Another Ride Home from Another BlogHer Conference
At the beginning of August I once again went to the big, huge, enormous, ladies' blogging conference, over there in New York City, New York, US of A, as did a few of my fellow DadCentricians and some other unaffiliated dudes. It was really, really big, and there were plenty of ladies there. Like around five thousand of them. There were some speakers whose names you might recognize: Katie Couric, Martha Stewart, Soledad O'Brien, Christy Turlington, and Barack Obama (via video feed), to name a few.
It was a nice party. The food was plentiful and mostly good, and mostly free. There were a lot of talks given by a lot of bloggers and other social media types who had a lot of worthwhile ideas about which they were quite passionate. I attended a couple of these talks and, as is usually the case, got briefly excited, and then thought about how the issues discussed pertained to me or the non-parentblogging world. Then I shrugged, and looked for the next cocktail party.
My take-home from the official conference events and ancillary chatter was that if you don't write for one or more of the big parenting websites, and you're not ready to hustle your ass off courting sponsors 24/7, blogging about your life and your family is not going to pay the bills. This was not a revelation that hit me like a ton of bricks as I had gotten that particular cosmic memo a while back, but it did sometimes make me feel like I was participating in a bizarre charade.
That sounds bad, I know. But there were plenty of real moments too, and that made the trip worth taking. And there were also plenty of amazing writers who weren't necessarily chasing dreams of buying groceries with their ad revenue. Some of these writers read their stuff at the Voices of the Year presentation, which, for my money, blew the famous keynoters' doors off.
Of the three nights I spent in New York, it was only on the first, Thursday, that I didn't stay up long enough to see the hazy glimmering of a sweltering sunrise over Manhattan. On Friday, the after-party provoked an impromptu and overly enthusiastic karaoke adventure, and I awoke around 1:00 p.m.. I tried to speak to my roomie, and found that somehow I had swapped larynxes with Harvey Firestein. This condition persisted until at least a week later, but it didn't stop me from repeating the karaoke freakout with an even bigger group the next night.
Blogging conferences are inherently weird because of the interfacing of online and real worlds. But as has been my experience at the other conferences I've attended, talking to my imaginary friends in the flesh was a seamless transition. I met some people whose words I had been reading for ages, and was not disappointed in their fleshly presences. I reconnected with some great people I had met previously. I met some amazing folks that I had never even known existed. And somehow I became the darling of the lesbian momblogging parentblogging community, a distinction I plan on cherishing and nurturing until they tire of me, which has probably already happened.
And then there was the odyssey of bullshit to get home. Here's the condensed version, because, like dreams, everyone else's travel nightmares are boring:
- Rush to make 2:00 p.m. flight that I thought was at 4:00 p.m.
- Threatening clouds roll in from the west; we sit on the tarmac for 3 sweaty hours at Laguardia
- Go back to the terminal because the Passengers' Bill of Rights stipulates that no one shall be forced to roast in a tin tube for more than 3 hours at a stretch
- Get back on the plane
- Sit on the tarmac for another hour, while scary storm rocks the plane
- Take off. Yay!
- Land in Chicago. Yay!
- Sit on the tarmac for an hour, waiting for a gate to open up so we can deplane
- Finally a plane takes off so we can take their gate and escape. Yay!
- Get off the plane, run around like an idiot looking for a flight to San Diego
- Find a flight to San Diego. It left 15 minutes before. While I was sitting on the tarmac. Because, I'm pretty sure, it was the plane whose departure freed up the gate that allowed us to get off of our plane from New York.
- Find a flight to Los Angeles
- Arrive LAX at 2:30 a.m.
- Rent a car and drive home to San Diego, hallucinating heavily.
- Arrive home at 4:30 a.m.
- Start parenting at 7:00 a.m., and planning for the college lit class I have to teach at 8:30 p.m.
I'm not sure why the universe didn't want me to get home easily, but it was probably some kind of Joseph Campbell Hero's Journey bullshit that was supposed to make me stronger or return me to my homeland with a boon that would alter the fortunes of my people. I'll work that shit out soon and write a viral post about it that will launch me into blogging fame and fortune, or at least get me an honorable mention in the 2013 Voices of the Year.