I know I’m being whiny and dramatic or whatever, but, DUDE.
I had an amazing time at RWA, but this is the “really sad thing” that happened. Maybe you won’t think it’s really sad. Know what I’d say to that? Bite me.
So, I’d said this in my last post:
Exhausted, I thought I’d have a few hours before the 2011 RITA & Golden Hearts Awards Ceremony to pack up all my newly-acquired books, relax, and get ready. This was not exactly to be, but I did eventually get my books packed and shipped.
I was not used to going to conferences that gave out so much swag. Seriously. The most I ever got from a conference was a free folder and *maybe* a pad of paper/pen—if I was lucky. So, naturally, when I got my goodie bag, filled with four or five books—including a hard-cover copy of Meg Cabot’s Insatiable!!!—and pens . . . and paper . . . and a flash drive that had all the handouts from all the sessions on it (!), I knew I’d hit the big time.
(Cambria even said I didn’t get everything—that they must have run out of the Sigg bottles and something else I can’t even remember because there was so much stuff. And you know what? I didn’t even care!)
I went to the first lunch, and two free books—one by Nora Roberts and one by J.D. Robb (also Nora Roberts)—sat on every chair in the ballroom. Two MORE free books also awaited me at lunch #2. Did I mention all the publisher signings, where you could take whatever books you wanted—for free? ZOMG
I learned real quick my carry-on sitch was screwed. My new friends were like, “Yeah, we brought empty bags, just to fill with books.”
But RWA knows what they’re doing. They anticipate numbskull newbies like me. They set up a packaging service to ship our swag right to our houses—so we didn’t even have to worry about getting them on our planes. Silly us.
Back to Saturday afternoon. About three hours of down time before the RITA & Golden Heart Awards dinner. I went back up to my room, caught up on a few work-y things, and packed my free stuff along with the books I’d brought from home to have Wendy Toliver and Meg Cabot sign—which they had.
I looked at my signed stuff again, as I placed it into the box. Meg had even signed one: “Ricki, YOU ROCK!” And *that* was the one Cambria got for me. Meg knew I rocked before even meeting me! How awesome is that? 😉
So . . . how to best spend this free time?
“I know! I’ll just run downstairs with this box—it’s all packed and ready to go, after all—and then I’ll call my husband, nap, and get ready for the awards dinner. How grand!” (OK, so I don’t think I said “grand,” but I was pretty excited.) I left my phone in my room, since I’d be right back.
An hour and a half later . . .
Yes, you read that right. It took that long to get through the line. And it wasn’t even a long line (25 people, maybe?). But there were two guys, who I know had been there alllll day—so, yes, that definitely sucks, but still—taking the orders and packing the boxes.
All mine needed was a label—and to be weighed. The rest was done.
We will now proceed in the present tense:
Man #1 types in my info, prints out a label, hands it to me. While I wait for Man #2 to take my label and put it on my box (get your mind out of the gutter, pervs), Man#3—some moron who has nothing to do with RWA and is oblivious to the fact that we have all been standing here for an hour and a half and are now probably going to be late for the awards—asks Man #2 a question.
I am about to cry. I was unable to call Kyle, unable to let my friends know I’m running late (phone in room), unable to NOT stand in heels for that long, unable to rest.
Man #3 disappears. I may have vaporized him. I can’t be sure.
Man #2: Where’s your box? *takes my label*
(I point to it.)
Man #2: OK—thanks, Dina.
Me: Um, I’m not Dina.
Man #2: But I wrote “Dina” on that box.
Me: OK, but that’s not my name. *stifles tears/screams*
Man #2: Why I would have done that? Are you sure this isn’t yours? *points to a box that is a completely different shape and NOT MINE*
Me: Maybe because that man distracted you. I’m positive. Open it up.
Man #2: *does so reluctantly* I don’t get distracted by men. Maybe pretty ladies like you . . .
Me: *not even smiling at his lame attempt to hit on me, which he repeats twice* Yep. That’s mine.
(There’s no way to really confirm this, though. I don’t have my name tag on or any ID with me. He doesn’t try anyway.)
Man #2: Okay . . . *packs up my box—that says DINA on it—and puts my label on it*
Flash forward to yesterday. (<—That sounds weird, but it’s accurate.)
I’m all excited because I open my front door, and there’s a box sitting on my porch. But, when I approach, I know right away it’s a different box.
Me: Maybe Man #2 repackaged it, since I made him open it up.
(I open it.)
Nope. I now have Dina’s EVERYTHING from the conference. Books, notes, etc. I feel like I’m stalking her and feel funny about Tweeting about her and going through her box, but what else can I do? Meg Cabot signatures! Wendy Toliver signatures! Nora Roberts signatures!
I thank God Dina’s left a brand new box of business cards at the bottom of the package.
She calls me back, and I tell her I have her stuff and the story and I HOPE she has mine. She doesn’t, but she is in California, so it’s probably just going to take a little longer to get to her. I hope, I hope, I hope.
She tells me that Man #2 approached her and told her I made him open her package, and she was confused.
I scratch my chin. I didn’t know this information when I talked to him on the phone prior to hearing from her. Very interesting.
I guess Man #2 switched the labels BACK. Thanks, buddy.
So, will I get my stuff? I kind of doubt it.