Preparation for the trip was enough to jar me senseless. Why is it that there is always twice as much
work to do prior and post travel for work.
Considering I am a fairly organized person I should be able to get this
easily. Maybe it was the excitement of
the chase, or the vision of freedom from dull work-a-day business at hand. Fear might be a factor as well. I pulled up my bootstraps and got ready to
embark on a mission that five years prior I would have never imagined for
The plane smelled awful, the seats were tight, and the lady next to me
was a clown. Really, she was a clown.
She had her trunk packed and ready to go to her own convention in New York
City. Unaccustomed to wearing suits here to fore I wasn’t quite sure what to do
with the jacket while on the plane.
Never in my life time did I imagine that I would be travelling to New
York, alone, for the world’s largest book convention, Book Expo. The trip was a short two hours, that clown
was interesting! We were served lasagna,
yes that was when they served you meals on planes and your luggage got to ride
for free. When we weren’t talking, I looked around the plane to enjoy a little
people watching, I love to watch people.
Although this was only 15 years ago it was before we had to check out
all of our “plane neighbors” to be sure they didn’t intend to send our plane
into a tower or oblivion. It was a
simpler time. As we began our descent I
began to get really anxious, ok, I got to the airport and got on the plane, but
now how would I ever find a taxi and get to the hotel? And where on earth was the hotel, I began to
pull my little map out so that I could feel somewhat in charge of my travel.
Leaving the plane I noticed a stream of people walking toward something
quickly, maybe baggage or food, I decided to follow because I didn’t know what
else I would do. We did end up in
Baggage Claim so all was well. Having
grown up in a very small town, I don’t know a stranger, so instead of walking
around and searching the huge, gray airport to look for a taxi, I just asked
Entering the cab I felt like I was stepping into someone from Ghana’s
home. The air was tinged with the smell
of a forward incense and decorations abounded.
Please take me to Chelsea I said, here is the address. The smile that met my request was so sweet
and open that I felt at ease immediately.
“Are you here for a vacation?” my driver asked. “No, I’m here for a
business trip.” I returned, as I felt little shivers all over me. Was I excited or nervous, or both I asked
myself. Who would have dreamed that my
love of books could have brought me to this moment? Sure, I felt trepidation also I was very
proud of my accomplishments.
My bio might have read; first decade - small town girl meets boy and
after graduation gets married, has three children, and becomes a crazy-stay-at
home mom; second decade- kids want to go to college mom has to work, what will
I do with myself? I love reading so how
about working in a bookstore? Great, applied for a job, was hired, had a good
work ethic and gift for matching the right book with the right person. Rather surprisingly in six months I became
the buyer of half of the books for a 50K title store. I loved it.
Settled in to my hotel I decided it was time to hit the streets and find
the Javits Center and Book Mecca.
Walking was my choice of transport because I wanted to see everything,
and do everything. At the Javits, on the
escalator looking down on the publishers wares and the hundreds of other book
people I thought, wow you really made it.
I have to confess to a little Mary Tyler Moore moment there. I surprised myself and everyone who knew me
as the quiet stay-at-home mom from a small town.
Decade three: Amazon kills the books business and I again have to
reinvent myself by asking myself what I loved most about being an
executive. Was it the money, the travel,
or the suits? Was it free dinners,
conventions, free books? No, I am, and
always have been driven by a love for reading.
A few zillion courses and I will soon have my reading licensure and my
Masters of Literacy and I couldn’t be more proud.