promised myself years ago to stop beating myself up about these things. What can I do? I'm me and for the rest of my life I'm going to be screwing up like this. Hey, I even had alarms all set for the wrong date in my iPhone.

More embarrassing for me was knowing that Mr. Dashner probably thought I was an idiot by now. There goes my chance of borrowing his laptop and attending a private authors' retreat in his cabin with the cloaked and mysterious Provo kidlit-erati.

Sure enough, when I checked in with my Twitter stream two hours later, I found the following:

@DouglasCootey I'm assuming you meant tomorrow night, but I just thought I'd make sure! Tues.

Oh, well. Maybe I can introduce myself as somebody else.